Questions about Great Brook NEMBA ride next weekend- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Questions about Great Brook NEMBA ride next weekend

    I've never done any of these NEMBA rides, so I'm wondering what they're like. My concern is how long it is. I see the intermediate ride is 13 miles long, and I typically only do 5 to 7 miles. How easy is it bail halfway through?

    What else typically happens during these rides and at these events?

  2. #2
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    I've found a good rule of thumb for group is this:

    If you're not sure what ride to go with, go with the easier one, or be prepared and willing to drop off the harder one. The riders in the harder ride will appreciate it. It's no fun to stop every half mile and wait for somebody who clearly bit off more than they can chew. Don't take this as condescending/an insult - I've been on both sides of this fence, waiting for others and forcing others to wait. Neither one is fun.

    So here, if you're questioning whether or not to go with the intermediate ride, and it's twice as far as your typical ride, you should go with the beginner ride. No shame in knowing your limits.

    And hey, if you surprise yourself, next year you can step up to the next level. Or better yet come out and find a weekly NEMBA group ride and push yourself this season.

    As for the rest of the event - It's mostly just mountain biking. Last year some people were selling pulled pork for charity. They'll probably be around again, and I can't think of a better way to end a ride than with some bbq.

    One thing that is really nice is that the local crew (MV NEMBA) will have marked out a few different routes with arrows. So you can just follow them (if you don't join one of the led rides) and not worry about getting lost. It's a great way to ride a new spot without stopping after every trail to look at a map.

    Bottom line is - you should go. Good luck!
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  3. #3
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    Very helpful, thank you!

    Is there a beginner ride? The website doesn't say anything about one. I'm also not beginner in the terrain I ride. I just can't ride for that long.

  4. #4
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    Ah good point. I don't see a beginner ride there, either. I thought there was one last year, but I guess not this time.

    GBF trails aren't very technical. There are a couple singletracks that are more challenging - stone row? woodchuck? I could have the names wrong... But for the most part it's smooth, pretty flat, and often doubletrack.

    The Russell Mill portion of the ride certainly has the best trails, which are also more technical, but you're looking at ~20 miles to work that in.

    My suggestion: Do the short intermediate ride. Better go and push yourself than not go at all.
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  5. #5
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    While there are led group rides, like most MBAS rides the trails are well marked so you can follow the intermediate route at any pace that works for you. I think the short road connector to Russell Mill may not be marked, so suggest you try the intermediate led ride and drop off if you need to (let someone know) and just follow the arrows. With a map, bailout points to aren't hard to find. There are lots of folks following the same arrows, so chances are you will find others of similar ability to ride with. Return to base for some barbeque and hang out. You will have a great day!

  6. #6
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    My daughter and I did this ride for the first time last year. We started with what was supposed to be an intermediate group but after a mile or so it was clear the group wanted to accelerate the pace to a more advanced level so rather than slow them down, we chose leave them (after informing the sweep) and continue on the marked trail ourselves. Despite leaving the group, we had a good time riding and since we left the group, we were able to enjoy some bouldering when we saw some rocks we wanted to climb. The BBQ at the end was good, too.

    If I recall correctly, there were a limited number of paper maps so you may want to bring your own copy if you like to have a physical map. (Great Brook Farm trail map) They had digital maps available with some sort of app or website but I had brought my own copy.

  7. #7
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    Great thread and advice! I'm going to a bachelor party Saturday night, so if I go Sunday, it won't be on much of a par for group riding, but I'll have some beer to sweat out. The idea of my own pace on the marked loops sounds like a good one.
    Riding bikes rules!

  8. #8
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    I ride Great Brook a lot. The trails are perfect for an intermediate rider. I'll probably do the same and just follow the arrows at my own pace. But I'm wondering how the parking will be for the crowds that they get.


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  9. #9
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    Hey Nemesis256, definitely do the Great Brook ride. It is one of the easier intermediate rides of the local NEMBA rides. If the route is the same as last year, it is easy to bail out to the parking lot if you get tired. The first section is out along the Acorn trail and back in on the Fern trail, you could bail at this point. Then out on Heartbreak ridge and back on Trophet Loop west, Pine point, Keyes, Beaver to North Road. If you are too tired, just cruise up North Road to the parking lot. The final section will take you out Deer Run, Woodchuck, to Stone Row. Stone Row is the most technical, with a bit of a climb. You can just bypass it by staying on Woodchuck, then to Litchfield and back up to the other end of Stone Row. Having said this, MV NEMBA will probably change the route, but you can see that it is real easy to get back to the parking lot if you get tired. To be honest with you, I have never joined one of the group rides at a NEMBA event. I just follow the arrowed route at my own pace, which is slower than intermediate but faster than beginner.

    Leominster and Bear Brook are coming up as well and those are nice rides. The Wicked Ride of the East is the season ender and it is one of the more difficult intermediate rides, but definitely worth giving it a shot, lots of bail out opportunities.

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