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  1. #1
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    Reputation: connolm's Avatar
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    Rode Ft Rock (Exeter) for the 1st time... Brutal, humbling, wanna go back.

    I just rode Fort Rock in Exeter, NH for the first time. It was humbling, brutal, painful... yet I think I want to go back! It's definitely a love/hate relationship.

    I "Strava'd" my ride and you can view it here. Yes... It's slow. It was my first time and I was riding alone.

    Fort Rock consists of two Exeter parks - Hendersen Swasey Park to the south of 101 and Oakland Park to the North of 101. Links to maps: Map 1 and Map 2.

    Hallmark trails to the south side include Green, Yellow, and Blue. I rode large sections of all three. To the north of 101, the main trail is the Red loop.

    All loops feature long boardwalk sections, prolonged rock gardens with larger-than-babyhead boulders, precarious downhill runs, and prolonged exposed rooty sections.

    I was off the bike quite a bit wondering "how the heck does anyone ride this?" - but I see many riders have had the same thoughts their first time there! Often times, I just didn't see a line - or I wouldn't take the offered line over boulders. I hope to ride more and more of it as my familiarity with the trail grows.

    Its a well built and obviously well-loved trail. The work shows. There are sustained sections where the rocks are all lined up to make a "bridge." Some of the boardwalks bear the "Nemba" brand. The blazes are fairly obvious marking the routes and the maps at trial intersections are quite helpful. The parking lot was pretty full for a Sunday morning too. I passed - and was passed by several large groups of bikers.

    My usual haunts are down around Boston (North Shore) and include Willowdale, Harold Parker, Landlocked, The Fells, and Lynn Woods. None of those trails are as technical as Fort Rock!

    Congrats to Nemba and the New Hampshire trail builders for an interesting, challenging and engaging trail!

    I don't want to ever go back - but at the same time, I can't wait to go back! Anyone else understand that?

  2. #2
    think
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    I've ridden Fort Rock a time or two. I gotta say, there is some bananas **** in Lynn that just doesn't exist in Fort Rock.

    Many tricky spots in Fort Rock either way. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. #3
    unpossibles
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    I hit the Rock yesterday. Literally. I went OTB 5 minutes into the ride. I went OTB last time I was there too. Now I've been there twice, and been humbled twice. The guy I was with made it look easy, gliding through as I fought to control my bike. I did learn 2 things though. 1. I need to ride there more. 2. I need a bike with a longer top tube - 24" on an XL frame and a 6'6" rider isn't cutting it.

  4. #4
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    Ft Rock is definitely up there as a top technical destination. I finally had my first "good" ride there last month after probably 5-6 times of pain as described above. That being said- LW, HP, and Vietnam have way more depth and difficulty than Ft Rock. I ride HP 2-3 times week, went to LW yesterday and was completely in awe of what I was rolling over (maybe my 4th time there). LW is another planet on the north side, nothing comes close.

  5. #5
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    Fort rock is easy peesy lemon squeesy... except for that one trail, originally called the demoralizer. if you make the loop the right way, there is some fast flowy stuff believe it or not..
    determined to put the "mountain" back in "MOUNTAIN BIKING!!!" "HIT IT!"
    2012 MOJO HDeeeeeeee!!!!
    2010 scott CR1 comp

  6. #6
    think
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    It's what you make of it. Plenty of challenge there for all abilities.

  7. #7
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    Dave, last time we rode there, you were definitely "making something of it!"

  8. #8
    I'd Huck That....
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    You can make Ft Rock an easyier ride if you just wanna go out pedal. But theres plenty of of stuff out there to challenge yourself. There is also a lot out there that takes some balls to hit too.

  9. #9
    think
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    Quote Originally Posted by billybaru13 View Post
    Dave, last time we rode there, you were definitely "making something of it!"
    Not my fault that air hates my tires. Plus that tree moved, I saw it.

  10. #10
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    Ft rock is a great place to ride!! I'm glad these are the trails that are in my back yard it never gets boaring. It's a great training ground for technical riding.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad news View Post
    I've ridden Fort Rock a time or two. I gotta say, there is some bananas **** in Lynn that just doesn't exist in Fort Rock.

    Many tricky spots in Fort Rock either way. Glad you enjoyed it.
    Yeah, seconded. Lynn Woods is waayyyy more technical than Fort Rock. Unless you ride the south side which doesn't even count as mountain biking since it is so shitty.

  12. #12
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    Love the place but all the rock sliding takes a toll on my tires.

  13. #13
    tag007
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    Yea, LW has some huge, crazy stuff that really give you a nut check. That said, FR is pretty fun with some excellent features. I've ridden there so many times that now I just go there to see how fast my bike can float over those rock gardens, pick new lines on climbs, and spin out on kooky off camber roots.

    I'd eschew the lighter, thin-walled XC tires at FR unless you like purchasing a new set or rubber every fifth ride. That place destroyes tires.

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