If you ride enough you will eventually take part in an epic ride. Epic rides can not be planned they simply happen as a result of the route, terrain, obstacles, weather, or a combination of all of these. This last week we logged a trip in the White Mountain National Forest along the base of the Presidential Range that ended up being a true epic in all sense of the word.
Starting off near the town of Twin Mountain NH the route followed the pavement for a few miles before veering off onto a gravel road. Once on the dirt the topography aggressively shifted from rolling to steep and the scenery continued to improve. Riding deep into the forest the gravel road eventually topped the peak and descended the backside of the mountain range where the route turned epic.
Following the route guide described in a forest service brochure from the 90’s the nice gravel gave way to overgrown old logging trails that meandered across remote terrain for miles. The trail was covered with 2-3 foot high plant growth masking the 1-2 inches of mud below. On any other bike this would have been a hiking expedition but the tandem mountain bike with the long wheelbase tracked solidly over the slushy surface. With a beautiful blue sky, comfortable temperatures, and an old guide book we navigated our way across the “outback” to finally emerge at a small campground at the northern base of Jefferson Notch Road.
Jefferson Notch, the highest publicly maintained road in New Hampshire, is really nothing more than a gravel road. From the campground to the peak at 3005 feet was another 1300 feet of vertical climbing including several grades of 10%; all occurring after 15 miles of difficult mountain tandem riding. They don’t get to be called epic for nothing.
After a grind up to the peak we were rewarded with a fast descent down to the base where the route exited onto the highway just past the famous Mt Washington Hotel. From this point on the ride was simply a test of wills to pedal the final 5 miles on pavement back to the start.
Epics don’t get planned but when they happen the fun and adventure gets eternally etched into your subconscious. So here is to your next epic ride.
Route: if you will be in the White Mountain area here is the route: