The ride to the resevoir was very social and slow as there were between 40 and 50 of us. It was a pretty uneventful ride until we got to the base of the big climb (shown below).
The plan was to get through a small gate that would put us on the road up to the tower. Once on the road those with egos (pretty much all the guys and a few girls) were going to race the 2-3 mile climb up to the top and be crowned king/queen of the mountain. I was riding with Jim and we got jammed up in the back of the single file line through the gate. Once we got through, we looked up and the group that was racing was already a good 500 feet ahead of us.
We jammed up the hill as fast as we could an fortunately we were making gains. We caught up to Andy Salmon (a strong climber) who had dropped his chain and was on the side of the road fixing it. We got to a rotary that marked an increase in the gradient and jammed on. At this point the group ahead of us had spaced out a bit and Jim and I were able to pass a few people. Finally we got to the driveway of the tower (where it got even steeper) and powered up the last 20 yards (into the sun I might add).
Jim and I were probably 5th and 6th to the top which isn't bad considering when we started. Matty Dufresne (quadzilla) won the climb followed by club president Mike Gay. Jim and I both road back down to the rotary to see how everyone else was doing, then it was back up top for the group picture.
After the pic, it was a great descent (won by the 2 clydesdales, Will Whiting and I) followed by some spirited pace line work. A quick regroup in Belchertown and off we were to the restaurant.
About 2 miles after regrouping Batman (teammate) flatted and Mike, Jim, Joe G and I stopped to help him. Some quick jokes, laughs, a quick patch and we were back on the road. At this point everyone in the group was ahead of us and it was time to pick up the pace. After 2 solid pulls from Mike and a signature pull (strong and fast) from Jim, it was my turn to the front. I managed to pull for a few miles while averaging somewhere in the 30 mph range. I felt good and I was starving. Jim told me to pull off and he brought us home maintaining the speed.
Once we arrived, we changed quickly and went inside for food and prizes. 2 hours, 3 sandwiches, 2 tequila shots, 1 beer, and 2 boxes of Power Gels later, it was time to go. A good time was had by all and a new location for our Ride and Dine was found.