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  1. #1
    Keep calm, Cycle on Panza's Avatar
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    Best climbs in MA/NH?

    I was trying to research some of the best climbs in New England only to find in disappointment that some roads are only open to cyclists once a year on closed races. What are some of the best climbs you can think of (in the New Hampshire / Massachusetts area) which are open all year round to cyclists? : ) I want to conquer everything that our tiny region has to offer.
    I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    I don't know if it's the "best" climb but E. Burke mountain is a bear of a climb and a bear of a descent.

    Here's a useful source for getting your heart rate up and up and up,

    Northeastcycling.com - Mountain Climbs over 1000ft

  3. #3
    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    Two are Mt Wachusett in Massachusetts and Pack Monadnock in Southern NH. Both are ~1000' to around 2000' elevation, so not high. Wachusett is not especially steep but if you ride to it from low ground (I used to start at sea level in Cambridge) you've done some work. Pack Monadnock is tough. I don't know the grade but maybe 12% average and much steeper at the top. You could start from the west side and ride up Highway 101 from Peterborough and do that 1000' for warm-up. (Drive it first and check out the traffic and shoulder. I rode it once, down and 40 years ago. It was OMG fast!) Pack Monadnock starts right at the top of the 101 pass.

    Edit: don't let that table of New England climbs fool you. It shows Pac Monadnock as starting at Wilton. Wilton to the high point of 101 is 10 miles and very gentle. The last two miles are as tough as the fist part is gentle. (And take the notes on steep, switchbacks and frost heaces seriously. The descent wasn't fun.

    Ben
    Last edited by 79pmooney; 04-27-15 at 09:46 AM.

  4. #4
    Keep calm, Cycle on Panza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
    Two are Mt Wachusett in Massachusetts and Pac Monadnock in Southern NH. Both are ~1000' to around 2000' elevation, so not high. Wachusett is not especially steep but if you ride to it from low ground (I used to start at sea level in Cambridge) you've done some work. Pac Monadnock is tough. I don't know the grade but maybe 12% average and much steeper at the top. You could start from the west side and ride up Highway 101 from Peterborough and do that 1000' for warm-up. (Drive it first and check out the traffic and shoulder. I rode it once, down and 40 years ago. It was OMG fast!) Pac Monadnock starts right at the top of the 101 pass.

    Ben
    I've gone skiing down Wachusett but was unaware that you could cycle up it? They have a paved road which rises to the top?

    Thanks for the tip about driving up Pack Monadock first, it's on my list of places to try!
    I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.

  5. #5
    Keep calm, Cycle on Panza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    I don't know if it's the "best" climb but E. Burke mountain is a bear of a climb and a bear of a descent.

    Here's a useful source for getting your heart rate up and up and up,

    Northeastcycling.com - Mountain Climbs over 1000ft
    I wasn't intending on tackling E. Burke, but I added it on my weekend attack list just because you recommended it.

    Last year I incorporated Mt. Kearsarge as part of my century -- it wasn't the best idea in harsh rain! So I'll definitely be driving to these locations instead of starting from home.
    I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.

  6. #6
    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panza View Post
    I've gone skiing down Wachusett but was unaware that you could cycle up it? They have a paved road which rises to the top?

    Thanks for the tip about driving up Pack Monadock first, it's on my list of places to try!
    It's been 40 years but I rode the road up Wachusett many times as a racer. There's a weather observatory at the top. The road was wide and well paved back then. There's also a large, flat rock that we used to sit on and eat lunch and sunbath. Not far from the parking lot/end of the road and just below the observatory (so keep you clothes on).

    Ben

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    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Why not go for the highest points in each state? ....... some tough hills!

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  8. #8
    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panza View Post
    I wasn't intending on tackling E. Burke, but I added it on my weekend attack list just because you recommended it.

    Last year I incorporated Mt. Kearsarge as part of my century -- it wasn't the best idea in harsh rain! So I'll definitely be driving to these locations instead of starting from home.
    I did Pack Monadnock on a whim, doing a 150 mile rode out of Cambridge. (But I got lost coming into NH and added an unplanned 25 miles.) So at mile ~90 I rode up in a 42-19. That was the old days. I was a bike racer. 5 cogs. Close spacing, that's what you get. I did walk the last 100' or so, mostly because a family in their car followed me all the way up. I looked at the finale and knew it was going to be slow! I walked so they could get to their picnic. That was one lonnggg!! day.

    Ben

  9. #9
    Keep calm, Cycle on Panza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Why not go for the highest points in each state? ....... some tough hills!
    Wish I could! America is more car accessible than cycle accessible though : )
    I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.

  10. #10
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    Here's a good one we did on our tandem.
    Finlay's Mountain Adventure with County rd option - A bike ride in Fairlee, VT
    The first climb is about 2000 ft vert from Warren up Rt 118 followed by another 1000 up route 112 around Mt Moosilauke.


    Another good one is the Kanc.
    Or Mount Washington if you want to get in on one of the 2 days organized ride go up it each year as you mentioned, about $300 entry fee though.

  11. #11
    Keep on climbing
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    Yes, there is a paved road to the top of Mt. Wachusett -- you wind up slightly higher than the ski lifts take you. The road is a ski trail (or at least parts of it are); I'm not sure when it reopens. Probably is open by now though.

    Other good climbs... Mt. Greylock, especially from the North Adams side, will most definitely get your attention. Kind of a haul to get out there though.

    Wachusett is by far the biggest climb in central Massachusetts, but there is no shortage of short, steep rolling hills around here. The Quabbin Century in early June hits its fair share of hills through central Mass.

    Hurricane Mountain Road is often listed as one of the steepest roads anywhere. That's up in the White Mountains, between North Conway and Maine. You can do a nice loop over Hurricane Mountain Road, Pinkham Notch (harder going south to north) and Evans Notch. There are other good climbs in the White Mountains -- Kancamagus Highway, Bear Notch, Crawford Notch, etc.
    "There is more to life than increasing its speed" -- Mahatma Gandhi

  12. #12
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    There are almost too many great climbs in MA and NH to list here. But certainly the loop around the Kancamangus Highway gives you some great climbs and vistas. In Massachusetts Mt. Greylock gives you two options a longer, not quite as steep, Southern option and a steeper, shorter Northern route.

    But for putting it all together nothing quite compares to the splendid genius of the D2R2, a dirt road ramble with spectacular climbs and stunningly gorgeous New England scenery. For a real treat and challenge do the 112 mile ride you wont forget it.


    D2R2 | Franklin Land Trust

  13. #13
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    There are almost too many great climbs in MA and NH to list here. But certainly the loop around the Kancamangus Highway gives you some great climbs and vistas. In Massachusetts Mt. Greylock gives you two options a longer, not quite as steep, Southern option and a steeper, shorter Northern route.

    But for putting it all together nothing quite compares to the splendid genius of the D2R2, a dirt road ramble with spectacular climbs and stunningly gorgeous New England scenery. For a real treat and challenge do the 112 mile ride you wont forget it.


    D2R2 | Franklin Land Trust
    This is such a great idea for a challenging ride.

  14. #14
    Keep calm, Cycle on Panza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    This is such a great idea for a challenging ride.
    +1 This looks like it's a great excuse to make an epic climb on the cross bike.
    I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.

  15. #15
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panza View Post
    +1 This looks like it's a great excuse to make an epic climb on the cross bike.
    I haven't done D2R2, but it's just phenomenally beautiful out there. There are also a lot of other similar rides cropping up every year -- the Kearsarge Klassic is the weekend after d2r2 (it is not as hilly as d2r2 but it ain't flat), as is a New England Randonneurs non-fundraiser (i.e. cheap-and-unsupported) super-hilly 200k with some dirt: Vermont Goose Green 200k ? Aug 29th, 2015 | New England Randonneurs Though that's Vermont, not MA/NH.

    I will join everyone in saying the Wachusett climb is a fun ride out from the Boston area (or from anywhere in eastern/central MA or southern NH -- if you're trying to get to climbs by bike and are in northern NH head to the Whites). Any nice way out to the start from the east has to climb a lot before you get there, although the actual climb itself is not THAT bad. (I had to walk some of it, but I am a wretched climber.)

  16. #16
    Keep calm, Cycle on Panza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimonysarah View Post
    I will join everyone in saying the Wachusett climb is a fun ride out from the Boston area (or from anywhere in eastern/central MA or southern NH -- if you're trying to get to climbs by bike and are in northern NH head to the Whites). Any nice way out to the start from the east has to climb a lot before you get there, although the actual climb itself is not THAT bad. (I had to walk some of it, but I am a wretched climber.)
    Do I have to pay a fee to go up wachusett mountain or can I just pedal from home climb and return?
    I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.

  17. #17
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panza View Post
    Do I have to pay a fee to go up wachusett mountain or can I just pedal from home climb and return?
    Totally free.

  18. #18
    Keep calm, Cycle on Panza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimonysarah View Post
    Totally free.
    Now I want to skip my family member's wedding down in CT. ... but Foxwood's ...
    I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.

  19. #19
    Senior Member gabedad's Avatar
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    here's a good ride for you

    Pain In The Mass Tour

  20. #20
    Keep calm, Cycle on Panza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gabedad View Post
    here's a good ride for you

    Pain In The Mass Tour
    I laughed when I read this haha . I wish I could but I'll be in Toronto on vacation that weekend : )
    I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.

  21. #21
    Keep calm, Cycle on Panza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
    Yes, there is a paved road to the top of Mt. Wachusett -- you wind up slightly higher than the ski lifts take you. The road is a ski trail (or at least parts of it are); I'm not sure when it reopens. Probably is open by now though.

    Other good climbs... Mt. Greylock, especially from the North Adams side, will most definitely get your attention. Kind of a haul to get out there though.

    Wachusett is by far the biggest climb in central Massachusetts, but there is no shortage of short, steep rolling hills around here. The Quabbin Century in early June hits its fair share of hills through central Mass.

    Hurricane Mountain Road is often listed as one of the steepest roads anywhere. That's up in the White Mountains, between North Conway and Maine. You can do a nice loop over Hurricane Mountain Road, Pinkham Notch (harder going south to north) and Evans Notch. There are other good climbs in the White Mountains -- Kancamagus Highway, Bear Notch, Crawford Notch, etc.
    There seems to be so many enjoyable climbs in the mountains that I don't know where to begin, haha.
    I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.

  22. #22
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    Wachusett is a great one when you want just a short trip. You can be up and down the road in the park itself in a little over half an hour. It takes me longer to drive to the park than it does to do the ascent and descent

    As noted above the climb gets longer/harder if you come up from Princeton center. Doing a loop around the park including the ride in the park itself is a good workout, it's found in most books of central MA rides.

    Greylock is the highest peak in MA, the summit has a transplanted lighthouse and a lodge (overnight accommodations available). Doing a loop around the base and then up and over is a good challenge. There's some sections of cliff-edge roadway if you like that sort of thing Again, rides are found in many books.

  23. #23
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    I can't really add anything here. I used to stay in North Conway and ride the area. I liked the Bear Notch loop ride.
    It's not hard, but it's very nice, and I didn't notice others mentioning it. While you can't bike up the Mt Washington road, you won't want to after climbing to Pinkham Notch. They serve food and drink there, so it's also a good place to stop.

    You didn't mention Maine, but I've heard we have a couple hills around here. There is a series of glacial hills on the road from Brooks to Camden; makes for a good ride.
    It's a little too late to do the right thing now.

  24. #24
    Keep calm, Cycle on Panza's Avatar
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    First night back on the bike was last night and I'm sluggish! I twisted my ankle and took a full week off of hard activity. I'll be training gradually to get back into shape. This weekend or next weekend I'll tackle Wawa : ) (It's so close by and seems the easiest of the bunch).

    I think ME is going to be a bit further on the list until I exhaust my closer options : )
    I'm not slow, I'm just enjoying the race longer.

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    Mt Greylock, Pittsfield MA.

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