Fat Biking at Kingdom Trails, VT

Saturday morning, Margaret and I braved the cold temperatures and drove from our rental on Lake Willoughby to Kingdom Trails in East Burke (~30 min drive). (Check out my post about what to wear fat biking in cold weather!) We got Margaret’s rental bike and started pedaling straight from the shop on Darling Hill.

The temperature was zero degrees F when we started, and about five minutes into our ride my gear shifters FROZE! I brought my bike into the shop to thaw out but as soon as we got back out they froze again. I was unable to change gears, but thankfully it was frozen in an easier gear. I just had to ride in one gear all day, which made things interesting. I think water got into the shifter on the ride up to VT since it was raining, and froze with the temperature drop (it went from ~50 degrees to zero in less than 24 hrs), even though I dried my bike as best as I could. With the huge temp drop, the trails at Kingdom packed up nicely and made for PERFECT riding conditions. The guys at the bike shop had said it was prime for fat biking, so we were stoked!

The bottom of Kitchel, one of the best trails at Kingdom due to its table jumps and huge berms. We rode it twice that weekend!

We took a break after a few hours of riding to warm up and have some hot drinks served at the Hub Trailside where we rented Margaret’s bike. Then we went back out to explore the other side of the trail system, opting to ride down River Walk, which was a BLAST.

Overall, we rode a little over 13 miles that day with lots of climbing.

Favorite trails of the day: Sugarhouse Run, Kitchel, River Walk

After our ride, we drove back to our rental to shower, change and find a place to get dinner. We decided on Parker Pie, a small pizza place a few towns over with delicious pizza and good beers on tap.

The next day we decided to ride the same route, minus one of the trails, Pines, that included lots of climbing. We debated on riding Troll Stroll down but decided against it since we didn’t have any suspension on our fat bikes. I rode this trail on my full-suspension enduro bike back in August, which was fun, but a lot different than a fat bike.

We opted to take the fun River Walk trail, which we rode the previous day. This weekend was Margaret’s first time on a fat bike and she killed it!

We also rode Kitchel again which was a blast.

I was pretty impressed we rode over 10 miles on our second day. The miles just seemed to fly by when we were out there!

At around 12 we decided to head back to the shop to warm up, change and get ready for the ~4 hr drive home. Kingdom Trails remains one of my favorite places to ride. It was the first place I ever rode a mountain bike (it was actually a fat bike). The trails are fun, flowy, fast and not to mention beautiful. I cannot wait until next time.

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Exploring the Northeast Kingdom of VT – Day 1

For MLK weekend, my friend Margaret and I decided we wanted to take a mini trip since we both had Monday off. I got Margaret into mountain biking this past fall (she even bought my old mountain bike after I upgraded mine!) and wanted to give fat biking a try! We decided a weekend of riding at Kingdom Trails would be awesome. We drove up to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont on Friday after work, grabbed a quick dinner at Madison Brewing in Bennington, drove through some immense fog and rain, finally arriving at our rental on Lake Willoughby in Westmore, VT.

Since it had rained all day on Friday, the trails were closed on Saturday. The temps had dropped and it was also snowing most of the day. Even though this derailed our riding plans a bit, we decided to make the most of it by exploring the Northeast Kingdom. Thankfully we had Margaret’s husband’s Subaru so we thought nothing of driving around in the ice and snow.

Our first stop was Wildflower Inn for a delicious breakfast and bottomless coffee.

Wildflower Inn is located right next to the bike shop where Margaret was renting her fat bike, The Hub, so after breakfast, we stopped by to confirm the rental.

Next up: Hill Farmstead Brewery! We drove about ~40 min from East Burke to Hill Farmstead. Apparently, a lot of others had the same idea. The route involved many hills on slippery back roads, so we were thankful for the Subaru–Thanks Jeff! We saw a Prius get stuck on a snowy hill and we were impressed when we saw they made it to Hill Farmstead!

The delicious Grassroots Brewing Convivial Suaréz

Next up: Kingdom Brewing! Located WAY up in Newport, VT not far from the Canadian border, Kingdom Brewing was a gem! They had some delicious beers, with a lot less hype than Hill Farmstead. The taproom was relaxing and quiet, and we each enjoyed a sampler.

There were great views from the brewery, too.

We stopped for some groceries on the way home and made delicious tacos at our rental before turning in for the night.

The view of Lake Willougby near our rental

We wanted to be rested for the following day’s adventures! Stay tuned…

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Mountain Biking Getaway Weekend in Vermont

This past weekend was pretty epic! Jordan and I went to Vermont with our good friends for some mountain biking in Vermont. We left Friday morning, arrived in the Northeast Kingdom around noon and hit the trails. We started the weekend at Victory Hill near Kingdom Trails. There is one main double track climbing trail that leads to all of the other trails in the network (there aren’t that many), but most are downhill-style trails with lots of roots and rocks. I did two runs, mostly because I was tired of climbing after the first climb and wanted to save my legs for Kingdom Trails the following day. I rode Leifs and Mac Attack, both of which I found challenging but rideable (for me!). I’m finding that I’m a lot more comfortable on descents and just despise grueling climbs.

After the ride, we went to stock up on groceries for the weekend and then headed to our rental house, which was a sweet place right near Burke Mountain. The next morning we made breakfast and hit Kingdom Trails, which we could ride to right from our door. The day started out cool and cloudy, but eventually cleared up. It was a great day of riding. We covered about 12 miles with 1,400 feet of climbing until I rode up and over the end of a berm and crashed, landing on my knee! I was not wearing my knee pads (mistake!) so I chose to end my ride and wait for our group at Mike’s Tiki Bar.  Highlight of the day: descending down Moose Alley (and managing to stay on my bike!). Runners up include Sky Dive and Nose Dive, which were fun trails too.

 

 

Jordan and the rest of the group continued riding and finished up around 5:30. After enjoying some craft beverages at the Tiki Bar, we headed back to the rental for dinner! The guys grilled up some brats and burgers, a perfect way to refuel.

The next morning it was below freezing, so we decided to go to the Lyndon Diner for quick and cheap breakfast and wait for the temps to rise a bit. Deciding against a second day at Kingdom (sadly) we drove to Barre, Vermont to ride at Millstone Trails, located in a granite quarry. This was where I rode a mountain bike for the very first time two years ago! It was fun to go back as a more experienced rider, even though the trails here are so difficult, I was rarely riding the bike.

(Below= a portion of the trail I could actually ride!) Highlight of the day: riding down roller coaster at the end of the day.

Total miles for the weekend: ~ 25 (the most for me on a mountain bike)
With every ride I gain more confidence, push myself to conquer obstacles on the bike and become a better rider. I never thought this day would come, but I’ve left running behind for a greater thrill. Mountain biking has become my sport of choice as of late and I’m looking forward to sharing many more mtb adventures!

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The Crows – 5.28.17 and the 46rs Banquet

Memorial day weekend was jam-packed with Adirondack fun. Last Sunday was the Adirondack 46rs Annual Spring Banquet, so I made plans with Jordan and my parents to stay in Lake Placid so we could attend. Jordan and I planned on mountain biking Sunday, but the trails were a sloppy mess due to recent rains, so we hiked instead. There is still a mud warning for the high peaks areas (DEC advises to stay off of trails above 2500′–but a lot of people disregard these advisories unfortunately) so we hiked Little Crow and Big Crow mountains in the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness. The bonus of hiking these little peaks is that there are hardly any people on the trails because everyone is busy bagging high peaks.  Plus, it’s on the list of recommended alternative hikes during mud season.

The trail to the Crows is located off of Hurricane Mountain Road, off of Route 73 in Keene. There are a couple options when staring this hike. It can be done as a loop, with a road walk at the end back to your car, or an out and back. There is also the option to hike part of the Nun-da-ga-o Ridge. Jordan and I just had time for a short hike since we had to be at the banquet in Lake Placid at around 5pm. We signed in and started hiking the trail to Big Crow. It was such a nice trail!

In about 20 minutes we were at the summit of Big Crow and had magnificent views of the high peaks.

Even though it only took 2o minutes, the trail is steep, complete with rock scrambling.

 

We followed the cairns down the other side of Big Crow, which was a little tricky since it was very steep. It might be sketchy if it was wet or icy! Thankfully it was dry!

Shortly after we were at the col between Little Crow and Big Crow, it was so pretty.

We hiked along the ridge to Little Crow, where we stopped and admired the view and had a snack.

The whole hike took 2 hours and 12 minutes, including stops. It was great!

Little Crow and Big Crow Mountain
Distance 2.17 miles RT
Ascent 917′
Time 2 hrs, 12 minutes

After the hike, we headed into Lake Placid to check into our hotel. My parents were already there and had been paddling on Lake Placid, since our hotel was right on the lake. Lake Placid is not to be confused with Mirror Lake, the lake right on the main street of Lake Placid, the village. Lake Placid is much bigger!

Jordan and I took their canoe out for a little bit–we had some great views of Whiteface!

After our paddle, we got ready and headed back into the Village for the 46rs banquet. There were over 700 new 46r finishers in 2016–myself included! 211 of us were at the banquet to receive our certificates. It was great to be awarded with an actual certificate after finishing the 46–I’m proud to be member of the club!

The next morning, we had breakfast at Generations Lake Placid, a restaurant right on Mirror Lake that my dad had recommended. I never would have thought to try it for breakfast–it was fantastic! The menu had an Adirondack theme to each of their meals.

Sunny Cove – Benedict style, Duck Trap River smoked salmon, artisan sourdough, two poached eggs, roasted tomatoes, fresh arugula, lemon caper hollandaise & seasoned home fries–delicious!

And we had a great view!

Because it was raining pretty hard, we decided to head home–but not without a stop at the Mountaineer. The Mountaineer is one of my favorite stores, for good reason. They have so much awesome hiking gear! It was so crowded on this rainy day–what else can hikers do except drool over hiking gear if we can’t hike? We spent about an hour looking at packs for Jordan. He doesn’t have a hiking or backpacking pack, so he bought an awesome Osprey pack. We’ll have to put it good use this summer!

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2017 Senenca 7 Relay

Every year since 2015 I’ve run the Seneca 7 Relay! It is a 77.7 relay race around Seneca Lake starting and ending in Geneva, NY. I love it because of the gorgeous scenery and the fact that our team can spend the previous day wine tasting great Finger Lakes wine!

We rented the same house in Geneva we had last year, which is perfect because it is only a few minutes from the starting line of the race! On Sunday April 30, we got up super early for our 6:30am start time.

It was a lot colder than we wanted, but at least it wasn’t raining! We all ordered matching team hats, which were awesome. However, I won’t get into our team name since it is an inside joke and will take too long (and it’s too weird) to explain.

My favorite part about the race is the view of farms, vineyards and Seneca Lake.

This year I was runner # 7.

Leg 1 – 4.0 miles
Average pace: 10:09/mile

Leg 2 – 3.0 miles
Average pace: 10:26/mile

Leg 3 – the final leg of the race – 3.5 mi
Average pace: 10:01/mile

Being the final runner was awesome. I’ve run this race twice and I’ve also run three Ragnar Relays and I’ve never been the final runner. It was great to get reunited with my team for the last bit of the race!

Overall our team’s average pace was 9:07 per mile. We finished the race in 11 hours, 47 minutes! We had a blast yet again. We’ve also committed to this race as a team for the next five years so each of us can run each leg once, completing the entire course around Seneca Lake!

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