I continue to find ways to build epic routes close to home, say within 30-40 minutes driving time. The greater Chelmsford area is a prime example. You won't find killer climbs here, nor technical terrain you could kill yourself on. But you will find many, many miles of everything in between.
I parked at the Cranberry Bogs to avoid being taxed at Great Brook Farm State Park. Do they have horse meets every weekend now at Great Brook? I was pissed to see the lot full of trailers, maybe upwards of 200 horses. They make minced meat out of the trails, not to mention the tokens of their presence they leave behind. When you see the lot full of horse trailers, it is not even worth riding in GB. You'll be stopping every 60sec for horses to pass. Fortunately it was Sunday, and I knew they would all be leaving shortly. I think a lot of them must stay Sat/Sun there. I figured I would ride as much as I could before heading back into GB.
The route cuts through the Cranberry Bogs reservation, takes a bit of paved rail trail to Lime Quarry Reservation with a sweet singletrack loop, climb a big dirt hill with a bit of road to reach B.B. Wright Reservation with another singletrack loop, then some powerline ATV trail towards Great Brook. I hit only a minuscule bit of GB before cutting out through the Thanksgiving Forest parcel en route to Russell Mill Reservation. This is where the mother load of good stuff is. I rode pretty much everything in Russell Mill including a few times around the pump track before heading back to Great Brook. Now the horses were gone and I got to continue my loop there.
I left with a full Camelbak (100oz) and emptied it in two hours. I became desperate for water. I couldn't find anybody with a hose running outside. The restrooms at Great Brook didn't have the water turned on yet. So I went to the icecream stand at the farm, and a nice girl there filled it for me. I think I drank half of it before even getting on my bike. Did I say it was hot Sunday? Riding 10-12mph in the woods doesn't make for much air cooling.
May 2 ride in red, prior rides in yellow and green.
I finished the GB portion of the route, which tallies up to about 14mi of singletrack. I cleaned the trail called Stone Rowe, which is easy on my dualie, but I often fail to clean it on my singlespeed. So now I had to decide if I wanted to finish the ride Dave and I started several months ago. I was feeling pretty trashed by this point, having been riding 3.5hrs at a fairly persistent pace in high heat. I had to do it. I headed south on the old carriage path called Old Morse Rd. It is a nasty rutted out affair to start but turns into singletrack. It takes you from GB to Carlisle center through the Conant parcel. From there a short jaunt on Rt 225 brought me to Towle Land, another parcel with a blazing fast 2mi singletrack loop on it. From here it was a couple miles of pavement back to the car. I was out of water again anyway. That was 200 ounces in 4.3 hours riding time. The route covered 45.2 miles, mostly on rooty, rocky trails. Definitely worth doing again.