Friday, May 18, 2012


Yesterday I hit up Blue Hills... a place that is on my way home from work, a place that I skip over a lot.  It has two marked loops (one directional, which is pretty rare for these parts) which I have ridden, and stuck to in the past.  For some reason I thought that was the only thing open to mountain bikers, and thus = me staying away from there as just two loops isn't that appealing when there are other great places to ride nearby.  I'm not sure if that was true at one point or not... but it isn't the case.  True, there are some trails clearly marked "no bikes" but that is not the majority of available trails - so I decided to do a little exploring.

First thing I noticed when I was getting ready for my ride was my garmin was already set for the HiFi... which means that was the setting for my road rides... oops!!  I wonder if that screwed anything up data wise??  Maybe, a little.  Too late now.

So I headed out on the tamer white loop on the Houghton's Pond side of things.  The first thing to note is most of the marked loop is double track, so I took the opportunity to check out some singletrack running off of the marked trail.  Having never wandered from the marked loop I wasn't sure which trails would be mountain bike "friendly" and which would be a rocky horror show turning into a quick hike-a-bike.  Right off the bat I picked "the wrong trail" and forced myself to turn around as I didn't quite feel like hiking that early into the ride.

Overall I certainly gave myself a nice technical "welcome back" and I loved every minute of it.  When I got to the "Hill" side of things it was grind time.  Heading up the gravel road is a grind of a climb for an intro, and then turns right for a steeper more technical finish to your climb.  I've never cleaned this portion... until today.  There are a couple "water bars" that they have put in using rock and stone to help water shed off the trail instead of running straight down.  The first two or three of these on the steep section are fine, but the last one (which proves to be a bigger step up) always got me.  Not today!!  On my first run (yeah I HAD to repeat) I cleared it!!  But as I was getting to the crest of the climb my rear wheel washed out.... less than 20 feet to go!  I sat for a second, catching my breath going through in my head "come on... so close!!  I can totally clear this whole section!!  But, do I want to ride down just to turn around and grind my way back up??  No, but I should."  And I did.  Climbed it cleanly.  Seriously, is there a better feeling than to conquer a section of trail that has gotten you time after time?

The loop doesn't hit the summit of the hill, so I diverted and found another way...  The trail I climbed was a rocky technical mess... a trail most descend upon - so I was a bit worried I'd get rolled over.  I did have to hike a few sections, but rode most.  It was great!!  Once at the top it was decision time on how to get back down??  I figured the trail I just climbed would be well suited for the descent, but looking at the map the skyline trail would hit me back up with the loop easier.... or rather, "easier."  It was completely unrideably steep and sheer jagged rock and boulder.  toward the end the stone was in natural step formation....  so next time a new route will have to be mapped out.

I'm psyched I rode Blue Hills yesterday.  It certainly is a place for great climbing opportunities (which I kinda enjoy!) and now with the knowledge that there is more to ride than just the marked loop I can see the potential for a lot more fun there.  I will be back for sure.

On the way home I started formulating a route to ride Georgia to work....  Boston roads are getting more and more bike friendly, it's really a sweet thing to see.  Checking the old google map at home it would only be 20 +/- miles... easy.  So I'm going to get a couple commutes in before the end of the school year - pretty psyched about that.

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