Friday, July 30, 2010

Sweet Buttery Singletrack

I don't think I can remember a summer with such incredible weather.  So good in fact that I don't need to clean my bike anymore because it seems as if there isn't a drop of water on any trails in the area.  No mud, no muck, no mosquitos even.  It doesn't get much better.

Last night we found ourselves at Bear Brook for our weekly ride and as I said above, conditions couldn't get much better.  Parking at the Catamount toll and paying my $4 for the 3rd time in the past week(reminder to buy season pass next year), I managed to get in a quick 5 mile spin before the rest of the group arrived.  Once everyone was there we rode the usual suspects out for a 13 mile clockwise loop around the park.  One Mile Trail to Catamount to Bear Brook out to Hiker Biker lot.  From there we picked up Salt Lick extension to Hemlock and kept left until we came out on the fireroad that parallels the campground road.   Hemlock is one of those perfect trails that I hope will never change.  There is the perfect mix of climbing, screaming downhills, and sweet buttery goodness that is hard to match.  Nothing really technical, but the trail pretty much defines buff singletrack.  

Next up we took the fireroad back up to Pitch Pine and up Broken Boulder.  Broken Boulder is one of those trails that has been there forever (I started riding there way back in '91) and I don't think I have ever seen it as dry as it is this year.  Not one of the 3 or 4 stream crossings had a drop of water and the usual spots that are perennially muddy were bone dry. 

By the time we got up to the end of Broken Boulder (Podunk Rd. side), the light was starting to fade so we opted to skip I-Trail and do Chipmunk. At the end of Chipmunk we went up Spruce Pond Road and then over to Bear Hill trail (the lower section that parallels Podunk Rd.).  

We finished up by heading down Little Bear and back over Bear Brook trail with little light left.  Pretty much a storybook ride.  No mechanicals other than a dropped chain, no medivac, and most importantly, I didn't lose Scott (I'm pretty sure he tried to escape a few times but he wasn't wily enough).  My only regret is that this is the time of year that New Hampshire starts its steady march into darkness.  I think I might have to start leaving work at noon so I can get more rides like this in before the season hits the fan.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What a year for riding!

Anyone else noticed this season has been amazing for riding?  A bit on the warm side, but all the bugs got fried and its bone dry.  Get out there and enjoy it!  A friend of mine got a pretty cool picture of me riding a little roller in Ahern State Park in Laconia this past weekend so I thought I would share it here.

See you on the trails!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Claymore Challenge

I got a chance to stop by the Claymore Challenge at Highland Mountain Bike Park this afternoon and thought I would share some pics and a vid I took on my phone.

Very cool scene and a HUGE turnout.  Great to see.  If you haven't checked out Highland yet, you need to.

Took this vid with my phone so it's not awesome, but you get the idea.  Really cool features and these guys were going pretty huge.

Here's that turnout I was talking about.  Full lot and all the way down the road

Slopestyle Course

The final hit "Freebird"


Friday, July 16, 2010

I did this group ride Han Style.


No one felt like exploring a new locale with me and thats fine.  It added to the mystique and now I am the sole purveyor of these trails within cnh nemba.  Not sure what that really means but I'm gonna go with it.

I have ridden my ice bike here in years past but had never ridden these trails 'in season'.  Quite a bit more rocky and technical than I had anticipated.  But fully rideable.  Not a huge network of trails but if you combine both of these local areas and do everything on offer you could probably get about 8-9mi or so.

These are both areas maintained by the Squam Lakes Association, Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest and Belknap Woods.  Maps can be found here.

I didn't quite ride everything, ran out of water and it was a bit too hot and humid to get lost without water.  It's ok though, I'll be back.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Heat Wave, Schmeat Wave

Heat be damned we're gonna ride!

Luckily the heat wasn't quite as bad last night as it has been the past few days.  And we had a good sized group to keep things moving.  We even had a visitor up vacationing from the SE Mass Chapter looking to check out our local stash.  And let me tell you Steve knows how to cap off a ride!  That 6 of Long Trail really hit the spot, come on up any time Steve!

Lets see highlights:

My chain finally gave up the ghost after the torque fest from last weekend, unfortunately for me it gave up right when I was trying to power up a small rise.  It broke, I went shooting forward and knee'd my stem with vigor.  Luckily I carry a chain tool now and just happened to have a few links in my camelbak so we were back on trail without much issue.  Except for a throbbing knee.

We did Mighty Chicken twice, visitors always seem to want to hit that one as many times as possible for some reason....

and I was finally able to clean SBT from the top all the way around to Heritage with no dabbing.  First time for me since we built it.  Although I think I benefited greatly from Ben showing me a line that I hadn't considered to date towards the bottom.

Next week we are checking out a new spot for our weekly rides, Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest in Holderness, NH.  I ride my ice bike there a lot but haven't ridden there much during the season.  Not a huge trail network but I hear there is some techy stuff in there.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mast Yard Concord

With the weather being so hot lately I have been trying to get rides in before work to beat the heat.  I did some Oak Hill climbing yesterday afternoon and my legs were feeling it today so I decided to swing over to Mast Yard in West Concord since it is close to work and more importantly - flat.   I have ridden here before but it consists mostly of deer fly infested fireroads and only one singletrack trail to my knowledge (~1 mile), but I heard that they put in a new snowmobile bridge this year and wanted to see what was on the other side. 

I'm glad I did, because there is a bunch of fun, really fast, buff singletrack once you get over the bridge.  There are a bunch of nice sandy beach areas for taking a dip when things are too hot and there were a bunch of side trails that I didn't take so I suspect there is more.  It certainly warrants another trip when I have more time to explore.  All told, I did just over 10 miles with a 50/50 mix of singletrack to fireroad. If you are looking for a non-technical really fast trail system for some tempo training rides or if your a beginner then this would be a great place to go.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tour de Laconia

CNH NEMBA and Chainline Cycles joined forces again Thursday for a loop around Laconia on what I would call 'private stock' trails.  I wouldn't recommend trying to follow this track on your own, unless you want to get lost.  This one required professional navigation skills.

Most of this was new to me and I enjoyed just about all of it, except for maybe the grassy climbing on my SS.  I put my poor machine under so much torque last night several bolts loosened up on me and I think just about everything on the bike is now creaking and moaning.  And I think my brakes have just about had it after this ride as well.  I miscalculated my line / speed / brake equation a few times heading into fast corners, luckily never with any big consequences.  All in a nights work.

At least now I can say I've ridden Trail 'X' and I got my first inadvertent night riding in as well which is always fun.  The last mile or two was pretty dark in the woods.

See everyone next week at FFD!