Day three consisted of climbing 4800 feet and riding 65 miles from Northampton to Lenox Massachusetts. Yes, my legs are tired but nothing that two River Horse Summer Blonde Ales cannot cure. As brutal as climbing the Berkshires was, the beauty was right there with it. Great stories, great pictures, the Zen Master and a wonderful July 12th to top it off. So Anchor House Day number three is in the books as a day to remember.
The Zen Masters
When I last left you, Niall was gone from our team and I was left with my teammates who were slower than Sleepy and Dopey from the Seven Dwarfs. I was frustrated and wondering what would become of Day 3. Would I be the “bad” person not sticking with my teammates or would I put my foot down and get things moving along so we could get to the finish at a reasonable time?
Well hats off to my BFF and riding partner Steve Preville who decided to take matters into his own hands. Dubbed the “Zen Master’s Assistant” (Chris Murphy is the “Zen Master”) Steve would set his stopwatch at each rest stop for 20 minutes and would keep everyone informed of how much time we had left. Yesterday our average stop was 45 minutes long but today stops one and three were 20 minutes sharp. That of course left stop number two, which is a totally separate story. The bottom line is that Steve was on his game today and I have confidence that the week will go smooth with quick and efficient rest stops. To my “Zen Master” and his “Zen Assistant,” you guys ROCK!
The First 36 miles, OMG!!, the first 14.5 OMG-OMG (is that possible?)
Ok, so I consider myself a pretty good rider and the first 14.5 miles today totally humbled me. I won’t bother you with statistics, just know it may be the toughest 14.5 mile stretch I can remember and that includes having done the massive Virginia hills, the Ozarks and the Rockies.
This was totally brutal. By the time we reached mile 14.5 and our first SAG stop (where you get food, refreshment and stop to rest) my legs were shot. That seems impossible only 14.5 in, however, I was not alone as everyone was looking at each other wondering what just had happened. The Massachusetts Berkshires can be brutally tough. We normally average 18 MPG and we were below 10 MPH with the downhills mixed in. Let’s really call it an average of 4-5 MPH. UGGHH. The next 20 miles were no picnic either, so when we got to SAG 2 at mile 36 we all were shot.
The good news, there was a great country store with an awesome tuna, tomato and lettuce sandwich to refuel me. I was number 19, and I only had to wait 20 minutes. From what I can gather, the 200 riders that stopped and ate lunch there had made the owner’s week. In one afternoon they had approximately a week’s worth of business (according the to the owner). The bad news, I did not take any pictures and forgot to get info from the owner, but that was because I was basically delirious.
Of course, there was Steve at minute 20 wondering why we were not back on the road. I was fed by minute 30, but Chris’ order was messed up so by the time we left it was closer to 50 minutes with Steve constantly reminding me of our 20-minute commitment. To add insult to injury, Steve informed me at the end of the day that we could have went to a diner down the road, REALLY?
The Berkshires—What a Great Place to See
I wish I had more pictures to show you all. I did not stop nearly enough. The ponds, the lakes, the mountain vistas, winding country roads, long uphill’s that never seemed to end followed by massive descents going 37+MPH happened over and over today. While it was amazingly challenging, the beauty of this area pulled you through.
Somewhere between the first rest stop and the second, we rode up to this magnificent lake were I promptly stopped our team so we could get a photo shoot. It turned out to be the Plainfield, MA Town Beach. A few pictures later we were back on the road.
The Bike Path
After a long day of climbing, there is nothing like a long meandering bike path along a lake going through the woods. The 90-degree heat was hidden by the trees and it made the ride more comfortable. We stopped, took some pictures and had some nice conversation. A nice way to spend mile 45 to 55 of a 65 mile day.
A Nice Day in Lenox, MA
As our day winds down, we are getting ready to go to dinner. Anchor House had rented a bus to take us into town and we have reservations at Trattaria Il Vesuvio. The Yelp reviews are off the charts and Niall said that he is treating us before he leave us tomorrow. My wife, Laura, will be making her way from Andover to Lenox tomorrow then will head home after spending a few days with her relatives. She will also take the injured Niall McKnight home. We will ride the rest of the week for him and will look forward to riding with him again next year.
Hopefully tomorrow should be an easier day but then again that may not be the case as our legs may be gone. We will see…. onto Day 4!!!