Interest in a C-ish Century Ride to Vermont on Saturday 9/24 ?

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Chris Stratton

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Sep 19, 2022, 11:55:07 AMSep 19
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Any interest in a Century ride this Saturday 9/24?

I'm working on a route plan that goes north into Vermont, but in a way
that tries to stay distinct from COVAC, uses quieter roads, and also
forms a figure eight crossing the Turner's Falls / South Deerfield
trail bridge twice, with the idea that those looking for something
shorter can either do the southern loop from Northampton, or drive to
the parking on the Deerfield side of the trail bridge and ride just
the more novel northern loop into Vermont. Depending on others'
availability to lead something else, it's possible that the southern
loop might end up needing to stand in as a substitute for a
traditional "Saturday C" offering (albeit un-escorted on the return
down river) and as a fun but flatter route (just 1500 feet),
potentially great for those considering joining a Saturday ride for
the first time.

I'm thinking 8 am from Northampton (free Damon Road trail lot?) with
those driving to the South Deerfield trail parking asked to arrive
there by 9:30

Unpublished preliminary version of route:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/40980234?privacy_code=nRFAbFmfathwQCnW

Overall: 101-106 miles 4100 feet (dependent on turning at Guilford vs
Brattleboro)
Northampton-Deerfield: 48 miles 1500 feet (or ~53 with a scenic or
refill diversion into Turner's Falls)
Deerfield-Vermont: 53-58 miles, 2600 feet

Route heads east from Northampton past Puffer's Pond in Amherst, goes
north through Leverett and Montague, and finally down along the river
towards Turner's Falls. After crossing the trail bridge and the
Cheapside Bridge it heads through potential refill stops in Greenfield
and west to the hairpin descents to the Eunice Williams Covered
Bridge. After the bridge we turn left instead of right, and begin the
sustained climb to Leyden. Then it's scenically on into Vermont and
the Guilford Store as refill. From there we can either try new-to-me
route 5 into Brattleboro, or a beloved well-packed dirt road gently
downhill to the river and either run up to Brattleboro that way, or
simply begin to head south. We'll take Gov Hunt past the Vernon dam,
and the quieter Pond Road option through farm country. After
crossing back into MA, we'll get on the wide shoulder bike lane of
route 10 just long enough to cross the river east, and take the part
of Route 63 that has a good shoulder south to where we can hop on Pine
Meadow before 63 itself narrows. Pine Meadow follows the river past
farms and a brewery that grows their own hops, though does eventually
have an unpaved section that's fine on 25-28mm tires. After crossing
the scenic little bridge at Cabot's Camp in the shadow of the arch of
the French King bridge towering above, we'll climb freshly repaved
East Mineral Road and descend to a potential lunch stop beside the
river in Turner's Falls. The Canalside Rail Trail and bridge will
take us back past the parking for those who drove up, and finally down
the Deerfield side of the river to an inland Hatfield return.

I'm thinking an endurance C sort of pace - I ended up with a group
that did COVAC at around 16.3 average, 6:21 moving time. This route
is a bit more challenging in the climb to Leyden, but I think the
moving time can remain under 7 hours especially if we're more
strategic about pacing, and the elapsed not all that much more if
we're efficient about refill stops. My intention would be to sweep
and ride at whatever pace works for the last rider intending to
complete the full route, hopefully in enough of a little group to
cooperate with a bit of a paceline where useful, but others are free
to ride as fast as they'd like.

I am aware that this Sunday the 25th is Will Bike for Food, with route
options including a counterclockwise Vermont century, and I certainly
don't mean to distract from anyone's existing plans or interest in
riding that. However, their rather high adult fundraising minimum
makes participating in that as a rider difficult for many. Doing a
different ride on Saturday in no way precludes contributing some
sponsorship towards a friend, fellow NCC member, or relative who is
doing WB4F, or even participating on a recovery-ride basis in one of
its shorter routes in the company of relaxed-pace friends or family.

Interest? Concerns? Preference for a different route or weekend?

I also have a similarly familiar route that makes a huge loop south
through Connecticut but lacks a halfway option; or there's the very
flat rail trail route south and around the Farmington River loop that
becomes a 100K "metric" if joined for the trail portion south from
Stop & Shop in Westfield skipping the road ride between Northampton
and Westfield. And always open to additional ideas, too!

I'm probably going to do one or more rides like this in the coming
weeks anyway, but if it's only me I'll just sneak out last minute on a
weekday with fitting weather and keep Saturday C's 40-60 mile
traditional.

Chris

Andy Towlen

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Sep 19, 2022, 5:37:14 PMSep 19
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Chris - I love your write ups for the rides. Very clear. Just a note - I can’t attend the ride, but rode up to Putney via Leyden & Brattleboro road. I found Rte 5 into Bratt a bit tight from the Guilford Store - not much shoulder. Any smaller road might be better. Just a suggestion.

Have a great ride. You’re a terrific ride leader.

Best,
Andy

> On Sep 19, 2022, at 11:55 AM, Chris Stratton <cs0...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Any interest in a Century ride this Saturday 9/24?
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Chris Stratton

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Sep 21, 2022, 7:50:32 PMSep 21
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Haven't heard much interest in the idea of a century this Saturday -
one person who was a maybe depending on a possible conflict, and of
course Andy's very helpful comment about Route 5 between Guilford and
Brattleboro.

But I'm starting to think maybe this weekend should just be an
ordinary Saturday C ride.

I'll leave the question open until Thursday night, but baring more
interest it's looking perhaps best to save the Century idea for either
a weekday escape, or perhaps a mid-October weekend, and instead
announce an ordinary C ride for this 9 am this Saturday from Pulaski
Park, probably in the 40-50 mile range.

Either way I'm also likely to offer a somewhat more relaxed ride this
Sunday in the 40-45 mile range, if perhaps from a drive-to start
outside Northampton that makes it easier to reach an interesting
destination with a smaller number or riding miles, and going in a
direction respectfully distinct from Sunday's WB4F routes. Last
Sunday's ride was gravel but this one will probably be paved. (And
then next Sunday 10/2 is the free-to-enter semi-organized "CT River
Gravelish" starting south of Hartford)

John Poikonen

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Sep 22, 2022, 10:26:09 AMSep 22
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The lower loop to Turner Falls would make a reasonable Saturday C ride.

John Poikonen | 617.329.1774 | jcp.p...@gmail.com


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