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Ant Hill is Flat

Thursday, August 11, 2011.  May Ant Hill rest in peace (pieces).  Now an overgrown, forest-less, home ownership infringing, motorbike/ATV haven.  This used to be the place to go for a long, challenging mountain bike ride.   But now, I don’t think I would ever go back and ride it again.

Let’s start at the beginning.  The Groton Town Forest is still in pretty good shape.  And likely most people that do ride there have never heard of the Ant Hill extension to the forest ride.  So long live GTF, they say.

From GTF, the railroad trestle that you have to cross is missing a board or two leaving a couple of gaps that have you looking straight down to your watery death.  It’s a good thing we have 26 inch tires to span the gaps.  There were some people fishing under the trestle that shouted up to me, “You guys are crazy!!”.  Coming down on the other side of the railroad ties we almost hit their motorbikes that are parked in the path.  The weeds are so overgrown that it is difficult to even see the path, let alone the motorbikes.  So TiCruz and I waited for GeoMo as he walked across the trestle.  For some reason GeoMo never liked riding across that bridge.  The wide gaps, the board-rattling sound, the thought of serious injury.

We got our feet soaked quickly after that.  There was a puddle in the trail that was well past our cranks.  There was no going around it.  All three of us almost got our bikes stuck in the middle of this thing.  So we were wet for the remaining 90 minutes of riding.

From there until the powerline, things are grown in as I said already.  We encountered more motorbikes along the narrow overgrown paths.  You would think that the number of motorbikes passing through there would beat back some of the weeds but man this is sturdy vegetation.  At one point before we get to the hill to the powerlines we actually have to go through someone’s new backyard.  They have a little path for us but then they filled in the exit with yard waste and spare boulders they weren’t using.  I think that was our “hint” from them to not come back.

From the powerlines we head into the woods a couple of times.  This is where we got lost on one occasion (and at the same time discovered some brand new singletracks).  Most of the forest has been clear-cut.  TiCruz lost the trail at one point because of the skidder marks and new openness of the trail.  We went around on some new singletracks for a while until we finally backtracked and picked up the correct path back to the powerlines.

Once on the other side of the powerline, we met up with an ATV who was very cordial and went slowly by us.  We were actually eating a snack in the spot where we always do.  On we went towards Ant Hill.  It was getting late so we decided not to pursue that route (we heard it is off-limits now because of the Autobahn Society or some group like that).  In actuality, I never saw the Ant Hill path.  I kept looking for it.  The same ATV met us again along the way and I did notice that he came from a trail on the right side.  I suspected that was Ant Hill.  We couldn’t confirm it though.

The rest of the ride was normal.  Through a small fire road to the main road. Through Groton School for the Rich to RT 225 back to GTF.

The Gringo missed an interesting ride.  Click on the Garmin Connect link to take a closer look at the map (the new trails).  We had dogs and Vents after the ride.  TiCruz provided the drinks this week.

Here is the course data and map as uploaded to Garmin Connect.  We went 13.44 miles in 02:14:58 for an average speed of 6.0 mph.  That’s quite a few miles for mountain biking.  I was wondering why I was so tired.  I can’t remember where but I reached 25.8 mph as a max speed.  Maybe one of the boys can jar my memory in the comments section.

Later,

Slim

2009 Specialized Enduro SL Pro Carbon
2005 Specialized Roubaix Elite Double

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