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Discussion: East Hawley Rd

in: PG; PG > 2020-06-21

Jun 22, 2020 3:58 PM # 
I'm embarassed to say I've never done that climb, even though it is generally considered to be the premier road climb in the Valley for cyclists. For future refeence, where does the climb begin and end when you time it? I saw that the version on Strava is 4.1 miles, whereas the one on Ridewithgps is 3.8 miles.
Jun 22, 2020 9:22 PM # 
Premier road climb around here? I wouldn't know. It's far the hardest, that would be B17 (though it's not really a road). But then East Hawley Road is not in the Valley. It's never that steep (I had an extra gear I never needed). Nothing at all like Ascutney, which is way harder.

But still, it's pretty close by and it's more vertical than anything that is actually in the Valley.

I think I've done it 5 times. The slowest, I'm sure, though I didn't time it, was as part of the Mount Greylock Century in August 2004, when I already had some 50 miles and 5,000 feet of climb in my legs, having already done Greylock and the long climb out of North Adams. Then I did it about 37:30 in June 2016, 33:30 in July 2016, 33:15 in September 2017, and this one 36:15.

Except this one was bogus as far as the time. The previous timed climbs I'd started the watch at the very north end of East Hawley Road, even though that meant the first 1:20 or so was dead flat. So to be apples and apples, my time yesterday was 37:35. Haven't been doing many hills (or miles) this year, and not getting any younger, and it shows. Glad I can still get to the top.

So as far as the official climb? Beats me. Logically it ought to start where the road turns up, which it does, sharply, and forget the 1:20 of flat. At the top, I stop my watch at the Old Hawley Common, parking space for several cars and a signboard, seems a reasonable place. If you keep going there is a dip and then an up, the top of that a little higher, junction with Grout Road, but seems a little silly to include it in the climb. But I don't know what others do.

Of the times I've done, the nicest route was to start at the parking area on Route 2, just west of the junction with 112. Easy warm-up for a few miles out to Charlemont. Up the climb. At the top keep going a little bit, then take a left and come down Claesson Brook Road, very nice descent, not steep (it's a nice climb too). Then left on 112 and mostly gentle downhill back to the car.

Plan B, of course, though perhaps it should be plan A, would be to borrow Charlie's e-bike and hit that little button 2 or 3 times as you start up the hill.... :-)
Jun 23, 2020 2:29 AM # 
Right, in the hilltowns, not the valley. It's the hardest segment of the Noho Cycling Clubs annual race (though the route was different the year I did it), and it seems to be where local riders go to prove their chops. Some of the club's hillclimbs in the valley have segments that are steeper, but nothing around here climbs for anything close to four miles without a break.

Thanks for the tip on how to make it a nice route. Now I just need some nicer weather ... And some legs ...

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