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Wrap, ride and reward, by Marty Basch
 Article List
• My winter vacation
• Phil Gaimon wins 2008 Mt. Washington Hillclimb
• Biking brothers in law charge around the Whites
• Overendís ready for a Granite State nickname
• Maineís Islesboro is a seaside bicycle adventure
• Quietly cycling Connecticutís northeastís corner
• That "new bike fit"
• Cyclocross - Best way to enjoy it, watch it.
• The next step in personal training?
• What goes up, goes down along Virginiaís Skyline Drive
• Hillclimbs, heaven or hell?
• Acadiaís bikeways beckon
• Where Cycling Is Taken Seriously
• Crusing along Lake Winnipesaukee by bike and boat
• Crank That Kanc
• Wrap, ride and reward
• A Clean Sweep
A wrap is something with turkey or hummus. Rap is Eminem or Everlast. But a body wrap? The things we do for love.

I wanted to ride. She wanted a wrap. I offered turkey. She called me one. She had a rosemary mint body wrap in mind.

And she wasnít kidding.

So we combined the two for a wrap, ride and reward weekend.

The Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa in Whitefield, New Hampshire was base. High on a hill overlooking a crescent of mountain ranges, the Tower Spa is what she wanted. I was content cycling a couple of moderate loops out of Whitefield: a 30 mile rolling circuit to the east with a dazzling slice down Route 115A with its half moon alpine vistas and a 24 mile spin to the west along the Connecticut River with high corn fields and thick squash showing colors.

Prior to the bike ride, it was wrap time. Instead of caffeine to jolt me into the saddle and cranking some screaming tunes, there was lemon-flavored water and soothing New Age music in the background. Clad only in robes and slippers, we were led into a room with two tables and two massage therapists.

Letís just say it was estrogen three, testosterone one.

Five minutes with a loofah rubbed over my body and the melting had begun. Peppermint oil and a rosemary mint body lotion followed as skilled hands - remember, this was her idea - relaxed the body. Hot towels came and then the wrap. We were happy burritos about to roll.

Unfurled and sent packing to change into riding clothes, it was the tastiest I had ever smelled before heading out on a ride though I felt like wiggly mint jello.

Mountain View Grand and Jan.
The plan was to ride about 30 miles using Routes 116, 2, 115A, 115 and 3. The northern White Mountains, where it comes together with Great North Woods, is a collection of mountains, forests and farms. It is where cows watch the cyclists go by and farmers ride slow-moving tractors while smoking pipes. Farm stands outnumber mom and pop stores on the backroads. The hills are big and daunting while mountain ranges like the Pliny with Waumbeck and Starr King play second fiddle to the mighty Presidentials with Jefferson and Washington. Riding into the face of Starr King and Waumbeck on Route 116, Route 2 was the quick link to 115A south, a jewel of a backroad. The long downhill flowed over the Israel River and out to a dairy farm with a half ring of mountains in the distance and by a home outfitted from a caboose.

The huge hills returned on Route 115 and the rains came on Route 3 in Twin Mountain by the state fish hatchery with its swelling trout. The Whitefield gazebo kept the bikes dry before conquering the last hill up Route 3 and back to the hotel.

Then it was reward time. The spa beckoned and so did those robes and slippers. A wooden Japanese style Ofuro tub placed in a tower was the destination. As the warming jets pulsed welcome relief to our tired muscles, over fifty mountain peaks from Lafayette to Washington (okay, move to the right of the pillar and sink down in the tub to see the rockpile) were on display. The towering tub is a unique vantage point over the White Mountain landscape. Also, itís possible to add a couple of full moons to the scenery if desired.

Back to coffee the next day, we rolled out into the morning fog for a loop up Route 3 to Lancaster, over to 135 south and then along Route 142 to a crossroad (Hall Road) and back to the hotel. Up a shoulder of Prospect Mountain we grunted on 3, resting by the entrance to Weeks State Park, waiting for imaginary massage therapists who never materialized.

An exhilarating downhill led to Lancaster and Route 135, a mellow stint which soon followed the Connecticut River. Handsome weather-beaten barns shared space with farms that had seen better days. The traffic was so light a pregnant woman and daughter walked abreast while pushing strollers. The Lancaster-Lunenburg covered bridge was a pleasant backdrop with a nice surprise of a spring on the Vermont side. But New Hampshire beckoned and we returned to ride along the waters of the Connecticut. Route 142 took us away from the river and into the hills before we got a taste of a dirt road - Hall Road - that took us up to Route 3 and back to the hotel. The reward this time was a job well done. And a turkey wrap for two by riverís edge.

Marty Basch is the author of several books including the new ìTwenty-nine Hills,î a tasty tale about mountain biking the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from Canada to Mexico. He lives in the White Mountains.
by Marty Basch


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