By Melissa Warwick
Published 07/09/2023; Updated 07/09/2023

It has been challenging to plan rides with the weather forecast of late. If it is not raining, it has been hot and humid. Even when the stars align and we get a decent day temperature and precipitation-wise, we have had poor air quality to contend with. Our Saturday B ride got what was behind door number two – heat and humidity.

Our group of 12 rode a relatively short and not hilly route on the east side of the river. My legs enjoyed easing into the ride by heading over the river on the bike path.



Dusty’s routes always include a little bit of adventuring off the beaten path. Today it was a short section of gravel on the Silvio O. Conte Nature Trail in Hadley. It was beautiful and the packed gravel was not a problem for our bikes.



The first climb of the day, Gulf Rd, started shortly thereafter. There was new pavement on Gulf Rd, which made the climb fun and fast. It was clear some people in our group really enjoyed climbing!

On the way down Packardville Rd, someone had a sidewall blowout. Luckily he was able to stay upright, but he did decide to head for home after repairing his tire.



The blowout had the unfortunate timing of being within earshot of a horse and rider. The horse did not appreciate the gunshot type noise or the many cyclists flying down the hill. The rider was able to get her horse back under control and was not thrown. Phew! Two crises averted.



The rest of the descent to Pelham was uneventful. We hooked a right onto N Valley Rd and started our second climb of the day up the NCC Pelham/Shutesbury Hillclimb. We regrouped at my house at the top of the hill. The regroup turned into our rest stop and everyone refilled water bottles and snacked on red and black raspberries.



After our rest stop, we had a short climb up to the center of Shutesbury. From there it was downhill. We wound our way down North Leverett and through the farms in Montague.



We stopped for a group photo at the “scenic” overlook on Rt 47. While we couldn’t actually see the Connecticut River due to the undergrowth, it was a nice spot to take a photo.



A few people split from the group and headed for home in Sunderland. The remainder of the group headed back to Northampton via Hatfield. We tried to stay off River Rd and find a little more shade on the side roads.

I think we all appreciated the shorter route today. When we rolled into Northampton at 1:00, it was close to 90 and quite humid! When I stopped my ride I had 55 miles and 2,900 ft of climbing.