Last year Frank Lane, president of North Shore NEMBA put together an epic ride in the Ipswich area that several of my friends attended. They all said it was a really good time so when I heard it was going to happen again this year I was in.
The ride started Sunday morning at 9am right on time and you could not have asked for a better day or a better group of riders. The plan was to cover a total of 35 miles of trails in Willowdale, Bradley Palmer and Georgetown-Rowley state forests. A simple yet effective 2nd person drop worked great keeping the nearly 40 rides together. The pace was great and everyone did an amazing job staying together. I never had to wait for more than a few minutes each time I stopped at a junction. The other amazing part was the lack of mechanicals, only 2 flats and a broken chain all of which were fixed in a timely manner.
The ride started out in Willowdale, covering approximately half the park to start. We then crossed Ipswich Road and into Bradley Palmer. From there we picked up the Bay Circuit Trail over to Georgetown-Rowley state forest. The ride organizer, Frank did an amazing job linking everything together. We did very little fire road and other than a few road crossings almost no pavement. Frank and a few others on the ride went out the week before and even swept a number of the trails of leaves for us which was amazing, thanks!
At the halfway point Frank had stashed some water and cookies along the trail and the group stopped to eat and resupply. Once moving again we hit some of the trails in Georgetown-Rowley state forest, a place I had never ridden before. Then it was back onto the Bay Circuit Trail to get back to Willowdale. I think this was where some of the new single track was located which cut out a bunch of the fire road that is the Ba Circuit Trail. Upon returning to Willowdale those of us with some gas still in the tank decided to burn the last of our matches racing around the second half of the trails skipped earlier in the ride.
We rolled in to the parking lot 6 hours later to wonderful post ride food and drink. I really had a great time on this ride and hope it happens again next year. Everyone did a fantastic job on the ride and a big thanks to Frank for putting on such a wonderful event!
Below are the photos I took that came out. I apologize my skills with a camera are not very good :p