Destination ride venue? Absolutely, but maybe not from Boston. I'm helping with a ski clinic in Rochester this weekend, so decided to play hooky today and come home early, specifically so that I could ride at Dryer. Any time a park is designed by mountain bikers for mountain bikers, you know its going to be good, and Dryer is no exception. Of course, if we made a list of things I don't like/suck at on a mountain bike, it would start with 1. Corners, and 2. Scary logs with drops after them. It seems that Dryer has a lot of scary logs with drops after them, and a whole lot of corners, given that its something like 10 miles of singletrack packed into someone's backyard. I still love the place, though.
I always start with some of the swoopy smooth fast blue trails (they have them marked like ski slopes, I don't know if this is normal but I appreciate it), just to get into the flow of things. Thom tried to explain to me how to corner, and the idea of diagonal weighting, sending force through the outside pedal and the inside hand, was making a lot of physical sense. I was feeling completely comfortable on my bike, which is the best feeling ever. My favorite trail there is ribbon candy, its like a half pipe, making the corners considerably less difficult, with no scary drops even though its marked as a black. I don't want to say I like it because its easy, but... well... I guess thats why I like it. It makes me feel badass.
Once you've hit up all the smooth blues and blacks, its time to take owls nest (seriously, its like a mile of swooping around a hillside to go 200m... they know how to use the space they've got) over to the "fun" trails. These are the ones with little warnings and descriptions on the trail signs - "CMP: steep, fast, big drops and tight turns, if you have any doubts turn back now". It sort of becomes a hill workout at this point, because all the good trails are going down the hill (the park is basically on a plateau-ish hill, with trails falling down all the sides and coming back up, with one or two initial ways up), so to get back to the top you have to go up a hill. There are a couple different trails up, one of them I have trouble cleaning consistently so naturally thats the one I gravitate to. Its all singletrack, and its all fun enough that you don't really notice that you're going uphill.
One trail I really enjoyed the first time was Humpty Dumpty, it had a steep drop (also on that list of things I suck at), a short hill and then another steep drop into a corner. The first time down, I mostly rode my brakes, but I was super proud of myself for riding it, since last time I was here I wussed out. After I'd ridden all the trails, I decided to come back and do my favorite ones again, and just as I was starting to think it was time to go eat lunch I figured I'd do Humpty Dumpty again. I went down the first drop, and mentally patted myself on the back for not riding my brakes. Of course this meant that my momentum carried me over the little hill and into the second drop, but I was feeling invincible so didn't scrub the speed. Of course, it ends in a corner, and my all-too-frequent reaction to corners is to just go straight until something stops me. This is a problem when going straight involves flipping over a retaining wall and down a cliff... whoops.
So then I went home. But it was so much fun I'm plotting for when I can get back there this weekend! Totally different riding than that rocky rutted double-track crap that we see in New England...