NCC Saturday C ride (9/3) 59/34 Shelburne Falls via Baptist Corner

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Chris Stratton

Sep 2, 2022, 2:37:20 PM9/2/22
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The Saturday 9/3 NCC C ride will venture north to Shelburne Falls by way of Williamsburg, Ashfield Road, Baptist Corner, then return via South Shelburne Rd to Upper Rd and the Stillwater bridge, then ultimately south through Hatfield. (slightly revised from the route proposed in the poll)

This should be a fun ride - though it is indeed a BIG one!

Although there was a minority of interest expressed in having a shorter ride more contained to the morning hours, the majority of responses expressed strong interest in the Shelburne Falls destination, but were fairly evenly divided between the two routings offered.   (Additionally everyone who responded had some form of interest in centuries - so its clear the capability is there, though I fully understand not everyone has the time for a big ride this Saturday)  Weighing the two more popular options, I considered that the shorter route via West Whately and Conway heads north in a way that simply reverses the way last Saturday's C ride headed south, while the slightly longer route via South Ashfield and Baptist Corner really only overlaps outside of Northampton on the short bit of Baptist Corner used before turning off onto Beldingville last weekend.  Of the two ways to the most favored destination, degree of difference from last weekend won.

To address a raised concern, substantial work has been done on Shelburne Falls Road this summer.  The southern bit seen last weekend was great, and I believe that improvement extends to the northern part that will feature in this ride, including the final descent that had indeed been in very bad shape.  Some associated work may still be continuing on the roadside but I believe the traffic lanes themselves are done.

Resupply wise, while there is the potential at around mile 20 to detour a half mile to the Neighbor's convenience store in South Ashfield, and while we will absolutely do so if anyone is short on fluids, it's my hope that everyone would start with what they hope they'd need to ride the 28 or so miles to Shelburne Falls itself (perhaps the Keystone Market right after the bridge).   The route map shows an inherited marker of a water spring on Baptist Corner, but I have no knowledge of the safety of that, and it's been a drought summer anyway so I think that's best ignored.  We will just miss Greenfield itself, so whatever we roll out of SF with needs to get us at least to South Deerfield.

Since the famously flower decorated former trolley bridge was closed the last time I was in SF, I hope we'll have a chance to see or efficiently cross that (on foot?), also the deep holes scoured into the rocks before the dam was built atop the falls are worth a look if one hasn't been there before, but we'll try to keep stops quick and efficient - look, take a picture, then onwards as we do have a lot of miles to complete.

Last time I rode to SF I then took the ample shoulder of route 2 all the way to Greenfield, which works but has little else to recommend it.  For this ride, I've routed us on route 2 as far as Zachariah Fisk, then turning south on that to pick up South Shelburne Road at the same point the Lion's Club ride's northbound path turned onto it earlier this summer, as this maximizes the use of recently seen surfaces.   I am open to arguments for leaving route 2 earlier via Shelburne Center Road, however I believe going that way incurs some degraded or unpaved section, so that variation would be something we'd contemplate only if everyone showing up Saturday morning felt onboard with mild adventure.  (Either way this is a road ride, so unless one's road wheels are extremely race optimized, I think it's still a ride to pick those vs gravel ones)

Given there's no B ride this weekend I'd encourage anyone from that group looking for a big scenic ride to consider joining us, though with the awareness that this is a regroup-oriented C-paced ride.  (If at some point you end up preferring to ride ahead on your own, that is fine, but please do let us know before doing so!)  Also while I don't currently envision any early route changes, if anyone is planning to jump in on the way north rather than from Pulaski, a quick off-list note to that effect would be appreciated.

Thank you and hope to see you at Pulaski Park at 9 am Saturday!


PS - I will be sharing the full results of the poll, but will first leave it open a bit if anyone is still interested in responding to the more general questions about Saturday C and related rides. 
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