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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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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Ladies Mountain Biking Weekend at Kingdom Trails

Last weekend, my friends Aubrey and Crystal and I took our mountain bikes to Kingdom Trails, the mountain biking mecca of the North East.  Kingdom Trails is a trail system in the North East Kingdom of Vermont, where over 100 miles of groomed trails are dedicated to mountain biking.

image from Garuka Bars

On Friday, we put our bikes on the car and drove up to Kingdom! It was the first time we’d gone mountain biking without the guys.

On Friday we arrived at Burke Mountain Resort and Mountain Bike Park, where the inaugural NEMBA Women’s Mountain Biking Summit was taking place! The Women’s Summit was an organized weekend of mountain biking seminars, clinics and rides for women mtb riders, with five meals included! We checked in, scoped things out and headed out to dinner at Burke Public House in town. After dinner, we stopped at the store for snacks and wine (essentials), and then home to our Air B&B rental. The next morning we drove back to Burke Mountain for breakfast! Instead of staying for the seminar, we decided to head out on the trails. How could we not?

We had a short route planned out so we could be back at Burke for lunch. However, we took a wrong turn and started riding down Tap & Die, a black diamond. I didn’t even notice it was a black, I was having so much fun. The trail was fast and flowy.

Day 1 at Kingdom: 3.8 mi, 411′ elevation gain

After lunch, Aubrey and I were signed up for a Gravity clinic, while Crystal did a group ride at Kingdom. The gravity clinic was at Burke Mountain Bike Park. The clinic consisted of about 8 riders and 2 instructors. Eventually we broke into two groups, so Aubrey and I had our own instructor! She was incredible-she taught us how to ride berms, jumps, and how to ride with proper form on the downhill trails. By the end we rode a black from the top. It was such a great experience! When the clinic was over, we were beat. We waited the patio bar for Crystal to be done with her ride.

We went back to the house to change and shower. Our grand plan was to come back to Burke for dinner with the group. However, we decided to stay in and order a pizza. It just seemed like more fun! The next morning it was raining, so we packed up, went to breakfast at a diner (we missed the breakfast at Burke!), and it cleared up just in time to ride the trails at Kingdom.

During our ride, I conquered a fear–I rode a skinny bridge. Well, it wasn’t that skinny-but in the past I would ride around it.

We also rode a double black–Side Winder. It’s one of the most popular trails at Kingdom. For good reason.

I made it through the first half of the trail. If you don’t keep up speed, you can’t ride the trail, so I made the mistake of stopping on top of one of the big turns. It was still fun though!

We stopped for lunch at The Hub Trailside, a little bike shop and restaurant right off the trail. After our break, we rode about a mile and a half back to the car, packed up, stopped at the bike shop in town, and then headed home. It was really great to spend a weekend mountain biking with the girls. We love riding with the guys, but it was nice to not have to worry about keeping up with them. We felt free to do our own thing and ride what we wanted–less pressure! We had so much fun we decided to make it an annual event!

Day 2 – 11.7 miles, 1,134′ elevation gain

The NEMBA summit was a great idea in theory–to bring women together within the mtb community, however it was very disorganized! We also didn’t feel like sitting around in seminars, so we just did our own thing most of the time. But I think the Gravity clinic made the whole event worth it.

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New Adventure: Winterbike 2015

At the end of February, Jordan invited me to go to Vermont with him and a few of his friends for Winterbike.

I didn’t know mountain biking on snowy trails in the winter was a thing until I met Jordan. He has his own fat bike and it’s pretty awesome. Fat bikes have huge tires that are bigger than your average mountain bike’s and they are meant for riding over any terrain.

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Since I don’t have a fat bike, Jordan rented me one from the local bike shop up in East Burke-a Salsa Mukluk.

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The festival was held at Kingdom Trails, a nordic adventure center that has groomed winter biking trails. It was gorgeous!

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We rode on the trails for a couple hours and I crashed a lot! But when I crashed I just fell into the deep snow banks, so I didn’t get hurt. It was fun!

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Jordan is pretty much a pro at fat biking. 😉

When we were done riding, we went to get out free beer that was included with the Winterbike ticket.

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Fat bikers sure do love their beer (as do runners!) It was so weird to be surrounded by so many of them. It was kind of like the same feeling of community I get after a race, surrounded by runners. Our tickets also included a lunch at a local restaurant,  after we ate I had to bring back the bike rental to the bike shop. Sad!

We all stayed at the WilloBurke Inn & Lodge, a few minutes away from Kingdom Trails. It was such a cute place to stay. The rooms were nice and clean, and the lobby was cozy (fireplace!). The view from our room was pretty sweet, too. They also included breakfast the next morning.

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We hung out around the inn until dinnertime. We went to a restaurant called Tamarack Grill located right at the Burke Mountain ski resort. The food was tasty but unfortunately I don’t have any pictures.

It was an awesome winter getaway to Vermont! And I got to try something new, which is always good. The weekend was perfect and I can’t wait to go on more adventures like it!

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