Like the other Berkshire Brevets out of Westfield, MA, the route of the Shelburne Falls 200K is exceptionally well designed. This was my first time on this particular course, but the section between Westfield and Shelburne Falls was familiar from my experiences over the years on the Catskill 600K. The roads themselves are scenic and take riders through lovely back roads in northwestern Massachusetts and southern Vermont. While not particular hilly, there are a few sections of climbing, especially after the turnaround, that create the wonderful illusion that the entire second half of the ride is downhill.
One of the grimmer aspects of the day was the grueling headwind for the first 63 miles of the event. As we headed north, the wind was fairly relentless especially over a ten-mile section into southern Vermont. This was coupled with a gradual incline over the same distance to make this section less than ideal. After the turnaround and a little climbing, though, the hills and winds were behind us and it seemed to be downhill with tailwinds all the way to Westfield. The second half of the ride, after stripping off unnecessary layers, was some of the best riding I’ve done in a long time. The roads were gorgeous and the feeling of riding in summer clothing was a welcome sensation indeed. The tailwinds helped me recapture some of the time I may have lost in the morning and I finished in 9:09, which was just nine minutes off my goal for the day.
Up next: the Bash Bish 300K on May 9.