Posted by: Ben | October 15, 2009

Cold Commute Day

So today was the first day on the bike riding in to work with sub 40 degree temps both ways and full on lights on the way home.  It was 37 degrees when I left home this morning, but absolutely gorgeous out.  It was such a nice, crisp fall morning in Southern New Hampshire.  It was the kind of morning where I felt truly fortunate to have been able to move back into the New England area.  I also felt super good on the bike today.  Having taken a few days off after last weeks onslaught of physical punishment, my legs felt great and I was able to power up many of the climbs that only a month ago were kicking my ass.  There were many photo ops this morning but since I was riding into work and needed to be there within a short amount of time.  I did snap this photo on top of Diamond Hill, the biggest climb of my ride.  I average 6-8 mph on the climb up and about 45 mph on the downside.  It’s a blast!

on top of Diamond Hill

on top of Diamond Hill

My day of work ended at 6pm, which as it just so happens was also todays time of sunset!  The start of my ride is through downtown Concord right next to the capital building.   I stopped to take another quick picture before I headed on home.

New Hampshire Capital Building

New Hampshire Capital Building

I really love riding at night with my lights on.  Maybe it’s because it makes me feel more remote, like I’m really getting away from it all.  Commuting on my bike is the greatest way to prepare for and unwind from work.  No matter what happens at work, once I’m on my bike all that matters is keeping the pedals moving.

By the time I got home tonight, my legs felt like ice.  I rode strong again and felt great on every climb, even the last push up to my house which, until tonight, I’ve not been able to finish.  So, the first cold-weather ride night ride/commute went really well.  I’m looking forward to the next one.

Posted by: Ben | October 7, 2009

Elm Brook Exploritory Ride

Had a great 2 hr ride with my son Aidan today out at Elm Brook Park in Hopkinton, NH which is only about 10 min. from our house.  The park is part of the Amry Corp of Engenieers flood control system thoughout the southern/central NH area.  The park has a huge network of lakes which are all conected through different chanels and through the Contoocook river.  The damn system is impressive and it was fun for Aidan and I to explore the park and extended area today.

At the enterance to Elm Brook Park

At the enterance to Elm Brook Park

From the enterance Aidan and I headed down into the park’s main area and headed into the woods.  The trails are somewhat developed in the main area, I don’t know who maintains them, but they are well marked in blue, red, and green blazes.  We explored around most of these three trails, not much distance to them but if you link them together you can piece together a few miles.  The trail meanders around the  northeast section of the Hopkinton Everet Resevoir with some satilite trails taking you right down to the water’s edge.
To the water's edge

To the water's edge

Once we got back onto the main trail system and were able to start pedaling we found ourselves on nice, gentle rolling terain following the old double track on one side and the lake on the other.  While the terain was rather tame in this area, the few quick ups and downs kept my son entertained, and me as well. 

The trail system breaks off into a couple of different directions, but we stuck to the red trail to the extent of the park area.  I couldn’t help myself thinking how much fun this place would be on my cross bike.

The end of the red trail

The end of the red trail

We left the lake side and headed up the double track yellow trail back to the main double track.  I want to come back here and ride this double track as far as I can to see where it heads off to.

Double Track Tunnel

Double Track Tunnel

Once Aidan and I made it back to the main area of the park we headed over to the NEMBA trail that was built about five years ago.  This section is a lot of fun and utalizes the terrain quite well.  The trail winds its way down the lenght of the primary damn within the park in and out of the trees, around sink holes, next to a drop off, and skirts by a couple of old stone walls.

Stone Wall Section

Stone Wall SectionAfter completing the NEMBA trail

Hopkinton Damn

Hopkinton Damn

Aidan and I decided we wanted to go and explore the Hopkinton Lake Damn.  So we crossed over the Resevoir damn and headed over to route 127 to cross the Damn and we had excelent views of the Contoocook river and Mount Kearsarge off in the distance.Everet Resevoir Damn
View off of Hopkinton Damn, Mount Kearsarge in the back ground

View off of Hopkinton Damn, Mount Kearsarge in the back ground

Aidan and I had a great time riding today.  I look forward to riding here again.  Maybe next time on the cross bike from my house, maybe with Aidan again.  I don’t really know.  I do know it will be fun though.

Posted by: Ben | October 6, 2009

NEMBAFest – Bear Brook State Park

Well, here’s my first post on the new blog.  Yesterday was the annual NEMBAFest, and this year it was held at Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, NH.  I fist want to say that this was a great event.  It has been several years since I last attended a Mountain Bike Festival, my last was the 20th anniversary and final Jim Thorpe Mountain Bike Festival in 2005.  It reminded me of the good times we had at in Jim Thorpe, great trails, amazing vendor support, the latest and greatest demo bikes, stunts, MTB Olympics, Swag, Swap, etc.  I was left wanting more.

So there was some pretty crazy shit going on throughout the day.  I have to credit the NEMBA people due to the fact that there were tons of familys out with there kids getting them psyched on Mountain Bikes.  Many of these kids were attacking the stunts located in the middle of the vender area with big grins, helping one another out.  It was awesome.  Most of the time there were MTB patrole people helping the kids and making sure that people were taking turns.  But occassionally the patrol would leave and the stunt area turned into a free for all.  There were kids crashing into one another and adults not watching where they were going running into the kids, it made for many laughs.  I know that’s horrible, but shit it was really funny.

 

Eastern Mountain Sports partnered with Scott USA for the event to help present several of the new 2010 line.  This years line is super sexy.  Brad Tanner from Scott was non-stop, getting tons of people out on demo bikes, and Joe who on his day off came out from EMS in Concord to help out was busy swapping out pedals.  All told there were several people amped on the new line of bikes from Scott.

The best part of the day came towards the end when I was able to snag one of the demo bikes from Brad and bring it home to ride on my own trails in Concord.  What I was able to get my hands on was a 2010 Scale 29’er.  Yeah, I’ve been waiting for Scott to jump on the 29’er kick.  The Scale is the perfect platform for Scott’s first 9’er.  I was happy to be given the opportunity to ride one.

While we were wrapping up, I did get a chance to talk with Philip Keys, the Ex. Dir. of NEMBA who mentioned that Bear Brook will most likely be the host of NEMBAfest again next year.  I hope so.  Bear Brook is a great place for this event.  The day before this year’s event it rained, sometimes really hard, and the trails drained extremely well.  The venue place was the perfect size and allowed for all the vendors to spread out and make there presence known.  The park also has a camp ground space, perfect for extending the experience into a multi-day MTB Festival.  I’m already getting psyched for next year

Amazing Bike and a great ride

Amazing Bike and a great ride

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