Poll about this Saturday's NCC C ride (9/3) and Saturday C in general

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Chris Stratton

Sep 1, 2022, 4:21:06 PMSep 1
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This Saturday 9/3 C ride falls in the last holiday weekend of summer.

Of those around and looking to ride, which of the following routes are [more] interesting?

A) 42/2000 Westfield - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/40795652 - Traditional route with modifications of Easthampton portion

B) 41/3000 Russellville Montgomery Huntington - https://ridewithgps.com/routes/40758176 Two big climbs on Montgomery Main Road and 66 returning to Northampton, cut down from a B ride

C) 54/3000 Shelburne Falls via West Whately  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/40788837 returning Upper Rd, Deerfield, Hatfield

D) 58/3400 Shelburne Falls via S Ashfield and Baptist Corner https://ridewithgps.com/routes/40795812 returning Upper Rd, Deerfield, Hatfield

E) Something else?

Any comments/concerns/suggested changes to the above?

I'm open to responses either via email (preferably to myself individually and I'll summarize when announcing the ride)

Or I've placed an informal poll to gather feedback about this ride, with additional questions about the Saturday C rides in general, here

Please note that form responses are visible to others, while you have the option of entering your name you are fully free/encouraged to respond anonymously.

Finally, I'm asking these questions on my own behalf only - I expect others may find the responses interesting, but in order to get input in time for this weekend, this list of questions comes from myself only, and not the club's ride leaders in general

Thank you,


Chris Stratton

Sep 5, 2022, 11:24:18 AMSep 5
to NCC Discussion Group
Thanks to all who responded to the poll about this past weekend's Saturday C ride and those rides in general (and thanks too, to those who joined in for the ride to Shelburne Falls or to accompany its initial run up to Ashfield!)

I'd promised to share the results, and after deleting the optional name field from the poll itself, those are here:

Just five responses were received, or arguably four, since one of the five was to list my own views to alongside those of others.  While that's not remotely representative of such a large club, I do think it did provide some interesting insight into some of the thoughts and concerns that are out there.

Three considered themselves to be C riders, and two C+

Ideal ride length: generally everyone was game for 40-45 mile rides with a gradual reduction of interest in the longer and steeper categories.  Interestingly, someone who preferred shorter rides in general voted for the longest 58 mile Shelburne Falls route for last weekend, so interest in a particular ride can perhaps outweigh general preference.  A C+ rider added a comment that the key was patience and regrouping on climbs, and expressed some concerns about maintaining an encouraging feel beyond just pace.

No one took the opportunity to suggest favorite routes they'd like to see.

Despite a field for custom entries, a question about what aspects of a ride are important was likely influenced by the stock choices being my own guesses (both matching and contrasting my views).  Those results are at the link.  What did stand out was that there was only one vote for "Get in a solid morning ride then get home for afternoon obligations/plans" and although it contrasts my own interest in going on a grand adventure I can't help but suspect that it reflects a constraint that more than a few in the club do have on their weekend riding.  The way I announced this rushed, unofficial poll probably captured more responses from those who often do these rides, rather than discovering what those rarely able to join in would need or prefer.

Everyone expressed general interest in Century rides, but there was a split between four of us contemplating this coming Sunday September 11's COVAC ride to Brattleboro contrasted by one reply hoping there would be an ordinary Saturday C on the 10th.  A comment expressed concern about regular club rides being cancelled in favor of rides with an entry fee, something I'll admit resonates personally since I feel like it shouldn't take paying to join an outside group's event to get club members doing a long ride together on standard routes on the public roads..  Numerically, we've lost more rides this summer to unavailability of any volunteer leader than to policy level conflicts with the few events the club has formally prioritized over them (more often from need of event volunteers rather than entries).  Technically there's no conflict between a Saturday C and Sunday's COVAC, so I'd assume that will simply come down to who is available/interested.  I was a little surprised that only the rider raising this concern and myself expressed interest in having some other group century ride this fall, but I haven't given up on making that happen ;-)

With regard to using short segments of unpaved public roads, no one chose remaining strictly on paved surfaces, most chose the option that brief unpaved stretches of actual roads making key connections or avoiding bad roads were okay, and two considered them perhaps fun if warned in advance so they (we) could pick the most suitable bike/wheels.

About half considered October their last month of outdoor cycling interest and the other half November, while I was alone in willingness to ride on warmer winter days when the roads are clear.  Of those choosing an option for when to resume rides, a warm March had no votes and a warm April, 2, also a comment was made about waiting until after some of the winter sand has been swept up.

Sunday rides seem a popular idea, with interest from 4 of 5 with a preference for mornings.  In my opinion that's worth exploring, especially as we lose the weeknight series in just two weeks - I'd like to have something moderate to replace the Tuesday C in complement of Saturday's more challenging routes, and of course it's also a time to sneak in a less official gravel ride.  Weekday daytime rides generated weaker interest among these respondents (there was a mention of early mornings) but hopefully there might be some interest from others

I'll say again that this was a a tiny sample size.  A more carefully prepared and generally promoted poll on ride offerings overall might be interesting.


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