Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary with 50% off Season’s Pass Price for First Time Buyers

PINKHAM NOTCH, NH- To kick off the season long 20th Anniversary celebration at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, first time season pass holders are being offered a 50% discount on a whole season’s worth of healthy outdoor fun and activities. Even more significantly, kids (under 18) will ski free with a parent or guardian season pass holder all winter long, while helping to support the national “No Child Left Inside” program.

 

“While Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center has become nationally recognized as a first rate destination and venue for top flight competitions, we take particular pride in being a good neighbor and making sure that families, in particular, have every opportunity to enjoy the natural resources we all share at an extremely affordable price,” noted Great Glen Trails and Mt. Washington Auto Road General Manager Howie Wemyss. “We are especially pleased to offer this as part of the national “No Child Left Inside” campaign, which addresses the health and well being of an entire generation of young Americans who need outdoor activity as part of a healthy lifestyle,” Wemyss added.

 

Special First Time Season’s Pass rates are as follows:

                                     

Adult $70; Junior (6-12yrs) $40; Teen (13-17yrs) $47.50; Senior (62+ yrs) $47.50

 

In addition, all Great Glen Trails season pass holders are also entitled to $5 tickets at Bretton Woods and Jackson Ski Touring through December 31st. Pass holders also qualify for discounts on events and races, free use of demo equipment, free showers and 10% off all in-stock, non-sale items.

 

Other winter activities at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center include snowshoeing, tubing and SnowCoach tours to treeline on the Mt. Washington Auto Road, as well as a season long calendar of programs and events.

                   

For more information, call Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center at 603-466-2333 or here.

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127 Teams log 16,000 miles at the 18th annual 24 Hours of Great Glen

PINKHAM NOTCH, NH- Picture perfect conditions this weekend drew 127 teams to the Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center for the 18th annual 24 Hours of Great Glen bike race. The 345 racers who participated pedaled a total of 16,000+ miles on the 9.1 mile course, which included a new 120 foot floating pontoon bridge. The festivities also included a 12 hour version of the race and a “24 Minutes of Great Glen”, which is a perennial favorite for the many kids and families in attendance.

For this one weekend each year the base area of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails are transformed into a combination of a major bicycling event course on one side and a family campground all decorated in this year’s beach party theme on the other–complete with the Fwhatza Marimba Band in the festival tent on Saturday night.

While the beach party theme, music and food all weekend long created a festive atmosphere, at the heart of this event is an endurance race that draws a diverse cross-section of athletes and teams. Some are here just to finish, but many are serious competitors here to win their division. It takes real commitment and fortitude to keep going throughout the day and night, always keeping a rider on course despite fatigue or equipment issues. The resolute expressions and tired smiles say it all as rider after rider come in out of the darkness, swipe their timing card and head back out for another lap. Just fielding a team and finishing the 24 hour race is a genuine accomplishment. Placing at or near the top means you are a serious athlete who has earned his or her medal.

The overall team winners for this year were the Cape Cod Mountain Bike Racing Team from Brewster, Massachusetts, which included Lucas Provost, Seamus Woods, James Gloo and Jack Perry. Best solo Female was Danielle White from Providence, Rhode Island and the top Solo Male was Jay Dietershagen from Ithica, NY.

“After last year’s washout conditions, we felt we had unfinished business at this event,” explained David Bettridge, 47, of Providence, Rhode Island. “This year’s new course and features, especially the floating bridge, were really great! The bridge was just tippy enough to make it fun, but not break your pedaling rhythm,” he said.

Even while these athletes are pushing themselves to win their class, set a personal best or just finish one more lap it’s clear they are all having fun-as evidenced by some of the team names, like: “Campaholics With a Biking Problem” or “Shift Happens” and “Single Track Minds”. One member of the “Duckin’ The Diapers” Team who was returning after competing (while pregnant) last year, didn’t duck them for long, as she returned with her new baby to ride this year.

“This is my fifth year participating in this race and considering I carried my son Lincoln inside me last year that has to make him the youngest racer to complete the course,” said a laughing Kristina Fjeld Sparks of Lyme, NH.

The defending overall champions (all North Country residents) from last year “One Speed Wonders” returned this year and finished second overall. Last year’s rain and washout conditions may have favored the team, which tackled the course on one speed bikes. “We absolutely love this event!” exclaimed Ben Mirkin, 36, of Bethlehem, NH, captain of the One Speed Wonders. “We’ve been doing this for seven years and last season not only won the overall race but the costume competition, too! I think last year’s weather was so bad that a lot of people struggled…but we’re just four guys from northern New Hampshire so were used to lots of mud and cold, wet conditions! In fact, how about a pirate or Viking theme for next year?” Mirkin enthusiastically said.

Depending on the individual team and racer’s level of competitive spirit and strategy, the course can be taken at a slow, measured pace or as an all out sprint. Considering that it’s a 24 hour race, it is surprising to see how many of the competitors seem to maintain a blistering pace throughout. Kyle Clark, of the “Clark Brothers” racing team had just returned from a lap, covered with mud and happily recounting his first fall to his teammates. “What a great course-if you want it, it can be really fast and I love the new features…and even when I went down it was easy!” he said with a chuckle.

While there were no serious injuries during the event, there are always a few scraped knees, which are proudly worn as a “red badge of courage”. Professional mountain bike racer Andrew Slowey, 25, of Martinsville, NJ, noted that it’s all part of competition. “I’m used to an all out 3 minute downhill sprint and there are some pretty spectacular wipeouts involved…this is nothing” he said, indicating his scraped knee. “I was going into a switchback turn around the 5 mile point, maybe a bit fast, hit some loose rocks and washed the front tire out. This is my first endurance race-I’m just used to going all out,” he said.

Amongst the activities in and around the expo tent were several equipment suppliers to the 24 hour endurance bike racing world. One of them was Tommy Bryant of Nite Rider (a bike lighting system manufacturer based in San Diego, CA) who was at the 24 Hours of Great Glen for the 6th time. “There are about sixty of these 24 hour races each year throughout the Unites States and I attend 42 of them. I definitely rate this event in the top 5. Nobody else does for families what is done here and with all the amenities and activities it really is more of a festival than just a bike race,” Bryant noted.

This was, of course, always the direction event organizers have been going over the years, as more and more families enjoy outdoor activities together. Besides the popular “24 Minutes of Great Glen” kid’s course, there were games and activities throughout the weekend, including free kayaking and stand up paddling on the Great Glen Pond and a movie night on Saturday.

“The 24 Hours of Great Glen has evolved over the years into a great family event and it’s really something to see some of the racers who were here 18 years ago still on the course with their own kids! Of course, some of them have dropped down into the 12 hour race,” said a smiling Howie Wemyss, GM of the Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. “Still, a lot of ground is covered here in a very short time…Given that 16,000+ miles were pedaled during the 24 hour event, that would equal 1,992 trips up the Mt. Washington Auto Road, or nearly 2/3 of the way around the globe!”

More than $7,000 in cash and prizes were awarded in a variety of categories, including: Performance awards, Camp Site Award, Team Costume Award, Fastest Lap Awards and more. A bike raffle and Cruiser Class raffle was also held.

The 24 Hours of Great Glen was presented by Eastern Mountain Sports. Other sponsors include Dasani, Nite Rider Lighting, Coca-Cola, The Bike Shop, Hammer Nutrition, Powerade, VDO, SRAM, Felt, Red Jersey Cyclery, Light and Motion and Exposure Lights.

For more complete results, photos or other information about the event call 603-466-2333 or online: www.24hoursofgreatglen.com

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Kids on Bikes: Going to camp

Remember summer camp? When I was a kid, I always went to camp in the summer. I never knew if it was my idea or my parents’ – camp was a welcomed break from bored, overactive kids. Whatever the reason, I liked going to camp. I liked being outdoors, swimming a lot, and learning camp songs. Each summer before camp, I cheerfully marked and packed everything I owned, except my bike. Like my faithful dog, it stayed behind, waiting for my return. Bike camps hadn’t been invented yet.

Today, there are all kinds of camps, focusing on specific sports or skills. There’s soccer, horseback riding, science, computer, music, and biathlon camps. And, there are bicycling camps. I decided to find out more about these. With a little research, I found three in the New England area – two in New Hampshire, one in Vermont. There may be more out there, but these were close.

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) offers Teen Wilderness Adventures, focusing on specific outdoor skills. There are two “Mountain Biking in the White Mountains” overnight camps – one in July (8-12) and one in August (12-16).

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AMC partnered with Great Glen Trails to give teens the chance to “hone their skills on dirt roads, single track, and double track” and to learn how “to shift like a pro, cross streams and logs, make field repairs, climb and descend with confidence, and be comfortable with varying terrain.” The five day camp includes instruction, camping, meals, and transportation, as well as group equipment and bike rentals if necessary. The cost is $1092 fro AMC Youth members and $1201 for nonmembers, with scholarships available. Two AMC staff members work in conjunction with a Great Glen Trails Guide, and group size is limited to provide lots of individual attention. These camps are for beginner to intermediate riders ages 13-16.

Last Tuesday, I met up with July’s group at Great Glen Trails. Though it was raining, the nine campers’ spirits didn’t seem dampened. While the crew cleaned up after lunch, Great Glen’s Guide, Meghan Skidmore, challenged the kids to a “slow race” where the winner was the last one across the line. The boys used “track stands” and “bunny hops” to keep their bikes upright, but barely moving forward.

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When the race concluded, we rode back to the lodge to fill Camelbaks and I had a chance to talk with the campers. They came from all over New England –Bangor and Fryeburg, Maine, Hamilton (3), Newton, and Acton, Massachusetts, Portsmouth and Tamworth, NH. Their mountain bike experience varied – some were beginners, one was a Kennett Mountain Bike Team member. One of the Hamilton riders was an experienced road biker, but wanted to try mountain biking. He figured the White Mountains was the best place to do it. A repeat camper said he came back because the camp was fun and he learned a lot about riding.

We mounted our bikes to pre-ride the Summer Mountain Bike Series short race course. Along the way, Meghan discussed strategies to handle single track challenges like roots, rocks, and slick bridges. She showed long and short course racers where their courses diverged. AMC staffers, Peter and Althea, followed behind, making sure everyone was okay. The afternoon ended with 7 of the campers racing either the short or long course, while the others cheered them on.

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The camp schedule consisted of two days at Great Glen, camping at the Caddidlehopper Station, and riding the roads and single track, practicing mountain bike and mechanical skills. Wednesday, the campers headed to Moose Brook State Park to try out their single track. That night, they camped at Covered Bridge Campground on the Kanc. Thursday, the riders rode in Conway, exploring “Sticks and Stones”, the Eastside Trails, and the Moat trail system. By Friday, those campers had sampled almost all the mountain biking the area had to offer and learned a few things about riding. And, yes, they had fun, too.

South of here, in New Boston, NH there’s another bike camp, Riverview Bicycle Camp. In its second year, this day camp (8a.m.-4p.m.) is “designed for kids with an interest in bike riding of all types. RVBC provides a balance of bicycle riding with traditional summer camp experience.” Campers age 7-16 can ride road, mountain, or BMX bikes. Riders practice their skills in an indoor arena, or on a pumptrack, rail trail, race course, or single track. In addition to riding skills, campers learn safe bike handling, bike maintenance, trail work and pumptrack design. There are two summer sessions – July 29-August 2, and August 5-9, for a cost of $300 for one week and $500 for two. There are sibling discounts, loaner bikes, and scholarships, too. Staff Members include veteran coaches, life long cyclists, and University of New Hampshire Cycling team members. Go to www.riverviewbicyclecamp.com to check it out.

West of the Valley, in Bradford, Vermont, Coyote Hill Mountain Bike Camp has adult and youth camps. They run two kids’ day camps (ages 8-12) – one in Hanover, and one at Abel Mountain. At Coyote Hill Youth overnight camps (ages 12-18), campers “learn bicycle mechanics, practice skills on the slalom course, and help build trails.” Trail riders and downhillers can find sessions that suit them. Check them out at: www.coyotehillcamp.com.

It’s summer – time to go to camp and ride!

Reminder: Local Family racing options:

Great Glen Summer Mountain Bike Series- Tuesdays, July 9-August 27, 3:30-7

Red Jersey Summer Series-Thursdays, July 18-August 1, race at 6.

Published in the Mountain Ear by Sally McMurdo

 

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