By Tim Cary
Published 05/11/2024; Updated 05/11/2024

I was happy to be available to lead another SMR this week.  Earlier in the week I was a little worried it was going to be a rainy day, but that turned out not to be the case.  We had a half-dozen riders gather at Pulaski Park under grey skies, temperature hovering around 50F.

I chose a route with slightly steeper hills this week, taking us up to Chesterfield, in order to change things up a bit and cover some new roads for some riders.  But, we were not going to get there the easiest or shortest way!  We set out of town on Rte 66 toward Westhampton, but detoured over Park Hill Rd for the scenery and warm-up our legs.  This road down in to Easthampton may as well be gravel with all the holes.

We headed into Southampton and up Russellville Rd- here it was pretty clear the group was ready for an early challenge, so I made an executive decision to modify the route, having us climb up the steeper (but shorter) Montgomery/Southampton Rd instead of Main Rd.  If you have ridden the Great River Ride century, you have climbed Southampton Rd into Montgomery.  It is quiet, more scenic, but also has steeper hills.  Yes, that was plural!  Oh, yeah, it is a cat 3 climb with a max of 15% in there.  I didn’t get any complaints, especially since there is now a massage studio at the top of the hill!

A hard climb has rewards.  The descent down into Huntington was fun, though a couple hidden wheel eating potholes were present. Luckily we all avoided them.  Speaking of Huntington- just in case you did not know, the Huntington Country store is closed.  I was prepared and knew this, but I wanted to share in case other riders did not know.

We made our way up Rte 112 to Ireland St and turned into Chesterfield.  A bit more climbing gave way to beautiful vistas and a fun descent back down past the Gorge.  All good things come to an end though. We had to ascend the “West Chesterfield Wall” to get to our fuel stop at the Chesterfield General Store.  It did not take too long to cool down to the point where it felt cold.  A tough day to decide when to shed layers.

 

It was mostly downhill from here.  The way home was via Damon Pond Rd and Sugar Hill Rd (my childhood neighborhood).  Chesterfield was beautiful as always.  It is always enjoyable to descend the “other Chesterfield Wall” into Westhampton.

At the bottom of Chesterfield Rd it was noticeably warmer, and we made our way back downtown.  At 12:45 I had 49.3 miles, 15.1 MPH, 4478′ climbing.

I am definitely unavailable the next two Saturdays.  But, I am hearing that we may have a guest ride leader step in.  Keep your eyes out on Link My Ride for any Saturday rides.