This past weekend, I headed back home for the Memorial Day holiday to celebrate Nana Voss’ 90th Birthday. 90 years is an amazing feat and I hope to one day achieve that milestone. Family and friends flew in from all over the country to wish Nana a surprise happy birthday and was Nana ever surprised. The party was held at a restaurant in Plymouth called the 14 Union which was also the same location for the east coast rendition of Justin and Becca’s engagement party. The restaurant sits on Plymouth Harbor looking out to the beach and the breakwater. I think Nana had quite the birthday and is probably still in awe over the whole day. There were folks from the old days of Voss City in attendance and plenty of other people that somehow knew me, though I had not even a vague recollection of them. I met some of my second cousins and first cousins I haven’t seen in who knows how many years. Certainly a great way to catch up with family while celebrating Nana’s 90th.
Aside from the party I was also able to check out Jill’s new digs in Brookline. Not a bad first apartment post college and definitely better than trusting your day to the MBTA commuter rail. My flight arrived late on Thursday night and I crashed at Jill’s place. Friday morning was spent grabbing breakfast with my friend Amy and then cruising around downtown Boston before meeting up with Jill and Auntie Carol for lunch. I felt as much of a tourist as I’ll ever be and I even walked a portion of the Freedom Trail. Later on Dad picked Jill and I up and we headed over to a great bike shop in Newton called Fast Splits. My buddy Brian is one of the owners of the shop and he loaned me a bike to use over the weekend. I guess I can’t go too long without throwing my leg over some sort of a two wheeled transportation device.
So after borrowing the bike I did only get one ride in, but it was one heck of a solid ride. From my parents house I usually will toss the bike in the car, drive to the trailhead, and then ride. I did my ride a little different this time around and rode from the house to the trailhead in the Pine Hills of Plymouth. The last time I recall riding these trails was shortly after 9/11 and amazingly I still knew my way around. Before hitting the singletrack I spoke with two guys that were just finishing their ride. They informed me that just recently the trails in the Pine Hills were written up in Dirt Rag magazine. Dirt Rag is the last remaining independent mountain bike magazine and it is quite the distinction to get press from them. Apparently the trails are now officially called Pine Hills East, though there are still no trail markings or signs, so hopefully PHE will continue to be a secret. I rode for a good 2 hours on the trails, blasting singletrack mile after mile. Unlike Colorado this trail is entirely singletrack that is just wide enough for a bike to pass. The terrain is also quite different than Colorado with plenty of roots, rocks, and more roots and rocks. I breathed in the fresh sea level air with the rich scents of the dense east coast underbrush. Sometimes I forget just how lush forest land is on the east coast. A soak from the night before left the trails tacky and a quick sun shower while riding gave that smell of fresh spring rain. The other part of riding on the east coast that I completely neglected (err…forgot) was the need for bug repellant. Holy crap! I thought I was going to be flown away by the swarms of mosquitos I encountered. I guess that was the best motivator to ride fast or risk dime size welts all over my body. When the ride ended I logged 31 miles of which 16 were on pavement getting to and from the trail.
Pine Hills East is still just as much fun as I left it almost 8 years ago. All of the main trails that I used to cruise are in tact and better than ever. The local riders have definitely put in some sweat hours to keep the trails from being overgrown by the underbrush. Probably the most impressive additions to the trails were all the terrain park features throughout the network. I came across many jumps, bridges, and even a wall ride that I somewhat attempted. The Pine Hills almost looked like British Columbia for a split second! Now I think I’m going to have to do some research and find the Dirt Rag write up on the trails.