The Bear Brooke Classic is back for its 5th edition in October 2021. The event takes place in the beautiful Bear Brooke State park in Allenstown New Hampshire which offers many miles of well-maintained mountain bike single track. The Bear Brooke Classic is formatted closely to a US Cycling sanctioned event with multiple event categories from category 3 to pro. A great feature of the Classic is the inclusivity for kids as well as the adult racers with a short one-lap race for girls and boys under the age of twelve which is free with medals for both genders. Now for everyone else; the ‘Cat 3’ grouping will race 10 miles and there are 9 total individual categories within each main category (cat 1, 2, 3) which offers medals and prizes for different age and gender classifications. Category 2 boats 20 miles of racing and Category 1, or pro, also race 20 miles but there are multiple cash prizes for the top racers in certain categories. Beyond the cross country and kids races, there is also a marathon/endurance race which is a whopping 40 miles of leg pumping single track. To top off the wide array of race types and categories there is also a checky 20-mile fat bike race over the same course. All races follow the same course for simplicity’s sake which is unknown at the moment but ranges from 6-10 miles at the time of race day. The Bear Brooke Classic is a premier mountain bike event in New Hampshire and the Northeast as a whole.
The 24 Hours of Great Glenn has turned into one of America’s top Endurance mountain bike events. After a five year hiatus, the 24 hour race is back and coming back swinging. With their typical race categories for a 24 hour race, see the solo category (for the true endurance psychos) and the typical, 2, 3, 4, and 5 person tag teams to share the weight. And as always with 24 hour mountain bike races, being a big enough cooler for all of the beer you are going to drink as you wait for your team members to finish their shift. New England’s top Mountain Bike event will “boast a celebration of mountain bike culture with camping and community, bike expo, friendly contests, costumes, music, and food trucks. Festivities also include the 24 Minutes of Great Glen for the kids which had over 80 participants in 2015.” With over 550 riders on course at a time and already sold out for 2020 summer in March, this is an event worth signing up for early and worth traveling a long distance for.
August 20, 2022 will be the 49th running of the Mt. Washington Auto Road Hill Climb which benefits the Tin Mountain Conservation Center. The “Auto” reference relates to the events association with the auto race that goes by the same name. Lest there be any doubt, they run on different dates and the cycling hill climb is all about peddle power. The event organizers bill the event as the hardest hill climb in the world. Whether or not that is true, at 7.6 miles and +4500 feet of elevation gain, it’s a beast of a climb. The average course gradient is 12% with extended sections of 18% and 22% at the very top.
Although the event is technically a race, it is open to anyone who feels they can do the climb. Naturally it takes solid preparation (there is a practice ride available on July 19) and a climbing (low) gear ratio is strongly recommended. You also need to keep a careful eye on the weather. Mt. Washington is known for some of the worst weather on earth and has the world record for non-tornadic winds speed at 231 MPH. August 16 is make-up day for the race in the event there is a weather problem on the 15th.
This event is very special for several other reasons. First, because it’s a private road, there are only a handful of times a year bicycles are allowed on the private Mt. Washington Auto Road. Second, the post race meal is a full Thanksgiving Turkey feast. Third, you can’t ride your bike down Mt Washington and must arrange for ride in, fittingly, in an auto! Finally, the surrounding Mt. Washington area is quintessential New Hampshire and along with the event festivities makes for a very unique, albeit challenging, weekend.