Victoria and I tossed around ideas for what to do with our first sunny day in over a week.
“What do you think, do you want to go for a long hike or maybe a bike ride…” Victoria asked
“I’m tired of dealing with wet and slippery trails, and they are bound to be awful now with all the rain we’ve had. Let’s go for a ride and do that loop we’ve been looking at. It’ll be EPIC!”
The loop I was referring to is one of the routes suggested by Bike New England as a good “recreational bicycle loop.” It was just over 22 miles from start to finish and promised some gorgeous scenery along the way. We had been tossing around the idea of riding this loop for a while now, but with all the rain I wasn’t sure we would be able to pull it off. Now that it was on the horizon, I was super excited for it. We go for 20+ mile rides fairly frequently at home, so I wasn’t worried about the distance, but the hills were going to be a real challenge. The Twin Cities are pretty much flat, so we aren’t used to climbing. But with the right attitude and some patience I was confident we’d be able to pull it off. It would be difficult, but that’s what would make it so epic!
We passed back through the intervale we rode to the other day.
On the first half of the ride we had the roads mostly to ourselves, although we were passed by a couple other cyclists and a car or two along the way.
The ride into Tamworth was incredible. While we were challenged by a few hills, we did get to enjoy the backside of them as we descended through the Hemenway State Forest into town.
Here I am, indicating how EPIC the ride is.
We rode alongside the Swift River for a few miles. Another typical New Hampshire river, it was filled with granite boulders and crystal clear waters.
We made it into Tamworth (our halfway point) in time for the final hour of the Farmer’s Market. While not huge it was a cute market, with a little bit of everything. When we spied a woman selling pulled pork sandwiches we decided to have a quick lunch before heading back on our way.
We finished our meal (which was DELICIOUS!) and continued on our way, heading south out of town and past the South Tamworth Post Office, the smallest stand-alone post office I’ve ever seen.
At this point – about 3/4 of the way in – the ride was beginning to feel epic. During one of our breaks I asked Victoria to make the EPIC face, and she obliged. Ok, so it’s the “I Love You” sign, but that’s pretty epic too.
As we summited the hill into North Sandwich, we stopped to give our legs a break and have some water. We only had about 3 miles to go, but there was going to be a lot of climbing in those three miles, and my legs were beginning to tell me they’d had enough.
Those last miles were brutal. I’m too embarrassed to tell you how many times I had to stop. The hills were steep and there were only a couple of small descents for my legs to rest. My quads were absolutely burning and began cramping. At one point I thought I was going to cry, it was that awful. That’s right, I nearly had an epic breakdown. But after a minute or two we hopped back on the bikes, pushed through, and made it home.
Now, remember how stoked I was earlier in the ride, making my silly EPIC face? Here’s a quick reminder of how I looked then:
It was EPIC indeed. It kicked my butt. But we had so much fun, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.