A couple of weeks ago, I did my first training ride for Will Bike 4 Food. I’ve taken a bunch of Fridays off to make sure that I have time for training (and to hedge against bad weather on weekends), and this was on the last Friday in August.

I headed west from home, riding across Holyoke and then across the northern part of Westfield. The road I was on passes just to the north of Barnes Airport, which mostly has small commercial planes flying in and out of it. That airport is also home, however, to an Air National Guard fighter wing. On this day, 2 fighter jets were taking off just as I rode past the place (they flew approximately over my head), and they were ridiculously loud! I had heard fighters fly by in the past, but always at a much higher altitude; I’ve not heard them before when they were that close to the ground.

I got the far west side of Westfield, and began climbing uphill toward the town of Montgomery. Soon after I started heading up, I saw this sign (click to enlarge photos):

Orange road sign that reads "Caution Ice in Road" mounted on a phone pole in a sunny grassy area next to a road.

Given that it is orange, it looks like a temporary, construction-type sign. And yet, it is summer.

Anyway, the climb into Montgomery is long, and I stopped to rest a couple of times. The town center itself only has a couple of public buildings, and otherwise there are just some spread out houses and woods. It is a town of small area and small population.

A little ways past the town center, the road heads steeply downhill for quite a while, into the town of Huntington, and ends near Huntington center, when it runs into route 112. When I got there, I turned north on 112, and rode for a couple of miles. Shortly before I was to leave 112, I stopped to look at the Westfield River, which runs near the road for a bit:

View of river through a few trees, as the water flows around a bend

Shortly after taking that picture, I reached state route 66, ans started heading east on it, which is also uphill. Route 66 climbs over the same ridge that I had already traveled over in going through Montgomery, just at a more northern point. This climb also required some rest stops. One of those, when I was almost done climbing, was by this pond:

Small pond with lily pads on the water.  Reeds and brush can be seen in the foreground, with trees beyond the pond.

Soon I passed into the town of Westhampton and began a nice downhill run. Once that was finished, I turned north and headed through the town center, and then made my way northeast into Leeds (a section of Northampton). I took the bike trail from there southwest to downtown Noho, and then came south on Route 5 back to Holyoke. Total distance on this ride was 46 miles.

This ride was all covering roads I’ve been on before. The next one would cover a bunch of ground that was new to me. Stay tuned!