This season I've had it in my mind to do what I call the "New Boston loop" before Memorial Day weekend.
Well, I'll be on the road for Memorial Day weekend, so I took advantage of a warm late afternoon yesterday and did it.
The apex of the loop is "downtown" New Boston, a small crossroads with Dodge's Store as a landmark:
The route out is rolling countryside with many ups and downs, but none really epic.
Going back, it's a different story. Check out the hill, circled in the grade profile at left:
That's the big climb up one side of the Uncanoonuc Mountains in Goffstown, of which Wallace Road skirts the eastern slopes.
It's not bad, but loooong, and climaxed by a couple short but very steep pitches before cresting the high point at Shirley Hill Road.
Then it's a long glide back to home base. Total distance: 28.3 miles. Time: about 2.5 hours, but I didn't really time it closely.
The other looping bike route I've been doing since the weather changed is a much more level loop that takes me south along one side of the Merrimack River to my hometown of Nashua, then back up on the other side.
Here's the route down, which runs through countryside that's still quite rural, with a lot of land in active farming:
And here's the route back, which is mostly through suburbia:
Total distance on this loop is 31.5 miles: longer than the New Boston circuit, but because it's more level it usually takes no more than 2:15 to complete.
One thing I like about this route: both directions take you near the enormous Anheuser Busch brewery in Merrimack, N.H. You can tell which direction the wind is blowing when you encounter the aromatic cooked malt fragrance that comes from the place.
What's next? Before I start longer rides out to the hilly west, or east to the coast, I need more time closer to home.
So one loop I will try is to go counter-clockwise completely around the city of Manchester.
Using the Auburn Village School as the apex, the first part of the route would look like this:
Then back, the lack of bridges over the Merrimack to the north means I'd have to come through Manchester's North End to get home:
So the total mileage is 33.3, a slight increase and a new route besides. I'll try that one when I'm back in town after Memorial Day weekend.
Longer term, I'd like to bike at least once to the coast (for fried clams at Ceal's Clam Stand in Seabrook, N.H.)and then all the way back. Long ride of about 95 miles.
Here's my preferred route out:
Coming back is a challenge, with a steep climb from Candia into Hooksett on Route 27, then a descent into the Merrimack Valley:
And two routes to the west: one a loop out to Harrisville Pond (for a mid-day) swim and then back, about 90 miles through some very hilly terrain; the other a long one-way to Bellows Falls, Vt.
Injury-free right now but just overworked with not enough time to push myself. Not running too much but will try capturing a few towns this season.
Updates as they happen.