For my training ride a week ago, I chose a route that would let me get in a lot of miles, but with only a moderate amount of hill climbing. This meant spending a bunch of time on numbered highways.

I first headed north out of Holyoke on Route 5, and went up to Northampton, where I was able to get on a rail trail for a mile or so. I also made a quick stop at our vet’s clinic to pick up some medication for one of the cats. I then continued north on Routes 5/10, and followed that road through the towns of Hatfield and Whately, and into Deerfield. It still seems to be high road construction season, because I ran into road work in Northampton and in Deerfield that had me waiting, along with backed up cars, for clearance to pass on a one-lane road.

Halfway through Deerfield I diverted off 5/10 for a bit more scenic route, heading northwest, and then west along the Deerfield River. Here’s a spot where one can access the river – this view is looking downriver to the east (click on any of the images to see a larger version):

View of river with some greenery and a tree in the foreground, and many trees on the far bank.

This spot is right by the bridge that carries I-91 over the river (and over the road I was on).

Highway bridge seen from low angle, with river passing under it.  There is greenery in the foreground, and some trees and grass visible on the far side.

I rode further west from here until I could cross the river myself, on Upper Road. While on the bridge there, I took this picture looking east (you can see the I-91 bridge in the far distance):

Looking along wide river with trees lining each side.  The sky is overcast.

Just after crossing the river, I turned east for a bit, crossing under 91 again, and then went north on Lower Road, which runs parallel to Upper Road and 91, but is overall at a lower elevation. Even though it is the lower road, it still is high enough to have some nice views. Here is a view to the east:

View through a residential yard of a distant field.  There are some trees and shrubs in front of the field, and many trees and a hill beyond the field.

That road took me up into the city of Greenfield, where I made my way past the Franklin County Fairgrounds, then skirted through neighborhoods to the west of downtown, and headed past the edge of Greenfield Community College, still heading north. Not long after passing the college, I turned east and crossed through the northern part of town (on Silver Street), until I came to Route 2A. I went east on that for a very short distance, and then took the turn off that went downhill a bunch, and crossed the Connecticut River into Turners Falls. Here’s what the CT River looks like where I crossed it:

Looking along river with low water level, and some exposed rocky riverbed.  There is a tree-covered hillside to the left and a brick building on the right, with some trees.

There are a bunch of old mill buildings along the river:

Old brick mill buildings stretch along the bank of a river, with various bushes and brush growing between the water and buildings.  There is a single tall smokestack in the center of the photo.

The river’s water level is somewhat low here, because a bunch of water is diverted into a canal. Just after crossing the river I crossed the canal, and then turned west on the bike path, which runs along the canal. I ended up stopping to eat lunch at a spot where there are a bunch of picnic tables just off the path, and on the bank of the canal:

2 picnic tables are seen on an area strewn with pine needles, next to a waterway.  There are some trees shading the picnic area on the left, and more trees are visible on the far side of the water.  A bicycle leans against one of the tables.

Here is the view up the canal, back the way I had come:

A waterway is seen diagonally across the photo, with grass and weeds on the near side (right), and a number of trees lining the far side (left).  On the near side, a monarch butterfly can be seen flying above the weeds.

I noted later that I managed to capture a flying monarch butterfly in that photo. Here is a close-cropped version:

Monarch butterfly in flight, with water behind it.

After eating I continued west along the bike path until I reached the western edge of town (the town of Montague) and then headed south, eventually passing through the town center and then making my way into Sunderland, where I picked up Route 47. I followed 47 all the way through Sunderland and through much of Hadley, plus a bit of South Hadley (where there is a bunch of up-and-down riding). In South Hadley center, I got onto route 116 where 47 ended, and followed that the rest of the way back to Holyoke.

Total distance on this ride was 72 miles, making it my longest ride of the year up to that point.

Next: my final training ride, which combined distance and hills.