Glastenbury/West Ridge Loop & Berkshire Hills Cycling

Last July, when Debbie and I took our kids on a backpacking trip around the Glastenbury/West Ridge Loop, we remarked that this would be a great loop to run and that the two of us should return. The 22 mile loop is made of about 10 miles of the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail, 10 miles of the West Ridge Trail, a mile of dirt road, and a mile of paved Rt. 9 back to the trailhead. We returned to Vermont this weekend to tackle the challenge.

IMG_6765

IMG_6772

So, with our kids safely at their grandparents house, we got out for a date/mini training camp that started yesterday afternoon and continued today. It’s truly amazing how much physical activity you can fit in when your kids aren’t around. Saturday, I rode to work on my bike early in the morning, drove home after lunch, packed, and then drove two hours with Debbie to Monroe, Massachusetts in the Berkshires. We parked at the picnic area on Rt. 2 where the Deerfield River crosses under the road.

IMG_6761

IMG_6777

IMG_6784

We did a 22 mile loop up Zoar Road to River Road past Dunbar Brook until we reached Monroe Bridge. We crossed the Deerfield and then rode the incredibly steep Monroe Hill Road climb until we reached Tunnel Road. We took the unpaved road to Steele Brook Road and then back on to pavement on Rowe Road, and then back to Zoar Road. It was a fantastic loop. The dirt sections were even steeper than the paved sections and we had a hairy descent on Steele Brook Road, where things were made even more interesting by the presence of a porcupine in the road.

IMG_6779

Monroe Hill Road is reportedly the 2nd steepest paved climb in New England. I would imagine that the first is the Mt. Washington Auto Road. I waited for Debbie on the climb, so I’m anxious to return with the optimal bicycle and fresh legs. I want to hit it hard the next time I ride in Monroe. It was a blast. The only drawback was waiting for Debbie at the crest of the hill with flies swirling around my head. I love riding with her. After the loop, we backtracked to Shelburne Falls for dinner at Healthy Eats, one of our favorite restaurants. After dinner, we made the hour-long drive to Woodford, Vermont. We parked at the trailhead on Rt. 9 and spent the night in our Volkswagen Eurovan, which was very convenient. The sound of City Stream was lovely. It was a mere 50 meters from the van. Nothing beats the sound of running water when you sleep and then wake.

IMG_6801

We got on the trail shortly after 7:00 A.M. The AT/LT climbs steadily to Goddard Shelter, just below the crest of Glastenbury Mountain, so we did a lot of hiking in the first few hours. We ran when we could, but it was mostly uphill. It started raining as soon as we got on the trail and drizzled all day. We had to wear jackets, hats, and gloves. The higher elevation temperature near the summit of Glastenbury at 3,748 feet was chilly. We stopped briefly at the shelter after 2 hours and 48 minutes before taking the fork on to the West Ridge Trail. We knew that the last 12 miles would be much quicker, and they were. We covered the remaining distance in 2 hours and 40 minutes, running the last few miles on the dirt road/road in under 20 minutes. The West Ridge Trail doesn’t see much traffic at all and it was amazing to see how the arrival of spring was already over growing the trail.

IMG_6804

Despite being up and down with a few decent climbs, including the one up 2,857 foot Bald Mountain, we were able to run a lot of the West Ridge. We had so much fun. Both of us used our UltrAspire packs. I used the Alpha and Debbie used the Titan. We both used our lightweight hiking poles, and they came in handy on the uphill’s. It’s amazing that we covered this distance in 5 hours and 28 minutes. Last year, with the kids, it took us about 17 hours of hiking including all of the breaks. That was spread out over an evening and two full days. We had just as much fun that weekend. For this time around the loop, we pushed it, but not too hard. Debbie has a big race next Saturday at the Wapack and Back on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border in the Monadnock region. We were last on the Wapack Trail in 2014, so more fun to come as May progresses!

IMG_6815

IMG_6821

When we got back to the trailhead on Rt. 9, we were surprised to see our friends, Ernie, Nancy, Kerri, and Ben. They had just finished driving back with their second vehicle after hiking the AT/LT north. They have been section hiking the AT throughout New England. It was great to see them and a total coincidence. If we hadn’t run the last two dirt/paved road miles in less than 20 minutes, we wouldn’t have seen them at all. It was a fun reunion.

IMG_6830

IMG_6836

This weekend ended with another trip to Healthy Eats, as we worked our way back to Connecticut with another stop in Shelburne Falls. We figured, what the heck. When you find a place you like that makes great food, it doesn’t matter how often you dine there.

IMG_6834

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Horst Engineering

Thread Rolling Inc.

Sterling Machine

Horst Spikes

Instagram

@thecubscouts #pinewoodderby never gets old. Pack 157 Bolton, Connecticut #cubscouts So that little injury caused by my @renocxnats crash on Saturday afternoon wasn’t so little after all. It’s a broken leg (fibula). Prognosis is good, but it hurts like heck. My blog post report with blow by blow details is linked in my profile. #cxnats #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #crossisboss - - -

This #lifedeathcyclocross stuff is true!!!! I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏

Follow me on Twitter

Categories

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 298 other followers


%d bloggers like this: