Went tent campin for the last time this year this past weekend in NH and hit up Bear Brook with Taylor Clark and Anthony Catauro from Clark Bros Racing, and Ken Avery from Geax (sporting a prototype tire on his Transition Bandit 27.5). Lots of nerdy tire, bike, and racer talking on this ride. My bike geek meter was delightfully overloading. We got in a bunch of fast miles too, of course.
The trails were not what I expected. It being NH, I was expecting lots of climbing and more rocks (especially knowing that Taylor is very skilled in the rough stuff and has to ride rocks somewhere - it ain't at Bear Brook I guess). The trails at BB are pretty well groomed, and the climbs weren't thigh-busting - you definitely gained el, but in thoughtful switchbacks.
Bear Brook is a dragstrip. Very fast. Some real grin-inducing sections that ride great both ways. It reminded me quite a bit of Nickerson State Park in a lot of places - similar fast trails carved in the hillsides (with lots of downed trees - tho from logging in Bear Brook as opposed to winter storms in Nick). Bear Brook's trails tend to go for longer, though, as the area covers like 10,000 acres, which is more than 5x the area of Nickerson and 10x the area of TOT.
Something dawned on me while riding here and comparing it to the many places I've ridden. While Cape Cod doesn't have the elevation, some of our climbs are just as hard, maybe harder, if a bit shorter. Part of that is that some of our trails, especially where we train a lot in Sandwich, are mx trails. Mxers can climb ridiculously steep, rutted out trails. Mtbikers have a limit on what makes sense as far as pitch and looseness of climbs go. But we train there anyway. Roger Wharton didn't call them his "heartbreakers" for nothing. I'd even go as far as to say that some of the climbs where we train in Pine Hills (over the bridge in So. Plymouth) are among the hardest I've done anywhere because they're long (relatively speaking..5 mins) and straight up the hillside.
Bear Brook is also super popular. Tons of riders and lots of racer kits and bikes, whole teams even. Again reflecting on living on a peninsula - there are 3 MTB race teams here, and we often split up geographically between the 3 riding areas (Corner at Otis, Sea Sports at TOT, CCMTB at Nickerson).
So overall a really fun ride. Assuming we'll camp in Auburn NH again next year (if the campground can get rid of some of the riffraff), I think I'll probably hit up FOMBA again. There's not a ton there, but with bike mileage to and fro, I could get in a solid 30. And what I rode and FOMBA wasn't fast n flowy, but it made up for it in rocks everywhere, something we have to go lookin for down here in paradise.