Sunday, October 2, 2016

Kingdom Trails, Vermont

Small World Story - first day riding on the Kingdom Trails in NE Vermont our crew stopped on an obscure little trail to check our map. We met 4 other riders and started to chat. Turns out, three were from St Pete, two were SWAMPers, and one had recently complete my introduction to mountain biking class. All this on a Monday in nowhere Vermont. 

This is our lodging, an old diary barn rebuilt as an eight bedroom lodge.
Very unique and spacious.

Our first morning started at 31°, but by mid afternoon it was 64°. Perfect weather for riding. The trails were tacky, providing great traction. The trails here were steep, twisty and root covered. We will be here for a week, riding a different trail system every day. Kingdom has over 100 miles of singletrack.

High speed drop onto a bridge.

Bob on one of the many high speed berms.

We started day 2 by riding thru a working farm with cows, horses, goats and at least one donkey. What is interesting about this trail system is that it crosses 50 sections of private land. The property owners realized that opening their land to bikers was very good for the local economy. The town of East Burke has visually benefitted from the biking community with new restaurants and rental lodges opening in support of the cyclists.

a century old barn

a working farm provided access to our trails




The older trails are hand built and more technical than the newer machine built trails.
Fortunately, there are enough trails of both variety to make most any rider happy.

Marty, Bob and one of the tour company owners, Alex, are getting ready to dig into our
lunch quiche. The meals have been healthy and very tasty, and totally home made.
Looks like I will be putting on a few pounds this week.

This guy was perhaps the most friendly chipmunk I have ever met, not at all shy.
 I don't doubt he would have stuck around for as long as we fed him snacks.

And the great trails just keep coming. Today we rode at the Stowe Ski Resort, which has some wonderful trails. A little flow, some old school hand cut, and one climb that I never fully recovered from. It was a contest to see which gave out first, my legs or my lungs. Fortunately, this old bod held together and we completed a respectable climb without self destructing. 






We have had some lovely sunsets, followed by the darkest skies full off stars. Every night I have gone outside to look at the Milky Way. In Tampa, I can see the moon and maybe half a dozen stars. Up here, the sky is full of bright stars, planets, a galaxy or two, and a horizon to horizon view of the Milky Way. I doubt there is anyplace in Florida with skies this black, so the night views are a real treat.






When we arrived, the trees were green. As we leave the mountains, color is everywhere.