Friday, December 30, 2011

Flor'Easter: Day 7- Golf & Gators

Yeah I think I see your ball right by the water... That's it... just a little closer...
No biking today. I spent most of the day enjoying the sunshine while riding around in a motorized cart chasing a little white ball.

I saw more gators than birdies, but I still managed to have a good time.   

Tomorrow is a travel day, so probably no biking either, but Sunday and Monday are looking good to explore the trails on the Gulf coast.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Flor'Easter: Day 6- Mala Compra

Nearly two hundred years ago Seminole warriors burned what used to be a cotton plantation to the ground.  Today, the forest that covers part of that land houses some of the best mountain biking trails in Florida.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Flor'Easter: Day 5- Graham Swamp Trail(s)

FOMBA with palm trees.
Today promised to be one of those epic days.  Clear skies and highs in the sixties were forecast after yesterday's rain.  With all day to explore Graham Swamp and the Palm Coast area trails, anticipation levels were high.

I'm happy to say that the day did not disappoint.  It was epic.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Flor'Easter: Day 4

Let me introduce you to my best friend this week.  Friends, meet the Kona Tanuki Deluxe.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Flor'Easter: Day 3

Most of today was spent visiting with friends of the family, but I did escape for a few hours to scope out my route to another set of mountain biking trails close to where my in-laws live.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Flor'Easter: Day 2

Sorry, no pictures today.  No oven-fresh tales of adventure either.  Give me break, it's Christmas.

Instead, let me tell you about the time I was introduced to the Florida backcountry...and lived to tell about it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Flor'Easter: Day 1

The hipsters were jealous.
Adventure will usually meet you half-way if you give it a chance.  Sometimes it even lurks on your doorstep, peeking in your window.  It will not, however, come into your home, turn off your television, shut down your laptop, and drag you off of the couch.

Flor'Easter Backcountry & First World Problems

I’m on my way to a new adventure.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s often heralds the beginning of the ski year for me: that is, if you don’t count an occasional October snowstorm or a few turns down the White Ribbon of Death.  So while most people would jump at the chance to take a trip to warmer climes this time of year, vacationing a thousand miles from a skiable slope during this week is akin to me being sent to my room for a week. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ten Things for Backcountry Skiers to Do While Waiting for Old Man Winter to Get His Head Out of His A**

Something's missing.

Unless you’ve been busy hiding under the bed with a bad case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, you’ve probably noticed that there’s been a determined lack of snow in the Northeast.  In between checking the depressing weather reports from the solitude of my couch-cushion spider hole, I’ve developed a list of activities to help us backcountry skiers cope with our increasing despair. 

So put down the half empty bottle of spiced rum, put some pants on, and gather around for my list of ten things to do while you wait for Old Man Winter to get his sh# together.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

-Trip Report- Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest: The Silver Line (November 2011)

After the leaves have fallen, the Silver Line magically appears.  Pressed from the foliage, the tannins retreat into the soil bringing relief to mountain bikers fumbling along leaf covered trails.

For a few fleeting weeks, it lends a helping hand until the snow claims the forest floor.

Thank you, Silver Line.  Thank you, Mr. November.

You can read my full review of the trails here.

More photos after the jump.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Alpine Touring Binding Comparison Chart

Oh the places you will go.
If you're thinking of buying a pair of backcountry bindings, then let me make your search a little easier.  I've put together a handy chart of the most popular alpine touring bindings for your viewing pleasure.  Whether you're hucking 20 foot cliffs or rando racing, there's a binding designed specifically for you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Millstone Hill Trails: The Video

It looks like mountain biking weather for another weekend, so in celebration (okay consolation) I put together a video from my recent trip to Millstone Hill with Brad.

Note that Brad was riding a suspension-less singlespeed that day.  He deserves some sort of trophy.

According to the Millstone management, this is the last weekend that the trails are open.  So get out and enjoy them while you still can!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

-Trip Report- Pine Hill Park: Now There's A Reason to go to Rutland (November 2011)

Rutland has long been the Rodney Dangerfield of Vermont towns: it doesn't get any respect. From it's derisive nicknames (i.e. "The Rut", "Rut-vegas") to…well, the title of the article, it takes a lot of flak from the outside world and especially from Vermonters.

After sampling the local trails at Pine Hill Park, I may owe the good folks from Rutland an apology.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

-Trip Report- Ascutney: One Week Later (November 2011)

I have the urge to sculpt this out of mashed potatoes.
I swore I wasn't going to write any more mountain biking articles this year.

If you hadn't noticed, we've already switched the graphics over to our winter offering.  Like a department store, the Halloween decorations are already in the box and the garland and lights are up in the windows.  Ski season is clearly on our minds.  This weekend screwed all of that up.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Five Steps to Buying a Cheap Telemark Ski Setup

Gered makes his own climbing skins out of snow.
November is a tough month for skiers. Your mailbox is filling up with ski magazines, your inbox is getting blasted with announcements for ski movie premiers and resort lodging specials, and you've already dusted off your gear and put the ski rack back on your car. Still, the season still seems so very far away. Sure, you may get an October treat to tide you over for a few days but pretty soon it's brown and bleak again and you're counting down the days until you can make some real turns.

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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trip Report- Millstone Hill Trails: True Grit (October 2011)

One of the many bedrock spines.
At the geographic heart of the Green Mountains, the trails at Millstone Hill near Barre are the embodiment of Vermont's stern and ingenious spirit and among its premiere mountain biking destinations.

While you probably won't need your climbing harness or pitons, you'll need to bring a heaping helping of true grit.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This is the Year: Alaska Heli-Ski Video

There is only one guy I know who is more fanatical about skiing than Andy: My friend Ben Szekely.

Ben has been gracious to lead me down some of the best lines I have ever skied and this past spring he set some of his own personal bests out in Girdwood, Alaska heli-skiing with Chugach Powder Guides. He put together this video of his footage for a CGP/GoPro contest.

While this guy can rip some big lines, Ben is based in Boston and hones his chops on New England slopes like the rest of us. The brief East Coast cameo in the video is likely the first time heli-skiing and Bretton Woods have ever been associated with one another.

Check out the video and let Ben know what you think.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Christmas in October II

Zen shot of Brad pulling out his only real turn.
For all of you hunters/skiiers out there waiting anxiously at the top of tree stands this weekend for a chance to put a cap in Bambi's A@@, well you really did miss out on the big payoff. The meal ticket. Christmas in October 2.

This is the second year in a row that Nor'EasterBC has been making October schuss. We were on the slopes at KMart on Oct 16th last year for an epic high mountain Nor'Easter, and had a chance to do it all again this morning on Ascutney, every lazy BC skier's favorite private playground.

Friday, October 28, 2011

2011-2012 Backcountry Ski Comparison Chart

Snow is finally falling which means that it's time for this year's backcountry ski comparison chart.  I've already been busy stalking this year's boards, and the fruits of my obsessive-compulsive labors are here for your enjoyment.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kingdom Trails: One More Ride

With the end of the mountain biking season around the corner, I ventured back up to Kingdom Trails last weekend for one more run on my favorite trails with Gered, his sister Kara, Justin and a couple new friends: Chris and Brian.  Four hours and twenty plus miles later, we had made the most of our late Fall foray.

Chris brought along his helmet-cam, took some footage, and put together this video of our runs down Tap & Die and Sidewinder: some of my favorite runs of the year.

The Kingdom is closing for the season on Monday (October 31st), so it's time to get up and go if you've been putting off a visit.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gear Review: EMS Transition Biking Shorts

Paper or plastic? Coke or Pepsi? Boxers or briefs? Spandex or relaxed fit shorts? Some questions are eternal.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest (September 2011)

If you're anything like me, you've been marvelously uninformed about Lowell.  Where I pictured an industrial wasteland lies one of Massachusetts' best mountain bike trail systems.  If you haven't made the trip, it may be time to check out Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Change in the Air: A Video

The end of mountain biking season is nigh.  We recently spent a day soaking up every last bit of  Fall in the air.  Watch the video and come along with us for the ride.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Waltham Rail Trail

The Waltham Rail "Trail" as seen from the Goodyear Blimp
Sometimes there's a pot of gold and a plucky leprechaun at the end of the rainbow.  And sometimes there's just a smelly hobo lying in an explosion of empty liquor bottles......kinda like the time I went to find the Waltham Rail Trail.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gear Review: Pearl Izumi X-Alp Enduro II Shoe

I have a confession to make: I cheated in Kindergarten.

I had trouble tying my shoes so I begged my parents for sneakers with velcro closures.  The ploy worked and I passed without having to prove my knot tying abilities.  That was probably the last time I owned sneakers with velcro.  Until now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One Down. Two to Go.

The squiggly blue line is much more fun than the yellow lines.
I set three goals for my non-skiing adventures this off-season.  I'm happy to say that this week I checked the first of these off my list.

I mountain biked to work.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Three Minutes of Herb's

Here's a run down one of the my favorite trails: "Herb's" at Kingdom Trails.  Taken back in August, I did my best to keep up with Brad, who set a pretty good pace.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Harold Parker State Forest: Merrimack Valley Meets North Shore

A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of Mountain Biking
The trails of the North Shore of Massachusetts have a discernible character:  rocky, technical, bold, and with lines that have a high penalty for failure.  There is no better embodiment of this style than the trails of Lynn Woods.

To the west you'll find the trails of the Merrimack Valley: Great Brook Farm, Russell Mill and Lowell/Dracut. There you'll find majestic singletrack, which incorporates the occasional boulder, rock garden, or root, on a rolling journey through loamy soils.

In between these two very different worlds sits Harold Parker.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bear Brook State Park: Return of the Flow (Epic Day Part II)

"Now where did I drop that damn camera?"
Have you been missing the flow?  Too many days at Lynn Woods or Harold Parker got you thinking that mountain biking is all about rock gardens and sketchy lines?  I think I have just the place for you.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

FOMBA: Trail Judo (Epic Day Part I)

Pine Forest or house of mirrors?
In the age-old martial art of Judo, you constantly push, pull, and maneuver your opponent, keeping them off balance until you wear them down into submission.  Where they expect to zig, you make them zag.  Where they want to zone out and relax, you make them snap-to and work hard.    

If mountain biking trails are the haunts of ancient warrior-teachers, then I know where the zen master of Judo lives. Lucky for us, it's in southern New Hampshire.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Leominster State Forest: Revisited and Revealed

This summer's third trip to Leominster State Forest recently allowed me to revisit some of my old favorites, as well as explore a corner that I hadn't touched in the years that I had been biking there.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bradbury Mountain State Forest: Maine Attraction

Maine: New England's blueberry stained flannel shirt wearing drunk lumberjack uncle,
covered in mosquito bites, who likes to go fishing and play pond hockey.
A short drive north of Portland, just outside the L.L. Bean mothership in Freeport lies the little town of Pownal, Maine.  There you'll find a sleepy little hamlet with a blinking traffic light, a church, and a country store.  If you're a mountain biker who likes to camp, you'll also find the best fucking mountain biking destination northeast of Sebago Lake.

Yeah, that's right Acadia... I just threw down the gauntlet.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New England Ski Movie Premieres

 "Solitaire" from Sweetgrass Productions

In the next few weeks, skiers will gather in bars, theaters, and auditoriums to pay homage to last year's ski season.  This rite of passage marks the beginning of the new ski year, and helps us all survive the waste of a month that is November. (Well, at least for those of us who don't have hunting licenses.)

I did a little research to figure out where we can catch the premieres of some of the sexy looking new films, and my needlessly obsessive research is your gain.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Russell Mill Town Forest: Packed Full of Flow

Follow the bedrock road.
Recently I had a chance to make the trip up Route 3 to Chelmsford, MA and explore the offerings of Russell Mill Town Forest.

I discovered what many of the Metrowest mountain bikers already know.  Russell Mill has some of the best singletrack in the region.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ten Favorites: The Pantheon of New England Mountain Biking Trails

Old Webs: Just missed the list.
Everybody loves top ten lists.  There's nothing better to liven up a boring conversation or start a flamewar like a good old list of favorites.  So in that spirit, I've come up with my favorite mountain biking trails in the East.  Given that I've still got a good number of trails to check out, you can consider this my rough draft.

So without further ado, here are my ten favorites.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beyond the Minuteman: Great Brook Farm

Pavel's Bridge.
Yeah, you read that title right.

Hybrid bikers rejoice.  Great Brook Farm is within reach of the Minuteman Trail!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beyond the Minuteman: Arlington's Great Meadow

The Great Meadow is neither great, nor a meadow.  It is, however, a pretty good place for some smooth singletracking right off of the Minuteman bikeway.

Friday, September 9, 2011

All Your Trailers In One Place

Labor day is gone and there's a chill in the air.  That can only mean one thing.  Ski movie season is here.

Freeskier Magazine has been collecting all this year's ski movie trailers in one place.  Check out these four pages for a fairly comprehensive list of ski porn for 2011-2012.  Thanks Freeskier!

Big Time Trailer List

North American Trailers

European Trailers

Best of the Rest

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buying a Full Suspension Bike

After ten minutes of internet research, the inside of my brain kinda looked like this. 
So you’re thinking about buying a full suspension bike.  Maybe you’ve been riding a hard-tail for a few years now, and have worked up the courage to conquer some drops, dips and other more technical terrain.  Maybe you’ve decided you have way too much money lying around.  Or maybe you’re just tired of coming home from Leominster feeling like you’ve been kicked in the ass all day long.  Whatever your reasons, if you’re like me, you probably need a road map to navigate what seems like a foreign language of parts packages, bike names, and bike styles.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Green Mountain Showdown

If you like mountain biking and photography, boy do I have something for you.

Last weekend, before the unwelcome arrival of Irene, five photographers duked it out for the right to be the winner of the First Annual Green Mountain Showdown.  Okay, maybe it was less of a fistfight, and more of an artistic display, but you get the picture.

Each photographer was charged with putting together a portfolio of work to represent Vermont bike culture.

While only one winner was named (Bear Cieri), we all kinda won with five stellar collections of mountain bike photography.

Check out the stunning final slide shows here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thoughts on Road Biking in Boston

I think I see Massachusetts plates.
If you haven’t figured it out yet.  I can’t stand road biking.  It’s not the lack of suspension, thin tires, awkward body positioning, or spandex shorts that I can’t stand.  Frankly, the ten pounds you shave off a road bike is worth these indignities.  I can’t stand road biking because it takes place on roads, where inevitably I will find drivers.... Boston drivers. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kingdom Trails: Numbers (August 21, 2011)

Cowpath or Bike Trail? 

Four hours. Three thousand feet.  Thirty miles.

Those are the cold hard numbers that can't begin to convey the more meaningful experience of exploration, exhilaration and downright joy that I found on my third trip to Kingdom Trails this year.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Beyond the Minuteman: Whipple Hill (August 2011)

A Fells-ish spot at Whipple.
I was upside down, completely underwater and with my bike on top of me. Despite the thought of being trapped, I found it hard not to laugh at my predicament.

It was the summer of 2008 and I was biking the Nanamocomuck trail with a couple friends who had gotten far enough ahead of me to be out of sight.  “The Nan” was a wild trail, littered with blow downs, running along the Kancamagus Highway.  A long section of the trail ran atop an elevated berm with occasional water crossings. The first few of these crossings were only inches deep.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

-Trip Report- North Tri-Pyramid Slide (February 2009)

A glimpse of the slide.

There is a serene beauty that envelops you on a winter night in the mountains: a clear sky, a fresh foot of snow softening your surroundings, and the silence of a hardwood forest asleep for the winter.  These are the peaceful memories that sustain you during a stressful day at the office.  It helps however, when you edit out the “port-a-potty on game day” smell of the inside of your tent.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beyond the Minuteman: Landlocked Forest Unlocked

Paint Mine Area:  Good place for biking.  Not so good for flying kites.

A short time ago I lived in a world where an evening ride at the Landlocked Forest in Burlington, MA required me to first drive through rush hour traffic on Route 128.  Well I’m happy to say that the world as I knew it has ceased to exist. 

In its place is a better world.   One where you don’t need a car to go mountain biking; where you can ride for hours while avoiding busy roads with drivers who would rather make you a hood ornament than arrive at their destinations thirty seconds later;  and a world where you DON’T have to listen to Metallica on the way to Yoga class.

Welcome to the world just beyond the Minuteman.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gear Review: 2010/2011 K2 Backlash (Now I See)

I swear I didn't plan this shot.  Really.
It’s really hard to find bad reviews of backcountry products online. When was the last time you ever heard someone tell you that the item they tested was a piece of garbage? 

Maybe bad reviews get buried.  Maybe people are a bunch of liars.  Maybe when there’s nothing nice to say, people don’t say anything at all.   Personally, I think there’s a tendency to rationalize or justify a purchase: especially with large ticket items.

So let me readily admit that my earlier ski reviews are total bullshit.  I was blind and now I see.   I can thank the folks at K2 for my new perspective.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Waterbury Trails: Video of a Group Ride with VMBA (July 16, 2011)

I challenged everyone in the middle to a ride to the death.  Nobody was interested.  Except the dog.
I recently attended the Vermont Mountain Bike Festival in Waterbury, VT and took part in one of the group rides where some local riders gave us a tour of their backyard.  I was impressed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kingdom Trails: A Video Essay

This past weekend I spent a day with some friends roaming the byways at Kingdom Trails.  It's hard to describe why this is my favorite place to go biking, so I made a little video to give you a sample of what it is like.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bedford Isn't The End of the Line: Part II (Taking a Right Turn)

An Ewok threw a rock at me after I took this.
My exploration of the sylvan byways of Metro-West Boston continued with a ride on the Narrow-Gauge Rail-Trail in Bedford.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gear Review: Garmont Radium

If the boot doesn't fit.  Mold it.

Searching for a reasonably priced "do-it-all" boot?  Garmont has the answer.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wendell State Forest: Getting Hooked on Dual Suspension

It's Wendell, Not Wendal.
Wendell State Forest in Massachusetts is much like her hot sister Leominster.  Rocky, hilly, wild and large.

Why the people of the Commonwealth chose to name her after an annoying Arrested Development song is beyond me. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Trailers Are Out! The Trailers Are Out!

In case you hadn't noticed: it's July!  That means there are only six (sometimes four) more months until ski season.

While you've been busy re-learning how to hike downhill, the ski porn industry has been busy cropping, pasting and editing to bring us the 2011 offerings.

As of today, three of the big guns have released their trailers for Fall's films. Warren Miller (but not really Warren Miller), Teton Gravity Research, and Matchstick Productions, all have teasers on the internet.

Warren Miller's: Like There's No Tomorrow

Teton Gravity Research's:  One For The Road

Matchstick Production's: Attack of La Nina: The Bitch is Back

Also, be sure to check out my videos from the 2010-2011 season.  

Now excuse me while I go purchase my plane tickets to Chile for some August skiing. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gear Review: First Ascent Hangfire Hoodie

You know that comfortable hooded sweatshirt that's your favorite for lounging around in on a cool fall afternoon.  It’s not your friend.  In fact, it might just try to kill you.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bedford Isn't The End of the Line

You can get here from downtown Boston using bike trails.  Really.

Okay, so I'm getting a little obsessed with finding "wilderness pathways" in the Boston suburbs.  Maybe it's my mortal fear of road biking around Boston drivers, but my quest to find bike paths linking different parts of the suburbs brings me way too much enjoyment.