Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Kingdom Sampler: Bikepacking Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

Brandon and I were running out of daylight. Miles short of our goal, we pushed our bikes through dense forest and around jagged rocks, lifting them over blowdowns on a barely visible trail that seemed more a figment of my imagination than reality. I had been nervous about this scenario all day- and now my fears were materializing. We were hitting the most difficult section of the day at precisely the wrong time. The thick woods were closing in around us, further choking out what little light remained in the gray skies above. Just as I began to consider retreating to the road we crested out of gully and my perspective changed completely.

Monday, September 18, 2017

FOMBA to Bear Brook Epic (October 2016)

Red carpet treatment.
 I've heard it said that Autumn is the reason New Englanders put up with the long, cold, dark winters.  While there are other reasons to love living in New England, I have to agree that Fall is at the top of the list.

But like most things, it is fleeting, and you need to make the time to breathe-in some of its essence before we descend into the hellish hangover that is November.   And what better way to capture the sights, smells and feels of the season than a leg crushing epic mountain bike ride in the hills of sourthern New Hampshire?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Boston to Northampton Epic Trail Ride (July 2017)

My bike took me here.
 The light was fading fast as I slowly walked my bike up a ribbon of steep, rocky singletrack beneath the high canopy of old hardwoods.  My only companions, the mosquitos, urged me along the trail despite the empty feeling in my legs.  I looked up to see the top of the hill, seemingly miles away,and put my head back down.  I was broken.  Physically and mentally.  Although I was in the homestretch of my second day, it had been a hard day.  Hot. Humid. And what I had hoped was a flowy five miles of singletrack to end the day became a five mile slog on slick, steep, and rocky singletrack.  I didn’t have any choice but to push on.  There was no other way I was getting home.  And so I took another long pull from my water bottle, pushed one leg in front of the other, and brushed the swarm of mosquitos from my shoulders and back.  Only a couple more miles now.  It wouldn’t be long. And that’s when I heard the thunder.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Your Bucket List is Weighing You Down: A Harvard-Boxborough Study Proves It

Sweet, sweet, singletrack descents.
The perfect is the enemy of the possible, dreaming is the enemy of doing, and the bucket list is the enemy of a life filled with adventure.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Other Side of Highland (September 2016)

A hint of Fall on the trail.
It was all starting to look the same.  I muddled along a trail I was hoping would lead me northward and onto my planned route, but discovered yet another dead end as the trail began to loop back in on itself.  Gunshots echoed in the distance and the forest began to darken in the mid afternoon light. Freshly fallen twigs crunched under my tires as I rolled downhill and back to a familiar looking trail junction.  I loosened my elbows to absorb the logs and rocks hidden in the tall grass that had sprouted up under the break in the forest canopy.  As I watched the sharp broken stub of a branch roll under my tire, it occurred to me that my spare tube was sitting miles away in the back of my truck.   My anxiety level, already high, was now thick and suffocating.  I was running out of time.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Moosalamoo's Leicester Hollow & Chandler Ridge Loop (August 2016)

Sun, bike, singeltrack and water: a winning combination.
"Just beware of the stinging nettles."  Those were the words of Chas, co-owner of Frog Hollow Bikes in Middlebury after recommending that I check out Leicester Hollow/Chandler Ridge loop in Moosalamoo National Recreation Area.

I'm no stranger to brambles, having stumbled through more than my fair share of bushes over the years.  I regularly fished for baseballs in rasberry bushes wearing only shorts and a t-shirt when knee high socks and parachute pants were all the rage.  Heck, you'll still find me waist high in thickets of prickers looking for hidden singletrack.  I've picked more thorns out of my body and cursed more burdock than I care to remember.   So a warning about "stinging nettles" didn't phase me, until he repeated with any hint of a smile now gone from his face: "Really, watch out for those stinging nettles."