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Westfield 200 km Brevet

by Pamela Blalock

 

Last year when Roy and Susan and John and I rode the Westfield, Massachusetts 200K on tandem, we did a little partner swapping. Susan stoked for John on our tandem and I stoked for Roy on theirs. Unfortunately the fit wasn't the best for me, as my handlebars were significantly lower than I normally have them. We had a great time anyway. The course is so beautiful it enticed us to come back. but with our standard partner configuration.

The ride started at 7AM. We saw many of the usual suspects at the start and figured we'd get to chat with lots of folks during the ride. Unfortunately a block from the start, we suffered a puncture! Roy and Susan patiently waited while we quickly replaced the tube. We were back on the road in no time, and thanks to the tandem advantage in the headwind, we soon caught back up to most riders.

The route heads north to Shelburne Falls, then into southern Vermont, looping back through Shelburne Falls before heading home to Westfield. The scenery is fabulous, while the roads roll and bump along. Apparently, Don Podolski, the organizer, had some pull with road crews, as some of the rough roads from last year had been freshly resurfaced, but not all of them ! He did a reasonable job with the weather gods too, as it was bright and sunny all day. The price we paid for the sun was chilly temperatures and strong headwinds for the first half of the ride. While we saw a few riders with bare legs, I wore arm and leg warmers, vest, headband and full fingered gloves for most of the ride.

After checking in at the first control, Roy, Susan, John and I took a leisurely break at McCuskers Market, a funky general store just across from the Bridge of Flowers. We had coffee and croissants and cookies here. Most of the other riders were quickly in and out of town, leaving us with very few models to pose for our pictures!

The fields of dandelions were beautiful, and Roy and Susan kindly posed in front of one of them! We did manage to catch a few riders on the climbs up into Vermont, still pushing hard into the headwinds.


Later Roy and Susan posed again on one of the many climbs along the route! We then had one of the best technical descents in the area down Route 8a into Charlemont, followed by a great tailwind assisted gradual descent along a freshly paved section of Route 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We came back into Shelburne Falls with plans to stop at Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters.
Fueled by coffee, fruit smoothies, bagels, biscotti and a screaming tailwind, we flew back to the finish at Westfield!


One of the highlights of the town of Shelburne Falls is the falls themselves.


One of the other great attractions is the Bridge of Flowers. I must confess that the flower pictures were actually taken last summer, while doing a ride through the area!

 


Finally the temperature climbed into the predicted 70s, and Roy and Susan agreed to pose once again sans warmers! It was a fabulous ride and I highly recommend Don's series. We are eagerly anticipating the 300 km on June 1. There is also a 400 km scheduled for June 22. If you want a truly scenic brevet in New England, check out this series. Email Don for more info!