Vacation Riding

So launching a business the week before a long ago scheduled vacation isn’t the smartest thing a person can do.  After a really, really crazy week, I did get away for a week and was able to still handle the growing pains on the home front.

Vacation started heading north to Portland, Maine.  We stayed in Old Port, right in downtown Portland.  There are some great shops and restaurants and getting around is easy.  I haven’t spent any significant time in the Portland area so now after a couple of days in the area–I have some clear ideas of where I’d like to ride.  I was particularly fond of Freeport and Casco Bay–beautiful long climbing roads with a warm salty scent of summer–it was quintessential Maine.  Still, the closest sport I participated in while in Freeport was shopping the 40% sale at North Face and Patagonia.

Instead of road riding at Casco Bay, I did check out the mountain biking at Bradbury Mountain.  The mountain wasn’t so much a mountain, but it was a boatload of fun at Bradbury.  The trails were cut and maintained by the Gorham Bike & Ski Club according to the signs trailside.  There was some great singletrack–I particularly enjoys a trail called Fox Run–a sweet run of singletrack with rocks and roots and switchbacky turns.  I really enjoyed the ride–complete fun and everything mountain biking should be.

After a couple of days in Maine, we trekked north and west, through the White Mountains of New Hampshire and into the Green Mountains of Vermont, and we checked into The Stowe Mountain Resort.  A pricy spot, but really spectacular.  We did a leisurely ride on the rec path the evening we got there.  I really recommend the path for families and anyone who just wants a completely chill and pleasurable cruise.  Stowe is a beautiful resort community and they do a good job letting the natural beauty speak for itself.  There are several bridges and stream crossings and the path runs alongside Mountain Road with woods and farmland and a cold mountain stream running with the path.

The following day I made sure I hit the road with the ‘cross bike.  Talk about climbing.  It’s hard not to climb at Stowe.  I climbed Mountain Road which I had anticipated being pretty rough from the car ride.  It wasn’t all bad, but I hardly pulled out any QOMs according to Strava.  I won’t beat myself up for it though.  There are pros that train on those mountains, and I’m a 41-year-old woman who does this for fun.  Most people would take one look at the hills and stick to the bike path.  The scenery at every turn is epic.  Only 5 miles away is the Trapp Family Lodge (cue Sound of Music soundtrack here). The mountains are just incredible, lush, green and sweeping.  It’s an easy place to be and an easy place to stay.

After my big climb, I was fool enough to do a 4 mile hike to Mount Pinnacle that afternoon.  The tightness in my knees doubled with foot climbing and I took a break the next couple of days.  I did some light hiking to a waterfall called Bingham Falls, which was beautiful and cold and packed with people cooling off in the abnormally hot and humid temperatures.

All & all I didn’t pack in the miles one would expect out of a vacation week–I slipped from my goal of 100 per week to under 50.  But the change of scenery was restorative and it was nice to do a little swimming and hiking as well to round off my activities. It’s also funny to me that I have all this great riding and exploring fairly close to home.  Actually, it makes me feel pretty lucky that within 4 hours I can be truly out of the hills and into the biggest mountains the Northeast offers.  It’s not the Rockies, but it’s still pretty awesome.



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About Karen

Mid-life female amateur athlete focused on cyclocross, mountain biking, and road cycling.

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