Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cold Weekends are for Trail Ridin'

Bear Brook State Park
Off-Friday, Nov 30
30.1mi, 3:21hrs
With temps around freezing and wind picking up, I opted in favor of 3+ hour MTB ride instead of 3-4hr road ride. Hadn't been to Bear Brook in a while, and with winter closing in, it may be my last chance this season. What ingredients make any ride a great ride? Lung busting climbs and great views, of course. The nice thing about Bear Brook is an off-road accessible mountain is nearby. I decided to climb Fort Mountain first, while my legs were fresh. The summit is about 5 miles away, gaining 1000ft from parking area. About half of that gain comes in the last half mile (15-20% grade) on loose gravel. I'm lucky if I can avoid dropping below 5mph anaerobically max'd out. The day was crisp, and the skies were pristine. You could see about 100 miles in nearly all directions from the summit.

From summit of Fort Mountain looking towards Mt KearsargeAfter bombing back down, I hit the single track in the state park for the next two and a half hours. The climb up Hall Mountain put another good burn in my legs, although this climb is much shorter.

The gound was frozen in most places, so there was very little mud to contend with. But the leaves were piled deep and precluded carrying speed around most bends.

I hit the Cascade and Catamount climbs next, with stretch of hike-a-bike up Catamount. The ledge up top offered a nice view across the Bear Brook valley to Fort Mtn where I had been earlier. I saw two people the whole 3.3 hours I rode.From summit of Catamount Hill in Bear Brook State Park looking towards Fort Mtn

Nashua River Rail Trail
Saturday, Dec 1
34.8km, 2:12hrs
So the promised nasty cold weather was here. Windchill in the morning hoovered around 0F. Winds were howling above 30mph. Not a good riding day. Needed a long rollerski session this weekend, so this would be the day.

Dave and I had tentatively planned to rollerski around 9am, but he got there early and made me chase. My legs were toast from the long ride on Friday, and there was fair amount of debris on the paved rail trail. I settled for just catching him on the return from Ayer. The rail trail runs from Nashua, NH just over the state line to Ayer, MA in 12.3 miles. Round trip is nearly 40km and is a good workout on rollerskis. Dave picked me up about 1.5 miles from Ayer and we skied back together.

Great Brook Farm State Park
Sunday, Dec 2
22.5mi, 2:17hrs
Another frigid morning. Temp in teens, but winds were finally calm. Some of the Nor'East guys were planning to ride road this morning, but screw that when the trails are in top shape. I decided to take the Ellsworth dualie to Great Brook, but got no other takers to join me. I normally singlespeed Great Brook, but the place is pretty rooty and rocky. Suspension does have value. I pretty much rode all the singletrack, including Stone Rowe, Keyes, Acorn Hill, and many other trails. Did a big loop around the cranberry bogs too, as I ran out of trails to ride. I actually parked at the bogs where it's free. The trails were very sparsely used. Folks were either at the mall Christmas shopping or huddled in front of their firepaces. Saw one group of six mountain bikers and a couple hikers. Nearly had the place to myself.

This makes four weekends in a row where I did not ride road. Still managed 7.7hrs aerobic activity in three days, and about 11hrs for the week. Intensity workouts consisted of 35 mile hillfest at lunch on Tuesday, nine 2.5min intervals on rollerskis Wednesday, and a few sustain hillclimbs off-road on Friday.

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