Outdoor adventures: Plenty springing for all enthusiasts

  • The 11th annual King Pine Tri and Duathlon comes to Purity Spring Resort in East Madison on June 3. KING PINE / Courtesy

For the Monitor
Saturday, April 22, 2017

As the snow melts, mud dries, birds chirp and awakened dormant muscles evoke strange sounds from the mouths of their hosts, it’s time to plan ahead and look at things anew. Northern New England has a wealth of challenging and fun events this spring for runners, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Mountain runners will be at Cranmore in North Conway on June 3-4 for the 15th USATF Mountain Running Championships. This will be the fifth time Cranmore has hosted the U.S. Mountain Running Championships. The races will start on June 3 with a 5K loop course on the mountain for those looking to try out mountain running. It will be followed by the men’s championship two-loop course. Then 90 minutes later, the women will run the same two-loop course. On Sunday, an uphill mountain race will be staged.

The 11th annual King Pine Tri and Duathlon is held at Purity Spring Resort in East Madison on June 3. The race has novices in mind as it begins with a ⅓-mile swim in Purity Lake, which tends to have early June temps in the low-60s. That’s followed by a 12.5-mile bike leg and a 3.1-mile run.

The Crank the Kanc, a 21-mile time trial up the east side of the sinuous Kancamagus Highway from Conway is always a quick sellout. But you can always get waitlisted because, well, you just never know. A fundraiser for the Kennett High School mountain bike team and presented by the Mount Washington Valley Bicycling Club, the race has a net elevation gain of 2,340 feet.

A combination of dirt bike ride and farm-to-table nourishment, the seventh annual Tour de Heifer in West Brattleboro, Vt., gets cyclists of all abilities on to slices of challenging backroad climbs. If hills are for you, the 60- and 30-mile spins have plenty of them, from steeps to shade to long-ranging farm vistas. If you aren’t into that much self-flagellation, try the moderate 15-mile course on gravel and pavement. Don’t ride? Do a family friendly three-mile roundtrip hike. Lilac Ridge Farm is base camp for the June 4 event.

The Vermont Epic on June 10 should not be taken lightly. It’s comprised of three races. The B2VT is a grueling 130-plus mile road ride from Bedford, Mass., to Ludlow, Vt., that challenges both physical and mental toughness. The VTMonster will try to crush you with its 70-mile course and 9,000 feet of vertical. The VT 40 is a bit kinder, a 20-mile spin with a 40-mile option from Okemo’s Jackson Gore Inn in Ludlow.

The Trek Across Maine, an American Lung Association fundraiser, is a three-day, 180-mile-long ride from the mountains of Sunday River to the sea in Belfast. It’s a big deal with more than 2,000 cyclists and 750 volunteers expected to take part in the event over Father’s Day Weekend on June 16-18. More than $22 million has been raised in some 30 years.

Let’s show some love to disc golf. On June 11, the U.S. Disc Golf Championship comes to Mount Sunapee, a doubles qualifier event for amateur doubles. The top amateur team will receive special trophy bag tags and will be eligible to register for the 2017 USDGC Doubles Main Event.

The Tough Mudder returns to Mount Snow for the seventh consecutive year June 24-25. The 10-mile, 20-obstacle course tests stamina, strength and fortitude. Kids have their own course.

New Hampshire’s Hike Safe Card is a smart, voluntary brand of outdoor insurance. Funds raised through sale of the hike safe cards go to Fish and Game’s Search and Rescue Fund. The cards are $25 per person or $35 for a family and are good through the calendar year. Last year, the department sold 4,169 cards, bringing in nearly $110,000. In 2016, Fish and Game conducted 245 search and rescue missions.

Head to Tuckerman Ravine, but as a hike. Certainly the skiing and snowboarding spring rite of passage to the massive cirque on Mount Washington’s eastern shoulder is a wonderful stage to witness athletic prowess and bouts of human stupidity. But it is also a great hike, whether it be the 3.1-miles to the bowl or just the 2.4-miles to Hojo’s (Hermit Lake Shelters), a fine destination and turnaround point. So spring ahead.