Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Evening Loop

Luckily they're all pinecones
So it's early evening on a weekday, and I can still hear the phone ringing in my ears.  I've got about two hours of daylight left and a mountain biking itch to scratch.  Where can I go to find a little piece of heaven?

The Middlesex Fells are close, but there's a lot of "forest service road".  The trails have a few technical spots, and the hills will get you in shape pretty quickly.  However, there is only one loop for mountain bikers.  I treat it like my time trial course: where I go to gauge the progress in my conditioning.  That is to say I like to avoid it because it reminds me what a fat wheezy creampuff I really am.


The most interesting part of the Middlesex Fells loop has to be the northeast corner where various men walk around trying scratch another kind of itch.  If you've never been there on a weeknight, its pretty obvious because most of the ride is done in solitude until suddenly you're among a dozen or so guys just kind of milling around in the woods.

Unfortunately, Great Brook Farm , which is about par with the Fells on its technical terrain, but has some excellent singlettrack is a forty minute nightmare of fighting traffic westward on a weeknight.  I would try sometime, but I'm afraid I would only make it to the middle of Bedford before I park the car in the right lane and go all "Falling Down" at the local Whole Foods.   To be on the safe side, I save it for an occasional weekend trip.
I'm sorry.  Did I interrupt your game?
Recently, I discovered a little-known gem in Burlington, known as the Landlocked Forest.   While relatively compact, there are many miles of smooth singletrack trails looped throughout.  You can easily follow the abundant signs and well-marked intersections.  It is on par with Belmont for technicality, but has some man-made bridges and log runs if you're feeling frisky.  There are also alot of unmarked and unmapped trails (like blue crate) available for exploration.  Unfortunately, getting there involves a ride on Route 128,  which is like listening to Metallica on your way to yoga class.

I swear I saw a deer on a riding mower.
Glorious Singletrack at Belmont
Most nights I can be found at the Rock Meadow Conservation Lands in Belmont.  While far from the wilds of northern Vermont, they are only five minutes from my house, and have all the flora and fauna needed to remind me what the woods look like.  There are two tortuous climbs and plenty of single track in between.  Bring your bug spray early in the season or you'll pay a blood tax to the locals.  While I can already burn more than seven miles of trails without crossing the same path, the Belmont trails are part of the planned Western Greenway, and many more miles of trails will be available soon.


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