Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Deerfield Ridge MTB Trail

This trail has a great reputation in Pioneer Valley MTB circles, but I've stayed away because I suspected that the climbing was going to be too hard on my knees, which have been ailing for months now. However, I recently hooked up with an excellent physical therapist who turned out to be just what I need (kneed?).

So, a few Sundays ago, I packed up the compact SUV (a.k.a., my Corolla) and dashed up there.

I started at the trailhead on Ridge Road in Deerfield (for directions, go here), and had just enough time to go out about 3.5 miles before turning back. The "out" was mostly climbing, some of which consisted of truly serious ramps. However, the "back" was a long, wicked-fun downhill.

The trail is luxuriously wide double-track, though liberally strewn with roots and rocks. Combined with my fully-rigid 29er set-up (see previous post about setting up my Mukluk with custom-built 29er wheels) this meant that my wrists took a real beating, despite my luxrious Maxxis Ardents (2.4" up front, 2.25" in back). Climbing is just that much harder with all the bouncing, but I guess I have to get used to it, as I've arranged a three-day Bike Camp with some friends up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont next week, and much of it will be mountain biking.

Here are some shots from the ride -- views that are truly worth the effort.

West to the Berkshires, from a rest point near the top

The distant peak with the tower on it is Greylock, highest point in Mass.

A lift that served a now-defunct ski area on the Ridge 

Riding and views well worth the 25-minute drive from the central Valley; I'll be returning to see what's over the top of that hill.

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