Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wild (and Wet) Kingdom!

I have a few minutes to tell you about the trip to Kingdom, Vermont over the long weekend. I am in the middle of unpacking from this trip and packing for a trip to Quebec City and Charlevoix region leaving tomorrow.

Despite all the concerns about rain and trail closures, Stef, Hannah, Melissa, Amelie and myself headed down to Burke. The North East Kingdom region has been getting as much rain as we have been getting here in Eastern Ontario. During a normal summer, Kingdom mountain bike trails are closed whenever it rains. However, because of the weather they've been experiencing, they have been forced to leave some trails open for fear of losing and entire summer's worth of business. The trails on Burke mountain were closed but most of the lower trails were open.

Fortunately, we were not camping, we had booked rooms at the Lyndon Lodge, about a 10 mins ride from the Welcome Centre in East Burke Village.

Stef, aka Zamboni, showing off his new shorts @ Lyndon Lodge

We arrived in Lyndon late Friday afternoon, Stef and Hannah had arrived in the morning and had already been out for a ride, a very wet ride complete with torrential downpour and water level higher than your bottom bracket.

Saturday started out with the traditional breakfast at Miss Lyndonville Diner. After breakfast, we headed directly to the Welcome Centre to plan out the day's route with the assistance of one of their very knowledgeable staff. We wanted the "least wet" route but fun and technical and we got it in spades!!

We rode some of our favourites including Leatherwood, sugar house, pines, widow maker, Old Web's and everyone's favourite Sidewinder. One trail I really enjoyed is Kitchel, a very fast flowy single track with some really nice berms. For the most part, the trails we were on were in good condition with some muddy sections here and there. The conditions were still pretty fast, so you had to be alert around some corners to keep your rear wheel from getting ahead of you.

All in all, day one was a great success- over 4hrs of riding, no rain and no mishaps.

Hannah did a great job navigating, we never got lost!

Beautiful view from Heaven's Bench

Post ride - all smiles!!

Post ride bike...

Day 2 - I forgot my camera, so no pics for that day. It had rained all night (motel was a great idea), so we went out for an afternoon ride. We rode from the Mountain View Inn farm and did (among others) Pound cake, cup cake, Coronary, Coronary bypass, Bog Meadow, fence line and then headed down to do some of the same trails as day one.

Once again, I was very impressed with the performance of my Kenda Smallblock 8s. Even when they looked like they were all plugged up with mud, they maintained outstanding grip in the slick and rooty stuff. I ran them at 30psi and had no issues. They are not supposed to be mud tires! Go figure!!

Other highlights, we found another great breakfast place about 1 minute from Miss Lyndonville. All organic food (the owners own an organic farm) and really, really good coffee!

Saturday was Melissa's birthday, we went to dinner at a really cool restaurant in St. Johnsbury called Elements, only about a 15mins drive from Burke and well worth it.

Hannah had a problem with her seat loosening. I "MacNabbed" it with a beer cap and it worked like a charm.

We ran into some boys from Pennsylvania at the Trout River Pizzeria/Brewery and saw them again on the trails. Great guys, couple of them hammering it on rigid 29ers. If you are reading this guys, the videos on Old webs weren't great. Therefore, I didn't post them.

We also came across a dude riding an old school Slingshot, circa 1990 ish. That company is still in existence and they even make a 29er.

A retro slingshot...

Ok, this post took more than a few minutes. I got to go to bed...


Shorty said...

It was an awesome trip. We found a great new place for breakfast too!
The Freighthouse is awesome and even has soy "links" so us non pork eaters can enjoy a "heart attack" breakfast too! ;)

Friday, Zamboni and i did a bunch of the "lower" portion of trails, which were basically, under water.

I was amazed
a) how well my bike handled the terrain
b) that the terrain was awesome to ride, even wet. The puddles before some steep ups certainly kept you on your toes - QUITE LITERALLY!

I also want to mention a HUGE thanks to the guys in the Kingdom Trails office for a) doing all the work they are doing on the trails and b) their hospitality - they gave us THREE very excellent routes and are quite knowledgeable on their trail systems.

-Han aka Little Ring aka Shorty

Shorty said...

Thanks Papa G for the Awesome fix - still holding!!

PPS Bikes are at the "hospital" getting a much needed FLUSH

the original big ring said...

We'll have to plan another trip down there soon - hopefully it'll dry up some, maybe in the Fall. I can't let this season go by without getting down to Kingdom at least once.

JeffSkisMontana said...

OK we found Big Ring Racing! Very cool site. Enjoyed talking and riding with you at KT. Thanks for the mention in your blog...too bad the vids didn't come out ...go to MTBR.com...forums....Vermont....see story about our trip by JeffSkisMontana. Ride On! And oh yeah...Fight the good fight!