May 18, 2011

Berkshire Cycling: Washington – Becket Loop 2

12 miles                Moderate               Paved roads
Towns: Washington, Becket
Parking: Washington Town Park, Rt. 8

My riding recently has all been training, not worth reporting here, but valuable for me. From the bottom of the hill I live on, all roads go uphill: gradually to the south and north, more steeply to the east and west. This is good hill training territory, but they are hills, not mountains (whatever they may be named.)
Mid-spring chartreuse

By the way, the more I use Map My Ride (which I think is a great tool) the less I understand its climbing grades. A grade is a grade, and the percent should remain the same, because the road doesn’t change. But their numbers change, apparently varying with the distance of the ride. It must be taking some kind of average, and I take it with a grain of salt. Someone could explain this to me.

Blooming shadbush

However much as I enjoy spring, with its growth, colors, and early green vegetables, there are simultaneously many things I dislike about it: spring here is very short, this year made up mostly of snow, glimpses of sun, extended periods of rain and fog. Also, there is far too much to do, the snow melt exposes every project not finished last autumn, not to mention all the erosion and downed branches from the winter. There are chores. And there is the garden, with its endless spring busy-ness.
On the other hand, one of the joys in riding (forget those chores, get on the bike!) is watching the forest floor and trees come back to colorful life. The shades of chartreuse in the woods start so pale that they can barely be seen, coloring up until sometime in June.
Trillium dot the forest floor
Now wildflowers paint the forest floor here with their blues, reds and whites; the stronger yellows and pinks will come later in these high woodlands.

Historic one-room schoolhouse
This ride is a nice short one that links easily with others, Ridden this direction it offers a good, gradual climb to the top of the ridge, which is generally flat and goes past the historic Washington School House and St. Andrew’s Chapel on the Bucksteep Property. The ride down Frost Road is fast and steep. 
In today's ride I got in about 800 feet of climbing and made a start back to hill-fitness. And I badly need to get back there if I am going to get back into the mountains, which I plan to do.

Roads: South on Route 8 Route 8 to the intersection of County Road in Becket. Right on County, then immediately straight onto McInerney (which becomes Washington Mountain Road, aka Pittsfield Road.) Follow it to Frost Road, turn right onto Frost, which is a nice fast downhill back to Rt. 8. Right on Rt. 8.  

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