Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vermont Sampler

Art and I took a little trip to Vermont to visit my brother and get some riding in with him and my nephew before my nephew started school. We decided to check out some new places to ride and see what Vermont had to offer. The result was pretty good.

Our first day, we rode in Pine Hill Park in Rutland. It's not very big, but do not dismiss it because of it's size. The trails are well designed, well marked and offer great riding for many levels. Even though it was a town park, you felt like you were out in the woods. They even had a suspension bridge that was built by local volunteers. I certainly recommend this spot for a day trip if you are passing through or spend time in Rutland.

The next day we rode at Perry Hill in Waterbury, thanks to a recommendation from Mergs. We did not have a guide or map, but followed the Kiosk and signs and figured things out. One thing to keep in mind in this place is to know that the loops are only marked one way and connectors are not marked. If you want to do all the loops there is a preferred order or you will have to climb the main road four times. We figured it out by the second time up the hill and made adjustments. Burning Spear Trail was awesome! We accidentally did it backwards, but it was good that way too. There is some great trail building going on in this park for sure.

Art actually did a second ride this day with a friend in Richmond/Hinesburg, but I stayed back to enjoy dinner and wine on the my brother's awesome deck. We also walked his property to scope out some possible trails building projects.

A taste of Vermont life:

On the third day, my brother gave us a tour of his "little patch" local trails in Waitsfield. We started on Chain Gang trail in Phen block and worked our way over to Cyclone trail in Howe block. The trails in this area are more oriented in the fall line and do not come cheap .... you pay in climbing to get to them. They were a little more technical in spots, but in my opinion the effort to get to them was much greater than the short time spent actually riding the good stuff. The trail system could use more low angle contour line trails for climbing and descending. My nephew reports that the kids in his school will take up any other sport to avoid mountain biking and it is my guess that most these kids give up on the big road climbs before they even make it to the trails. I guess that is Vermont life? In contrary to that, my brother is killing it on his bike from riding all those hills!

Day four and five ..... on to Kingdom Trails in East Burke to meet up with some of team Campmor.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Summers Worth of Trail Building

As I type this, I am already 65 hours into this year’s trail project and I have had a plethora of experiences on this special mountain. I have worked in extreme heat, in clouds of mosquitoes and in thunderstorms. I have witnessed beautiful water falls that I did not even know existed. I have been blessed with beautiful sunsets and gentle breezes. Every Thursday has been spent with hands in the dirt and moving rocks to create a pleasing path for others to take. I hope you will take it.

Ringwood-Ramapo Trail Project: For those following this project, we (Jorba) have been making improvements to the Ringwood-Ramapo (red) trail from the intersection of the (blue) bridge all the way up to The Old Guard Trail (green/white) intersection. The project started with two years of planning and approvals, and then three years of actual trail building to date. This trail traverses and climbs through some very extreme grades and numerous rocky areas. When Art and I first took on this project, we knew it was ambitious. Trying to keep volunteers motivated to work on something that they may not be able to ride for years was tough, but I think we have finally crested over the top of that hill.

After getting Lyme disease and tearing my rotator cuff while out on the planning stages of this project, I am finally reaping some positive vibes as people start riding this trail. Of course this is not because of me, but because of all the volunteers that spent their days working on the trail.

Thank you workers ….
and Art. This trail will have your signature on it.

Please go out and ride here: