Playing Bikes at Cady Hill-Stowe, VT
The last couple of weekends I started working mountain biking back into my routine. Memorial Day Weekend I spent in Stowe, VT. We’ve been going there the last few years and we missed last year so it was nice to be back. In years past, I’ve brought my cross bike. This time I brought my new MTB–the Giant XtC 27.5 (which I LOVE). This was not a “Karen gets to ride her bike all weekend” holiday, but I did get out for a short ride. I visited Cady Hill on Mountain Road–a place I’ve driven by a bunch of times but never visited. The lot was packed and I lucked out, grabbing the last spot as a car left for the day. There were lots of MTBers in the lot, chatting about their bikes, their gear, and geeking out over equipment. The trail system goes up, and quickly. There are several one way trails to prevent riders from tearing around a corner and hitting others head on. The trail up the Green Hair was plush–very smooth with banked switchbacks that snaked up the hill gradually enough to make it in one steady climb.
The Green Chair provided an nice viewing area but the ride was really just starting. I love a good view but I was too excited about how fun and twisting these trails were, so i just kept going. The trails were pretty well marked but I lacked a map so I wandered, keeping my wits about me and trying to gauge where I was in relation to everything else (because that always works so well). I found the trails lost their smoothness and had more gnar. I dropped off step like drops of 12-18 inches, descended pitched banks and then found a trail that turned plush again–and fun. A descent that offered the best blend of singletrack, whoop-do-dos, jumps if you wanted them, and banked switchbacks to whip you around downhill for more fun. Glorious! This was a total blast. i went down, down, down, until I didn’t know where I was.
I started down another trail which dead-ended to a road. I didn’t want the fun to end so went back into the woods. I was a little lost, so I checked my map on Strava to get my bearings. It wasn’t a real trail map but better than nothing. I climbed another trail that was pretty steep, and twisting. Through the woods I watched a group of riders slice silently through the trees on trails I couldn’t see or get to. The trails ribboned close to one another in a tightly packed area. I reached another intersection and headed down another trail, trying to get back to the Green Chair. This was a much rougher trail. I stopped to dismount down one hill that downhillers probably jumped but I decided the 6 foot drop wasn’t for me. Back on the bike I worked my way down, and ended back to the same intersection I was trying to get unlost from.
Fortunately there was a group of 3 guys taking a break at the intersection. They were Canadians and true to the reputation for being super nice–they gave me directions and a spare map, because, well…Canada. (I just love Canada).
With their help, I found my way back to the Green Chair, and then took the decent down Bear’s Run and right into the parking lot to my vehicle.
It was maybe one of the top 5 MTB rides of my life.
So the plan is to go back, and ride more! I also found fun MTB trails while doing a little family hike at the Von Trapp Family Lodge (yes, the Sound of Music place). I’d like to sample that too. Co-blogger Heather has indicated her interest so I’ll have the benefit of someone with some EMT cred around in case I crash into a tree, which I did recently while riding solo last weekend. That blog post will come next.
Mountain biking might not net me high miles, but I just feel like I’m getting a better workout all over–and it’s just soooooo much fun. With all the goals I set for myself, it’s important for me to keep fun in the equation. For June, i hope to jack up the mileage in general, but to ride MTB at least once a week to keep the fun vibe present, and my technical skills sharp for CX season.