Monday, June 3, 2013

There's not much to not like about this loop

One of the earliest regular rides I started doing after I moved to New England in 1997 linked Deer Jump, Wood Hill and Rafton reservations together from my workplace in Tewksbury. The distance varied, but sometimes I worked in up to 18 miles on a lunch ride. The area is densely built up with commercial and residential structures. You'd never know it most of the time, sufficiently buffered from the urban environment.

Perhaps the crown jewel of the route is the 6 miles of continuous singletrack along the Merrimack River. The eastern half is flat, the western half chocked full of punchy climbs. Sketchy bridges are sprinkled throughout.  Most of the terrain flows and begs for speed. My early "master's base" was built riding these trails from work.

These days, I get over there only a few times a year despite being only 25 minutes away by car. It's great for an easy-day ride, like I needed this past Sunday. I brought my "sofa bike," the Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc. Totally overkill for these trails, but bombing down Wood Hill was a blast, almost embarrassing how easily the bike mowed over all the rocks.

Handlebar deep wild flowers: check.

Sunny meadows: check.

Tunnel of blooming laurel: check.
What's not to like?

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