By Henry van den Broek
Published 04/25/2024; Updated 04/25/2024

TL;DR: 4 riders: 19.8 miles, 2562ft of climbing, unpaved 42%. steepest grade 13.7% route

We could not have asked for better weather for the inaugural NCC Hilltown Gravel ride. It was a cool, sunny April evening in Conway, which was this week’s starting location. With four participants, who signed up through the LinkMyRide app, gathering at the ballpark in Conway, it was a solid start for a new ride. We left promptly at 5:30 PM and, after a short warmup on Emerson Gravel, we hit the steep, freshly paved climb up Pine Hill. Just after watching the view of Mt. Monadnock disappearing over our right shoulder, we encountered the serious gravel of Pine Hill. Although there are seldom cars on Pine Hill, today we were passed twice by the same car. Here, Pamela turned around, as she was still feeling the effects of her 50-mile ride through Chestfield Gorge earlier in the day. John, Eric, and I had fun on a sometimes rutty and tricky descent and then turned left toward Ashfield.

We hit another section of gravel on Pfersick, before turning left again on Baptist Corner Rd. Ignoring the temptations of Phillips and Bear River Rd (we’ll leave these for a future route), we continued and saw the EdgeHill Barn on our left, where Massochistah will start this upcoming Saturday. We then took a sharp left onto Bellus for more gravel and had a quick stop at the power lines to enjoy the view. Flying down a windy, steep descent—first gravel, then turning into an even steeper paved section—we followed Murray Rd, first climbing and then descending all the way to Rt. 116, which we crossed to climb up to Bullit. The gravel descent down Bullit Rd was interesting with parts washed away.

We were then left with the last big gravel climb of the day on Main Poland rd. The road is open again for traffic, as it had been closed for months after last year’s record-breaking rainfall in Conway. The bottom asphalt section had been freshly repaved as well. Back in Conway, we crossed the covered bridge and, via Ives Rd and some bonus gravel on Upper Baptist Rd, we crossed Rt. 116 again. Via Pleasant St, we made a quick stop at Conway’s latest attraction along Academy Rd, the Stupa (really a mix of a totem and a stupa), and finished the ride off with the little path along the town hall.

 

Next week’s NCC Hilltown Gravel route will start again in Conway and amongst others will include Roaring brook rd. Sign up with linkmyride instructions can be found at  https://www.nohobikeclub.org/link-my-ride/