Monday, July 25, 2011

That special place

DaveP and I hit up local Bear Brook State Park on Sunday for a solid endorphin phix. The climb up Ascutney the day before didn't take much out of us. A bit of hammering may have been on the agenda.

It was still very muggy starting at 8am. Fortunately, conditions improved from there. Bear Brook has seen negligible rain over the last few weeks. It was the driest I've ever seen it. The balding Mutanoraptor tires I had on my dualie were perfect for these conditions.

How all good rides start.

What was not perfect were the deer flies. Much of Bear Brook is quite technical, and we started with the climby part of the ride first. I think at any one time I had five deer flies buzzing in my helmet. Would drive you batty, and if you attempted to do anything about it, you'd lose your line on the 25% grade and end up dabbing. Then the deer flies would have a free for all on your hide.

We hit Catamount bypass, Bear Hill and Hall Mtn at a clearly unsustainable pace, at least for five hours at the current dew point. I started with a full 100 oz Camelbak and nearly emptied it in the first two hours. I had only three small Gatorade bottles in the car to top off my fluids when we swung back by that way.

The blueberries were abundant. I don't have a taste for them, except in pancakes or muffins. You could have picked many pounds per hour in some areas. Surprised we didn't see any bears feasting on them.

Berries on Hall Mtn

A little later on I-trail

After refilling fluids, we headed out for round two of BB singletrack, hitting the eastern half. We encountered a bunch of people this time, including a group of women. We passed a group of guys augmenting their ride with mother nature about 3.5hrs into our ride. No need for that at the pace we were riding. We were getting our fix even more organically.

Popping back out near the cars, it was decision time. Do we drive the last nails in with a romp up adjacent Fort Mountain? Why not. I wanted to visit that special place that only a good endorphin buzz can facilitate.

The climb starts with a bit of pavement, then jeep road, then ATV trail. The final 600ft of vertical is up a loose stones cell tower service road at 15-25% grade. It is a whacked thing to do after riding hard for four hours. A totally anaerobic effort nets about 3.5mph. You didn't dare dab, as that meant walking a good ways. You'd never get started again on the marbly surface. We both cleaned it. The view was good. The endorphin phix was complete. Time for the 1000ft plummet back to the cars in an intoxicated state.

View from Fort Mtn

Our ride went 44mi with 4600ft of climbing in about 4.6 hours. It was the longest ride I've done at Bear Brook. NEMBA keeps building more quality trail there, so it is easy to ride this long with barely retracing your steps. I was completely useless the rest of the day. Mission accomplished.


MAGGS said...

Was this roughly the same route listed in your 'Dozen' section?

Hill Junkie said...

No, significantly expanded. My "dozen's" map was created before NEMBA added or reclaimed many new trails. I did start working on an improved BB trail map, as the state park has not updated their map in the 14 years I've been riding there. There is a map on that shows a few routes but does not include any new stuff in last five years. My dozen's map has about 23mi in the state park I believe. My new route covers 33mi in the state park before heading over to Fort Mtn. And that doesn't even include any of the super technical Catamount stuff.

the bully said...

Doug, did you happen to GPS this one? I'm taking a group to BB next Sunday for a little 100 prep. I'm super interested in the Fort mountain climb and the best way to get to it. Also the only trail other than Fort mountain I have not done is lost trail. Have you done it?

Hill Junkie said...

Bully - I put track here. The straight line segment is where I inadvertently stopped my GPS. Some nice flowy singletrack is sandwiched between One Mile Trail (gravel rd) and Bear Brook in that section.

I have not been on lost trail in 10yrs, if ever. I might have been on it once more than 10yrs ago when I didn't know the area and it was half under water. That my have been spring though. I bet it is dry now. If you try it, let me know how it is. My guess it is bony jeep track.