By Melissa Warwick
Published 07/16/2023; Updated 07/16/2023

Last week, someone whose name starts with T and ends with im asked to go to Rowe. We didn’t quite make it to Rowe on our B ride today, but we got close. Our route took us on a 74 mile adventure to Heath.

It was forecasted to be another hot and humid day. Thankfully Dusty planned another great route that had plenty of shade and water stops. We rolled out of Pulaski Park with seven riders. We picked up a rider in Leeds and then the eight of us made our way to Conway… where we picked up two more!

We began to see evidence of the recent flooding in Conway. River banks and roads were eroded, farm plants were flattened, and there were high water marks on some buildings. Two in our group were from Conway and they mentioned that Conway was one of the hardest hit towns, warranting a visit from the governor.



On our way to Shelburne Falls, we welcomed another rider to the group. I love the eb and flow of these longer Saturday rides. People join and leave the ride as it fits into their schedule and is convenient to where they live. It is fun to see who we pick up along the way!

We had our first refuelling stop at McCusker’s Market. A few of us stopped at the glacial potholes to look at the high water. The wooden part of the dam had broken and water was tumbling over the entire dam, instead of just the spillway. There were certainly no potholes to see today.


Photo Courtesy of Henry van den Broek.


In Colrain we started our big climb of the day. The Heath Rd/Dwight Cross Rd combo is a cat 2, 4.6 mile climb with an average gradient of 5.4%. Boy did we feel the heat and humidity on this climb. There were quite a few moans and groans on the way up. We started a list of “Things to Complain about on Outdoor Rides.” It was quite similar to our list of excuses for why we don’t do well in Zwift races. I think we all lost a couple pounds of water weight by the time we reached the top. One rider introduced me to another phrase for sweating, “osmosis peeing.” I learn so much on these rides! 😉 Thankfully the people on this ride actually like this kind of type II fun!

The combination of our own sweat and the wind generated by our descent down to Charlemont felt downright blissful, dare I say cold, after the heat of the climb. We had one straggler on the descent who, as someone put it, brought a gravel bike to a road fight. We made a quick stop at the Charlemont convenience store to top off our bottles.


Photo Courtesy of Henry van den Broek.


As we rode along South River Rd we encountered what Dusty called “bumps ” in his route description. I hereby move that we strike this cutsie term from our vernacular. These annoyingly steep but short hills do not feel like nice little bumps when you go up them towards the end of your ride! Yes, yes. I do remember that I said I like type II fun.

We had a Mike McCusker sighting in Buckland as we passed through the Summer Festival they were having. There was fragrant food, Morris dancers, and lovely little building replicas. I wish we had had a moment to stop!

In Ashfield, we had our final water stop. The woman at Laughing Crow Cafe happily filled our bottles for us. At this point about half of the group split off to make their way home on the most direct route. Our remaining group of five enjoyed a nice cooling rain as we made our way into Williamsburg. The rain let up in Williamsburg and the group decided to head back to Northampton on Rt 9, the most direct route, as one member of our group needed to hurry home for a birthday party. By the time we reached Northampton, our kits were pretty much dry… well our socks and shoes may have been a little soggy still.

When I rolled into my parking spot in Northampton, I had 76 miles and 5,000 ft of climbing. Seventy six miles in this heat was a bit of a push, but we made it and had fun along the way!