What’s in Lowell MA you say? Only some of the most fun single track around. Lowell was the original Russell Mill, it’s where the Merrimack Valley trail builders honed their masterful construction skills. South of the NH boarder this year has been pretty much free from snow and a destination point for us NH natives. These areas are seeing winter trail traffic that used to be reserved only for TOT, Willow St, and Otis down the Cape.
Today there was a bit o chill in the air and some doubters that didn’t want to believe that a ride of 20 miles could be obtained here, but I knew better. Time to combine old and new for a 20 mile special.
The cast; Carl DeVincent, Andrew Schnellinger, Matt Caron, Andrew Gould, Jesse Taylor, and myself. Five guys and their suspension machines, good God… Myself…well you know what I was on. My newly rebuilt Salsa, fully equipped with 1/2″ of air sprung rigid travel. Yep, let the fun begin.
Since this was a bully led course it would have to incorporate almost every known trail the LDT had to offer. First up was all the stuff on the Trotting Park side. Lots of fun stuff here, left, then a right, a loop here a backtrack there. We hit the same plank of wood three times within 20 minutes. Comments were starting to come from the rear. “haven’t we seen that piece of wood already” Yep, to get 20 today was going take some special navigation.
Next up, the new ridiculous half tree skinny, complete with Y bend action and extra carved teeter. Good spot to grab some photos for sure. Apparently one of the MV NEMBA guys likes to cut these things, more on that later.
Time to add some “old school miles” to grab some more distance. Yet more comments from the behind “you know there is single track here too” this of course infuriates me more! Fifteen years ago we used to have to ride the Tyngsboro side to gain distance. Most of the trails on that side are blown out rooted double track, but dirt is dirt. The few additional miles here were fairly uneventful with the exception of the rickety bridge and frozen mud bogs. In the summer much of this trail is deep rutted mud.
Whortleberry Hill which tends to be the forgotten side of the park. There’s a challenging climb in either direction which gives great training value. Heading back from Whortleberry we hit one of the new single-track’s that wasn’t being used much, and last time I was on it there was a huge tree down from Hurricane Irene. The tree is still there but now it has been turned into this!
Once done with that we head over to the quarry trail and everyone’s favorite sections. By now the damage was done, legs tenderized, and the boys were fading. Mission accomplished! I would keep the heat on till the end of the ride just to make sure everyone got their monies worth.
Best of the rest. Enjoy!