Sunday, September 10, 2006

Northeast Kingdom

Spent the weekend in northern Vermont with the French-Canadians (Okay, actually rode with a bunch from Southern Maine. The French Canadians were there but we didn't get to ride with them). Our posse included Sean (NJ), Brian (ME), Bryan (ME) and Bruce (CT) along with myself and Omega (he was the campsite terror / adorable Husky). We went up to the Northeast Kingdom to ride the trail network commonly known as 'Kingdom Trails'. Took Sean and I just over 3hours to get up there Saturday morning from Hartford.

What can I say? This place definitely lives up to its reputation. Its all nice cross country singletrack that ranges from mellow to tight and pretty technical. Lots of roots in sections but I didn't see many rocks or trees to hop over. As with all areas of Vermont.. Good climbing! The trails are also very well maintained. There are some supposedly good 'freeride' trails but we never graced them with our appearance. Where is this place you ask? Right in East Burke VT at the base of Burke Mountain ski resort. Waay up I91 very close to the Canadian border (and not that far away from Jay Peak ski resort. mmm. Jay. I miss the fresh powder there). There's a nice campsite about 1/4 up Burke Mtn that we stayed at (it was full of French Canadians). The catch with the campsite is you've got an uphill climb for 2miles from the center of town. Its a bit far for day trips (then again I've driven the 3hours to ride Killington for the day) but great for a nice weekend trip. Get up there Friday night. Camp and Ride for two days.

Saturday afternoon we got a nice ride in with Brian, Bruce Sean and I. Bryan had family obligations to attend to while we did more climbing than descending. Sean and I were rocking the singlespeeds whereas everyone else had geared bikes. Omega was hanging out keeping watch of the campsite while we rode (more like sleeping in my car). We managed to pick the wrong combination of trails and did more climbing than descending which made for a somewhat upsetting afternoon. Then to top it all off we had a 2mile climb back to the campsite. Halfway to the campsite the rain swept in. It poured hard the whole ride back. Then we got to stand underneath Brian's 30year old tarp that was stretched over the picnic table while we watched the rain come down (and while I froze).

Shortly thereafter the rain subsided and it was business as usual. Bruce had to take off. Brian Sean and I had some good burgers at probably 1 of 2 only restaurants in town. Then went back to camp to build a nice bonfire with the Eagle Scout skills Sean and I contain. yeah, we got a fire going with wet wood. It was fun and cold (probably dipped into the lower 40s at night).

Sunday: awoke to 49ish degree weather and clear skies. Had some oatmeal and good pancakes courtesy of Brian Phillips (I think he's trying to compete against Tara). I ran to the bike shop to miracously (sp?) find a set of Hayes El Camino disc brake pads for my rear brake. Then we met up with some other Southern Maine bikers the two Brians know (Greg, Steve, Clem, Gail?, Troy Michaud and the Northeast Gary Fisher rep). Troy and the Fisher rep were rocking Fisher's 29" Rig SS with some awesome Bontrager carbon rigid forks. Got a nice couple of hours ride in with them. The weather was beautiful (high 50s / low 60s and blue skies). We also found all the best trails. Nice rolling terrain and some awesome technical downhills where Bruce would have had a blast (maybe next time, Bruce). This was the highlight of the weekend.

Right before we broke for lunch I stood up to ride this relatively easy climb and then, bam! I tweaked a muscle and nerve in my lower back. It was pretty amazing even though I basically f'd myself for who knows how long. Out of nowhere you go from feeling great to this sharp pain running through your lower back. It f'n hurts but I managed to climb back to the campsite.

Lunchtime. Rode back up the mountain to the campsite to eat and find my pain killers for my back. The rest of the Southern Maine crew arrived shortly thereafter and we did a relatively short loop up Burke Mtn on the ski resort. It was a nice windy, rooty singletrack that climbed up to 3/4 from the top (and wasn't that hard to ride on the SS). Then we did some traversing and eventually came down this awesome singletrack downhill that put us out at the base lodge. Back to camp and it was time to pack up and head home.

All in all, a great weekend and my legs felt great the whole time albeit they're a bit sore right now. A good precursor for the Vermont 50. We'll see how I do against Troy. He won it the other year on a SS (4hrs and 30something mins). Here's a photo I snapped while we were driving home on I91. Its so beautiful way up north of route 89.


Blogger skullhead said...

The Kingdom Trails....yeah! That place rocks! My Dad lives about a 1/2 mile past the access road for Burke. The trails there are so rad! Sounds like you had a great time!

9/19/2006 8:49 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home