Michael's Excellent Adventure

Day 27, 7-14-2002

Berkshires

I had 30 miles or so — by my reckoning — to make up for the early finish from the previous day. So I got started early. I wanted to get around Quabbin to put myself in a good position to finish up the trip on Monday. My plan was to make my way around the north end of the reservoir, primarily on back roads. That was dumped, though, as I met an interesting fellow on a Specialized Allez as I climbed up into Mass. He was very friendly, and was on the road in the process of riding back to Springfield from a camping trip in NY state. We rode together for a while, but I realized that we were perfectly and completely wrong to ride together. Bent vs. upright, loaded vs. unloaded, multi-day vs. 1/2 day -- our performance envelopes were completely incompatible. The extremely rolling terrain only exacerbated things. I thought it'd be good to take advantage of his local expertise, but he proved to be as much a stranger to the area as I was. So I bid him good ride, and trusted to my maps.

I found myself on Mass. highway 9, which was blessedly good for cycling, aside from a few leg busting climbs. Beautiful, wild forest and hillsides, too, just at a time when I was missing that most. I stopped for lunch at a little general store/deli/craft gallery and met Kevin and Susan, a couple who had cycled in from Northhampton. Susan doesn't eat, so 35 miles is about as far as she can go, and coincidentally, that's the round-trip from Northhampton. Fun cyclists to talk to.

Leaving, I had river grade for a few miles, and then a climb up to Gothen. The rest of the way to Northhampton was awesome roller coasters, and from there to Amherst I had a rail-trail, which ruled. I took a break in Amherst, never being able to resist a college town, and found lodging for the night 35 miles away or so in Barre at a B&B. It was a bit of a stretch, given that I left Amherst pretty close to 4, but it put me a good ways east of Quabbin, right where I wanted to be. It was a tough run from Amherst to Ware, some murderous rollers south of Quabbin, but things flattened out as I turned north. I made the B&B at 6:30, and was thankful to be done for the day, with 130 miles or so.