Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kingdom Trails

Self, Andy, Doug..

I should probably start making my friends sign photo release forms. To ride with me is to be photographed by me. I hope no one minds... I know poor Jean has had me bark at her like a typical snooty fashion photographer when all she really wants to do is to get out for a ride.

Oh well, they're my megapixels, and I'm going to use them the way I see fit. Plus, I get to work on my skills at riding one-handed while trying to frame shots (that's how many of the following pics were taken).

Anyway, Andy Nook, Doug Salb and I piled in to Andy's truck yesterday and made the holy pilgrimage to Kingdom Trails for a day of fat-tire fun.

When they got their day passes, we were encouraged to check out some of the new trails on the mountain (Burke Mountain). Usually, we ride all up and down the Darling Hill trails, but this time we were intrigued. I got "the look" (as in, "you're an idiot") when I mentioned that I'd be riding the new trail on my fully-rigid singlespeed, but what the hell, you gotta ride what ya brung.

Kingdom Trails Association has been working very hard to develop a whole network of downhill and freeride trails on the mountain, and there are shuttle services and, during certain times, the chair lifts will carry you up too. Neither were options for us, so we drove to the Mid-Mountain Lodge and pedaled our way down Enchanted Forest to Knightslayer. Knightslayer was the trail that I wish I had access to 20 years ago when I was fearless and BMX skills were still coursing through my body. This was essentially a mile-long downhill BMX track with huge bermed turns, killer jumps (mostly table-tops), and rhythm sections. It was smooth, fast, fun, and I was immediately wondering if I should buy a freeride/dirt jumping bike... I mean, I've already got all the pads and stuff left over from the BMX days... And, the correct number of bikes to own is n+1... The delusion faded though, and now only rumbles quietly in the background of my mind.

Doug, on Knightslayer...
With no lift or shuttle service, we got to climb back up, and I do love to climb. Doug does not, and I think for him, the downhill run was not worth the climbing aftermath.

After our little freeride sojourn, we made our way over to Darling Hill to hit the cross-country trails. As always, the trails were awesome, but I do have to admit that many are starting to show some signs of wear--mostly braking stutter bumps on some of the downhill sections that used to be buttery smooth. Maybe a front suspension will be on my bike next time I go... We hit all the favorites, from Harp to Coronary Bypass, to Fencline to Pasture Point Loop to Pasture Point, up Coronary (where I totally dropped Jamie last time), to Bemis, to Tap & Die, to River Run to Webs, etc, etc, etc... (GPS data here.)

All in all, it was a perfect day. The weather was great, although it did threaten to rain for a few minutes. Otherwise, blue skies, green grass, red barn (yep, all primary colors, thanks Vermont) and foliage on the verge of exploding. They did have some cold temps overnight though... with a frost warning and temps in the 20's F. Zoiks, fall is here and winter is approaching.

Doug, after climbing up Coronary (his favorite).
The important question is, will I get back up there one more time before the season officially ends?










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