Thursday, November 3, 2011

1000 Miles from Home

Somewhere near mile 994.
I traveled a thousand miles from home this year....and I did it all on a mountain bike.

To be precise, it was actually three mountain bikes and 1070.4 miles, but who's counting... I mean, besides me.

I started this mountain biking season with one goal: stay in shape for ski season.  I figured I would get out on the bike a couple times a week and stretch the legs (and lungs) so that by November I would still be able to climb the three flights of stairs at Court without seeing stars.  

Then something happened.  I started exploring new trails and getting further and further from home by using only dedicated bike-ways.  The more I discovered, the more mysteries were revealed.

I ventured off of the Minuteman, exploring the singletrack at its edges.  First it was the Western Greenway.  Then the Reformatory Branch Trail, and onto the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail. Along the way I discovered Arlington's Great Meadow, Whipple Hill, Wilderness Park, Fawn Lake, and the Greenough Land. Eventually I found ways to use these trails to reach the Landlocked Forest in Burlington, Great Brook Farm, and even my office in Newton.  On the weekends, I explored new mountain biking destinations.  It was the year of places that end in double "l" as I ventured to Russell Mill, Lowell, and Wendell in Massachusetts as well as Perry Hill and Millstone Hill in Vermont.  These explorations kept my sessions from feeling rote or forced.  On the contrary, I was eager to hit the trails and see what the next bend was hiding.

In addition to my explorations, I also visited old friends like Leominster, Harold Parker, FOMBA, Bear Brook and Kingdom Trails.  And then I visited the Kingdom again... And again...  And again.  (Okay, I have a Kingdom problem.)

The Novara: tired after a
long ride at Belmont.
I rode my trusty old Novara Aspen for a good number of these miles, as well as my Litespeed Obed.  I also made a new dual-suspension friend, the Giant Trance, who carried me a good many miles on my journey.

Looking back it was definitely my favorite season of mountain biking: not for the miles traveled, but for the adventure that I found.  I gained a greater appreciation for the conservation lands around me and especially the opportunities for adventure that sit right outside our suburban doors.

So while it was nice to not lose my breath this morning as I ran up those stairs, it's been even nicer to get re-acquainted with that eight year old inside me who liked to go exploring in the woods behind my house.

Now let's hope November doesn't kill him.


  1. Nice work, Andy! Keep it up through November.

  2. I set a modest goal for November of 100 miles of running, mountain biking, or hiking to keep me motivated. That and a cattle prod should get me out of the house this month.