Posts Tagged ‘Mt. Tom Reservation’

I was done waiting for the snow to melt. I was riding Sunday no matter what. The day before it lightly snowed most of the day. It didn’t stick but it didn’t leave me hopeful.

The weather prediction promised sunny skies Sunday, low 40s at best in mid afternoon.

Good enough.

See March 29, 2015 Ride

Mt Tom 3-29-15

I met up with Ron in Holyoke at route 5. I had on a short sleeve bike shirt with arm warmers and a shirt over that. I added 4 more layers including 2 coats. I also wore long tights, winter gloves, and “bootie” covers over my shoes. My toes would get a little cold, but I stayed comfortable during the whole ride. Ron had warmer gloves but still had to stop to warm up his hands.

We rode a slow pace to avoid the wind chill, especially when going down hill. Slower speeds also helped us avoid potholes that littered the roads.

Following route 5 north, we turned onto Ron’s favorite hill…Mt. Tom Reservation’s access road. He climbs it 20-30 times a year. I have been keeping up on spinning classes and felt good about this early climb. What neither of us anticipated though was the ice and snow on the roadway. Sitting in the saddle, we steered carefully through the snow and ice at a consistent pace.

At the top of the road both left and right were blocked to traffic. The right turn hadn’t been open for a long time. The left turn towards route 141 gate has been blocked since the microburst that happened last fall.

From my many walks up to the Mt. Tom summit, I could see the damage along the road from a distance. Now I was getting a closer look. At first no damage was evident and it looked as it always has. Then it changed quickly. As Ron said “the view is now spectacular.” I was saddened by the damage but impressed by the power of nature. Logging was going on even on that Sunday which I appreciated. I look forward to when it will be cleared out.

The gate at 141 is at the highest point on the road. The damage abruptly stops feet from the gate. Trees on the other side of the gate, close to the road were mostly untouched. A restaurant and banquet house across the street seemed unfazed. Just below that is Mt. Joe’s where I park for Mt. Tom hikes. From there you would never know what happened a few feet away.

Biking towards Mt. Joe’s to Go , I looked forward to the rest of my ride knowing the season was starting with a bang.

 

Lots of freelance lately hasn’t kept me off the bike (or from running), only the blog. I saw someone today asking if I have been biking much. I guess it’s time to catch up again.

It’s been a busy spring and summer. Running keeps me off the bike a little, partly by making me a little faster when I’m on the bike. June’s rain didn’t help either. Who knew what the day would bring at any moment.

Tuesday, June 18 Ride With Ron

Getting to the top of Mt. Tom Reservation's access road.

Getting to the top of Mt. Tom Reservation’s access road.

Ron and I rode one of his typical loops going up route 5 to Mt. Tom’s entrance. It was a cloudy day with a chance of rain. I felt good and was ready for the hill to come. We turned onto the road for Mt. Tom Reservation and we were climbing before we even got to the gate.

The road was freshly paved…a road biker’s dream. It inspired me to work even harder. The smooth road under my tires seemed easier to climb than I remembered. I was feeling strong, and Ron let me stay in front all the way to the top of the road. Turning left towards the top of route 141, we cruised along enjoying the tree-covered road. Looking out to the right where the view opened up, Ron exclaimed “It seems to be clearing up.” Getting out to the main road, it started sprinkling, then raining. Then pouring. We were getting soaked.

Riding back towards Mountain Road I nicknamed Ron “The Weatherman.” Maybe it will stick like my wet socks did to my leg!

Sunday, June 23—Fathers’ Day Ride Redone at Quabbin

This is the way our Fathers’ Day ride was meant to go…four flats (three by me and one by Ron), which made for us getting back late. THAT’S the way the Fathers’ Day ride was supposed to happen the Sunday before. I think the early Fathers’ Day date threw off our timing.

It was Ron, Mike 10 and I. We started at Ron’s house and took the urban route through Holyoke to the South Hadley bridge over the Connecticut River. Stopping on the bridge for my first flat, we noticed where many of the turkey buzzards like to hang out.

All the dark spots in the trees and on the land are turkey vultures.

All the dark spots in the trees and on the land are turkey vultures.

We then climbed into Chicopee, crossed route 33 and went past Anthony’s Gentlemen’s Club. They were closed allowing us to focus on the ride! I was feeling good with the climbs.

I soon got tested for real as we hit Rockrimmon Street to Turkey Hill Road before descending on Summit Street. Last time I did this climb I was way behind, off the back. This time I kept up with Ron and was complimented with him saying “Good job. Last time you were OTB.” My running is helping. I’m doing better on the hills, or at least not so pathetic. The hill starts out with a gradual climb, gets steep finally wearing you down, then gets real steep at the end to finish you off. As a Boston native may say, “it’s a pissah.”

I got another flat just past the center of Belchertown. I somehow had two and was prepared for once. I was using the guys air though. At least Ron found the culprit, a piece of glass embedded in the tire.

We got to Quabbin in time for a water refill, showed Mike the sites (he has never ridden to the top), and started riding to the top. Before long I had my third flat. This time I had to borrow a tube, and more air. While fixing the flat we were passed by two joggers that we saw back on route 20. I was amazed to see them doing such a long run. Getting started, we were gabbing as we caught back to the runners. The lead tried to stay with us much to my amazement. Finally, I had to make us get serious and do this climb. It’s not too difficult, but can be made so with a real effort.

Quabbin is beautiful, but I wish it was legal to swim in.

Quabbin is beautiful, but I wish it was legal to swim in.

We returned via Palmer, Three Rivers, and Ludlow taking some favorite roads. Ron had thought about going another way but I needed for us to get back. From Ludlow we crossed the bridge into Indian Orchard and were riding urban territory again. We weren’t long on the road before Ron blew his tire on something in the road. We got started again, and headed for Carew Street where we stopped at Mickey’s bike shop. I needed to reimburse the guys so I repaid them with new tire tubes, and one for me. We were out.

We could have made it back in good time but the flats and the extra stop at Mickey’s made that impossible. As Mike said, the urban roads probably caused some of our problems from whatever kind of debris is in the road. Fathers’ Day had come early this year but I think it actually came late for our ride.

Tuesday, June 25—Rain Ride

I met up with Carl and Mike 10 at Family Bike. The weather was threatening now more than it did right after work but we were trying to get a ride in.

Carl was riding his new gold Specialized frame that he purchased from Family Bike. Nicknamed Goldmember, it was light even with the two bottles on the bike!

Carl with his Goldmember bike. Like this guy needs a super light bike.

Carl with his Goldmember bike. Like this guy needs a super light bike.

I got a fast start up the hill. We headed down North Street going past the Robinson Park main gate and down and up a very familiar steep hill. Approaching the intersection the skies were getting more threatening but what the hell! We crossed over at the lights up North Street Extension passing my Aunt Rose’s house. At the end of that road the lightning hit not far away. Despite Carl’s invite to ride over to his house (towards the lightning and storm), Mike and I decided to turn around. We said a fast goodbye to Carl and went straight back.

The storm was following us but the wind found us first helping us make our way faster back to the cars. The hill was never easier, the straights never faster. We got back to the car before the rain hit too hard.

I got home and my computer was left on. I went in and waited the storm out.

The skies cleared, the pavement dried, and I was back out again…this time on my own. I did a 17 mile loop adding to the six miles I had already done. The hills still felt easy, the flats fast. I was careful to watch the skies though not fully trusting the weather.

June has been tough for riding and sometimes you have to be flexible.

Wednesday, June 26 Millennium Ride

The weekday workouts weren’t done yet. Every other week I have the opportunity to ride with the Cyclonaut Triathletes at Millennium Press in Agawam. Carl, Mike 10, Mike 11 and I made this ride. Later all of us minus Mike 10 did the run as well. Carl did the 3+ mile version. Mike 11 and I did the 2+ mile version. After the group sprints along the way, any run is good in my book.

I was feeling pretty good on the run. Still, I couldn’t believe how well Kelly kicked our butts as she passed us by on the run. I still have a ways to go. Thank God I’m used to being humbled.