Waking up to gently falling rain in the Mt. Washington Valley of New Hampshire, the effort of earlier days was clearly expressed across bodies slumped over coffee and food. As quiet conversations turned to laughter, tired eyes lifted up to the mountains across Attitash Resort, where bikes would be piloted for the day down 90s era DH tracks, and out towards Mt. Washington itself, still shrouded in clouds. Known as Kodaak Wadjo ("The top is so hidden") to the local indigenous peoples including the Abenaki and Algonquian, and as simply "high interior mountain" to initial European surveyors, this peak, the highest in New England, stands sentinel over the landscape, giving it a sense of relief that could challenge any landscape west of the Rockies. Attitash, with 1400 feet of elevation change from parking lot to peak, is composed entirely of decomposed granite, having had 180 million years since its origination to mature into the ideal soil for steep, tacky trails. This geologic and cultural provenance underscored a day of hike a bikes, loamy corners, exposed roots, and fern lined gulleys, followed by parking lot pit laps and apple bobbing in a way that could only be found here. After 25km and 1600 meters of descending, Attitash still held a multitude of trails rich in black gold that would sit untouched by tires, but laid freshly raked by event lead Peter Ostroski for those who follow or live locally - an ethic of true stewardship found at Trans New England that isn't exactly common these days.
Thursday morning saw a morning drive North along the White Mountains up to Mt. Abram in Maine, where Max Southam, the local trail builder lead, met us with welcome arms and wet dirt. Lap after lap, some accessed by pedal and some by lift, served up freshly shaped berms, rock slabs, and a now familiar New England jank of roots, rock and ruts lain into deep loam and slick mud. Lift service, thanks to the two seater chairlift installed in 1970, carried riders up an avenue of trees transitioning into the full spectrum of Autumns colors, with views of lakes and endless mountains beyond. Racers found themselves in not only the company of this unique landscape, but also local builders, up-and-coming juniors from Gould Academy, and a fair number of friends made over the past few days, with a few trail dogs thrown in for good measure. Race laps were followed by jib jams, party laps and whip offs before leaving for one final destination a touch further north.
Events such as TNE shine in not only the itinerary of world class riding, but in the community and experiences built along the way. Connections are made with local food, builders, environments, histories, and individuals who have travelled just as far to be in it all next to one another. Leaving each destination feels awfully similar to saying goodbye to old friends, where promises to see one another soon for a ride are meant in earnest. There is something about the North East that lends itself to this event format, but what that something is can only really be expressed through tires in dirt and beers with those who shared turns - the next best option may just be a long string of photos, so without further ado...
The White Mountains are an ancient, rugged, granite strewn range in the northern half of New Hampshire. North Conway is a town nestled in the heart of these mountains brimming with both outlet stores and artisan shops alike. Look beyond the outlets and main street and you will find out exactly why it's become known for the best gravity focused trail riding in the Northeast. With trails that rival those found in legendary places such as British Columbia, it's become known for the best gravity focused riding in the Northeast. Fast, rough, jank, tech, flow and big mountain adventure… it’s all here. A dedicated crew of local riders have formed Ride NoCo, a trail advocacy group for the region who have taken the reigns on managing many of the mountain bike specific trails and are constantly breaking ground on new terrain keeping everyone excited.
Thanks to event sponsors and supports who helped make it all happen
Sunday Morning Farms
Frontside Grind Coffee Roasters
Orono and Saco Brewing