Tour Report: Kelley Conquers Mt. Florida, MA

Kelley, The Cyclist!

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Really, this bike was built for conquering mountains. Decade be damned.

I stepped into my local shop, Berkshire Outfitters in Adams, MA on a quick jaunt through Adams and saw a 90’s era Kona Cinder Cone for sale. What a beauty, too… whoever owned her took great care of the bike. Squeaky clean drivetrain, solid brakes, new cables and housings, and a well worn-in look that showed a decade of love. I fell hard, but our love wasn’t meant to be; the frame was a medium.

Three hours later, Kelley sends me a long text outlining her financial plan for getting a bicycle. I told her, “I know a bike, hun…”

She bought the Kona that same afternoon. Love finds a way. The Kona Cinder Cone was $200, about $800 less than I expected we’d have to pay for a “true” touring rig Kelley could use for serious adventures. We’re still out another $200 for new touring tires, racks, and a rigid front fork, but that can happen later!

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I added a back rack, the same rack I used on the 2012 tour. 1500 miles of wear hadn’t exactly killed it, but it’s a temporary solution while we scout out upgrades. The back is coming a bit loose, but nothing a few zip-ties can’t fix.

For touring, the bike is already well-specced:

  • Shimano XT front and rear derailleur
  • FSA Crankset
  • XT front and rear hubs
  • Mavic 26″ rims
  • 100% pure uncut cromoly tubing

The gear ratios are absurd. She goes down so low, she could win a limbo competition in Trinidad. The bike was built for climbing.

Kelley named her Kona Koa, the Storm Lady, after the hawaiian root of the name. Every scratch and divot in the original paint job was immediately painted over with care by Kelley, who happened to have a matching nail polish (who wears “Sparkly Evergreen” anyways?).

With a little grease and a new stem, we were ready to tour.

The Monroe State Forest Overnighter

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Monroe State Forest is a campground-free strip of protected land up near the Whitcomb Summit, a devastating climb along Route 2 that weaves past the famous Hairpin Turn in the Berkshires. Kelley and I had done a few grocery runs, but neither of us really knew what was in store for her new cyclist legs.

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Luckily, Kelley is an athlete, honed by volleyball, tennis, soccer, and lacrosse, and posesses a lot more gluteus maximus than I do. She handled the hill with grace and dignity, and left almost seven miles of continuous climbing in her wake without so much as a whimper. I’m convinced I’ll be trying to keep up with her in three months.

The ride took us up 1,998 feet of climbing in about 7 miles.

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Along the way, we met another bike tourist on Day One of her journey to Mt. Katahdin in New Hampshire. Naomi was a thru-hiker with 700 miles of walking (ugh! walking!) under her belt, and made for a wonderful companion for a night filled with swapped stories and shared food.

Here’s the photo reel from our most excellent overnight excursion:

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Our campsite had a reflecting pool….
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Our view from the Hairpin Turn.
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Naomi, AKA “Happy Feet,” a roller-derbying thru-hiking bike-touring tornado from Louisiana.
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Kelley packs up on a rainy morning.
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Another bike makes a good bike stand.
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Home Base!
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The road less traveled….

This weekend is Bikeasaurus Rex’s LAST RIDE. Goodnight, sweet prince… a memoriam to follow. Stay Tuned!

One thought on “Tour Report: Kelley Conquers Mt. Florida, MA

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