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The late snow meant most of the trails around here have been too wet to ride, until this week. Got out for a couple of rides:

7 miles at Franklin Falls on Tuesday. Nice and dry except for a pond covering the Jeep road in the middle of the park.

6 miles at Boston Lot on Friday. Trails were in surprisingly good shape. This place is such a great place to ride. Miles and miles of old school New England tech...lots of roots and rock gardens.

Black flies are out in full force. No DH for me until Memorial Day. Slow start to the season for me, but things should start picking up now.

 

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Yesterday was the third ride for me. 7 miles in Goldsmith Woods in Andover. Trails are dry but the blow down is bad.

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Finally put my ass in the saddle for the first time in a couple of months.  Rode most of the way up South Peak at Loon (a typical route I do).  Fortunately I was too lazy to switch out the fat tires for the 29ers first....

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Ski season fully done and MTB trails all dried out.  Been hitting it hard this week.  2 rides per day all week (early AM + after work).  ~5 miles each.  There's a couple of great areas in SE Mass that are only a few minutes from my house. My favorite right now is Carolina Hill.  756 acres with a great mix of tight-soft-single-track, rocky descents/ascents, and 2 wide fire roads.  Everything is constant up and down so even a 5 mile loop is a great workout.  it's easy to string pieces together into 10+ miles without a lot of repetition.  Basically you can create an ever changing series of loops that add up to whatever distances you want. 

Usually the South Shore in May is a brutal mosquito and tick fest, but I haven't seen many bugs at all so far. Can't explain it but I like it!

Trail pics always suck, but here's one anyway.

 

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First day of DH for me this year at Killington. Good size crowd and the weather turned out perfect. They only had Snowshed open this weekend, but the trails were in prime condition.

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2 minutes ago, StraightSkis said:

Thanks @Cannonballer. My sister lives down the street from those trails and I didn't know the trails were there. 

Cool!  There are a couple of entrances.  The best one is on Eames Way just past the school.  The other good one is off of 3A across from Old Main St Extension.  The only downside to that parking is that you start with a fairly long climb.   Maybe we could connect for a ride sometime.

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3 minutes ago, Cannonballer said:

Cool!  There are a couple of entrances.  The best one is on Eames Way just past the school.  The other good one is off of 3A across from Old Main St Extension.  The only downside to that parking is that you start with a fairly long climb.   Maybe we could connect for a ride sometime.

Meeting up sounds good to me. Sis lives in the neighborhood labeled as Marshfield Center on that map. I'll prob just park at her house and enter around there. I'm in Worcester but get down there once in a while to visit. 

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3 minutes ago, StraightSkis said:

Meeting up sounds good to me. Sis lives in the neighborhood labeled as Marshfield Center on that map. I'll prob just park at her house and enter around there. I'm in Worcester but get down there once in a while to visit. 

Nice.  I have a friend in that neighborhood too  (which of course isn't actually Marshfield center!).  I sometimes park at his house to start, it's a good option. 

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Only my second ride at Kingdom Trails, VT. And my first non-winter ride. The place is amazing! Very ridable for all ability levels. Even their black diamonds are only rated in realative terms. Everything is fast, flowy, and forgiving. No big drops, no sharp rocks. Toughest parts are the long climbs. Absolutely a great vibe. The staff and customers are all equally friendly. And they might have the best outdoor bar in New England!

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Couple of rides this weekend. Quick spin at Franklin Falls on Saturday:

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First DH day at Sunapee on Sunday:

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Nice to see a decent size MTB crowd at Sunapee this weekend. They officially opened the new 2-way trail Out-N-Back for those that want to earn their turns. Word is on July 11 they are going to try Wednesday night from 5-7 with the Wild Goose pub open afterwards for burgers and beers. Turnout will determine if they keep doing it or not.

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17 hours ago, Cannonballer said:

Only my second ride at Kingdom Trails, VT.

I need to get back up there. Were you there on the weekend? Was it very crowded?

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I need to get back up there. Were you there on the weekend? Was it very crowded?
We rode on Sunday morning. Got there at 8:30 am. We stopped at the main office in town and there were a half dozen other people there. We parked up at the Mountain View Farm and we were only the 2nd car in the lot. We saw almost no people on the trails for the first hour or so. By 11am the trails were pretty crowded. There were a lot of large groups (8-12 people each). I wonder if they will start making some of the trails one-way because it's pretty intense having a large group come at you fast from the opposite direction! We got back to the car by noon and the lot was full. We moved down to the Village Sport Trailside shop for a beer and coffee. Those lots were completely full of cars and there were riders coming and going from all directions. Basic message: get there early! We're planning to ride there again next weekend, and will be shooting to be on the trail by 8am. They don't start serving beer until noon. So I guess we'll be doing a 4 hour ride!

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How steep is this stuff? Is like skiing and its as steep/difficult as you want it to be? Green circles, blue squares, diamonds, the like?

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24 minutes ago, frapcap said:

How steep is this stuff? Is like skiing and its as steep/difficult as you want it to be? Green circles, blue squares, diamonds, the like?

Steepness varies a lot.  They do have green circle, blue square, black diamond ratings, and sometimes even more ratings with in-between categories that represent narrowness as well as steepness.  And it's like skiing in that those ratings are only relative to the area itself (not a universal system).  Kingdom Trails is not steep or dangerous at all (even on black diamonds).  Lift served places tend to be steeper and harder.  @2manyhobbies can probably give you a better sense of which places are harder vs easier.  I know Attitash has a reputation for being crazy steep and hard. 

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4 hours ago, frapcap said:

How steep is this stuff? Is like skiing and its as steep/difficult as you want it to be? Green circles, blue squares, diamonds, the like?

It can get pretty steep and technical, but the bigger DH parks in New England (Highland, Killington, Burke, Thunder) definitely have plenty of riding for all abilities, including never-evers. All of the trails at those parks are marked similar to ski trails. Greens tend to be flatter and flowier with small or no features and it goes from there. There are basically two types of trails - jump/flow trails and natural trails. The jump/flow trails are not normally that steep, but they are rated from green to expert only based on the size and types of features.  Even then, these trails typically always have B-lines you can use to bypass any features you're not comfortable doing. Think of them as groomed, terrain parks. Natural trails are also rated blue to expert only and this is based on how steep and technical (roots, rocks, off camber) they are. Think of the glades at these resorts. Most of the expert natural trails go through the glades. Like ski areas, the ratings tend to be subjective, but the four parks I mentioned are pretty consistent in my opinion.

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Thanks guys!
Not entirely sure I'm ready for this yet, but its been on the back of my mind. I'll have to see if those 4 rent bikes and give it a whirl. 

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1 hour ago, frapcap said:

I'll have to see if those 4 rent bikes and give it a whirl. 

All four of those parks rent bikes, full face helmets, and protective gear. They all offer learn to ride packages (lesson, bike, pass, helmet, and protective gear) that run between $99 and $130. My son and I did the Find Your Ride program at Highland a few years ago and became addicted. Be careful :) I'm biased, but I would still go to Highland. It's a good deal ($109) and they have a lot of great terrain for beginners.

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Thanks guys!
Not entirely sure I'm ready for this yet, but its been on the back of my mind. I'll have to see if those 4 rent bikes and give it a whirl. 
This is probably obvious, but there are 3 types of riding being discussed in this thread:
1) lift-served downhill, that @2manyhobbies has described really well. (Basically the equivalent of downhill skiing).
2) Established, maintained XC Trails with a trail fee. That's the Kingdom Trails type stuff I posted about. Trail fees are usually ~$15 for this type of place. KT also rents sweet bikes and offers lessons, clinics, group rides, etc. It's all pedal-powered. It can still have some fun downhills, but just by the nature of having to get your own ass uphill it tends not to have the vertical, steepness, and challenge of downhill riding. (Basically the equivalent of XC skiing)
3) Random riding in the woods. There are clubs like NEMBA that organize group-rides and clinics. Otherwise your mostly on your own to figure it out. (Basically the equivalent of BC skiing).

It's all a blast!

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Another perfect day at Kingdom Trails. Had to keep it short as we only had about 2 hrs available. Starting to learn the trails and the flow here is just amazing. Constantly twisting and turning. Just the balance of up and down. Some really immaculate bridge construction. Can't get enough of this place!

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I have done that once.  And it hurt like a bitch.  Stretched MCL on good knee but hip felt great for months after it was streched out.

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47 minutes ago, Cannonballer said:

Yikes! Walk away ok?
Back to the manuals training I guess. emoji12.png

Yup. Only hurt my pride the first time. Jammed my thumb pretty good on the second one, but finished my ride. When my wife got home and saw me on the couch with ice bags on my knee and hand, all she could do was shake her head ?

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