kingdomexperiences

KT 50/100K – A good times trail ride!

Have you ever wanted to hop on your bike in the morning and ride all day on some of the best most beautiful trails in North America? Ever wanted to do that also have food stations with local and authentic maple donuts, coffee, sandwiches and brownies to fuel you along the way? Well this is the event for you bringing you the second annual KT 50/100K. Last year a hearty group of riders departed on a 62 mile trail ride that was 99% single-track finishing at the iconic Heavens Bench for delicious and well earned food and post ride libations. This year we have added a 50K (31 mile) option that will be for those who want to have a stepping block to the 100K or who just want to spend the day on some of the best trails in the world. This is a guided ride and is not a competition, this is a good times trails ride and a great excuse to go out and enjoy MOST of the single-track that Kingdom Trails has to offer!

FAST FACTS
– Most abilities welcome from Intermediate to Intermediate/Advanced riders
– Great for most ages (18+)
– Perfect for you IF: You get on you love riding your bike a lot and are looking for a challenge!

Includes:
– Kingdom Trails Pass (1)
– Morning pastries and Coffee
– Aid station food/beverages
– Lunch
– Apres drink voucher (1) and food

Conquer the Kingdom – Skill Clinic

Take your riding to the next level with a skills building weekend for both men and women of most ages and ability levels. Our experienced, certified instructors will ensure you equipped you are taught proper techniques to improve your skills while having a great time in small groups.This weekend will be perfect for those interested in skills building with individual attention and small group sizes, ample riding time, time to enjoy other authentic parts of mountain biking in the Kingdom, and, of course, FUN!

FAST FACTS
– All abilities welcome from absolute beginners to intermediate/advanced riders
– Great for most ages (16+)
– perfect for you IF: You love riding your bike, meeting new people and want to become a better more confident rider!

Includes:
– Meet & Greet with drink voucher
– Kingdom Trails Pass (2)
– All guiding and instruction
– Lunches (2)

Quick Trip Outline:

Friday Evening:
– Meet and Greet and Orientation

Saturday:

  • Morning Drills and On-Trail Skills Instruction
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon Skill instruction and applicational ride

Sunday:

  • Morning On-Trail Skills Instruction
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon Ride!

Gravel and Gastronomy Vermont – With guest rider Tim Johnson

Vermont Gravel & Gastronomy w/ Tim Johnson
June 1st – 3rd

Gravel & Gastronomy is a beautiful dirt road journey through the bucolic Vermont countryside. Beyond the serene dirt roads and beautiful landscapes you will be enjoying in you will also be immersed in the unique and authentic gastronomic scene of northern Vermont. Coming along with us for the adventure is Tim Johnson; Cannondale Cycling Pro, 6X Cyclocross National Champion, Red Bull athlete and all around great guy to ride with!

Trip at Glance

Friday
Ride of the Day: Kirby, Burke, Victory Circumnavigation – 36 mi ↑3.8k ft
Vermont Cheese, Charcuterie & Local Libation Tasting at The Spoke Easy Lounge
Dinner at Junipers Restaurant on the beautiful Darling Hill Ridge

Saturday
Delicious and Healthy Breakfast at Junipers Restaurant
Ride of the Day: Tour to the world renowned Hill Farmstead Brewery – 28 mi ↑3.5k ft
Picnic with Hill Farmstead & Jasper Hill Farm
Dinner at on the deck at The View Pub overlooking the dramatic Willoughby Gap

Sunday
Delicious and Healthy Breakfast at Junipers Restaurant
Ride of the Day: Beautiful Lake Willoughby – 28 miles ↑3k ft
Apres ride bites and libations at Lake Willoughby
Farm-to-Table dinner at the beautiful and iconic Heaven’s Bench with 360 degree views

All lodging provided by The Wildflower Inn

Pedro’s Mechanical Clinic # 3 – Trailside Repairs

Ever find yourself with a flat on the trail and waving down other riders to help change the flat? Or you break a chain on the trail and find yourself having a really expensive push bike? Then this clinic is for you! We will cover common trailside issues and how to fix them so you will have the knowledge to ride out of the woods every time!

Pedro’s Mechanical Clinic #2 – Fine Tuning

Have you ever looked at your derailleur or brakes and wonder not only how they work but how you could adjust them yourself? We we have just the clinic for you!

Our fine tuning clinic will go through basic shifting and brake adjustments (disc brake only).

Pedro’s Mechanical Clinic # 1 – Basic Bike Care

Your bikes can provide endless amounts of joy so isn’t time to take care of them?!

Taking care of your bike will not only keep it running better for longer but it will also save you money in the long run because you are maintaining it versus having to replace it!

This clinic will cover basic bike care such as:

  • Lubrication – What are the different lubricants and how do I choose one?
  • Cleaning  – How should I be cleaning my bike and how often?
  • Service Schedule – How often should I have the bike shop work on my bike?
  • Basic Bike Set Up

Please email or call with any questions about the clinic! We look forward to seeing you there!

The Escape Artist: Vermont Dirt Road Riding

By Collin Daulong

Ernest Hemingway once said: “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle,” and that guy is pretty smart.

Dirt road riding has become a recent obsession amongst cyclists of all types: the overworked business person escaping from the concrete jungle, the suburban cyclist dodging the over caffeinated (and generally distracted) drivers, and all other rider archetypes of varying fitness levels and ages. These riders are trading in their favorite stretches of tarmac for a slice of solitude in the countryside.

When looking at dirt road riding and finding that perfect slice of inner peace, there is no denying Vermont as a mecca, especially when looking at New England specifically. Here are 3 reasons why the dirt road riding in Vermont is a must for any cyclist.

  1. The sheer volume of unpaved surfaces and the population density (or lack thereof). Vermont boasts an impressive paved to unpaved surface ratio, there are about 8,000 miles of unpaved surfaces versus only 6,000 miles of paved roads. When you couple that ratio with a population density of 48 people per square miles versus 742 and 858 (!) to its southern states, (Connecticut and Massachusetts respectively,) you can see why it is easier to find your sliver of solitude in the bucolic Vermont countryside.
  2. There are amazing and world renowned gastronomic gems hidden in the hills. You will be amazed where the most unsuspecting dirt road will take you and what sort of gastronomic experience will present itself. In a little town called Greensboro Vermont, a town that you could ride through and not even realize you just rode through a town, you will find one of the most recognized brewery and cheese makers in the world (yes I said the world!) Hill Farmstead brewery has been named “Best Beer in the World” by RateBeer.com 5 times in the last 6 years. Right down the road from this acclaimed brewery is The Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm. These cheese makers, similar to their bubbly and hoppy brethren down the road, are no strangers to world’s best awards. Owning accomplishments such as: “World’s Best Unpasteurized Cheese” and “Best in Class” from the World’s Cheese Awards and World’s Cheese Championships, respectively, are only a small tasting (no pun intended) of their accomplishments. These cheese and beer makers are only a sampling of what the unique Vermont countryside offers. Having gems like these in the hills offers the most delicious proverbial “carrot” at the end of the stick for your rides.
  3. It looks just like the brochure! To put it simply: the views are positively breathtaking. Speaking from my own personal experience while spending a lot of time on the dirt roads, there is not one ride that goes by where I am not floored by the uninterrupted beauty that the Vermont countryside has to offer, even if I have seen the same view hundreds of times before. Vermont does not have the tallest or most dramatic mountain peaks in the world, but what it does offer is a landscape that is stunning in its own way and calming to the soul. You will find yourself transported back to a simpler time not engrossed in technology and unsolicited tweet storms, when it was just you riding your bike for the unadulterated love of being outside with yourself or friends.

If you have not gotten off the pavement recently to ride some roads less traveled, we highly suggest it! We know that transitioning to new types of riding presents a whole new slew of challenges and curiosities, so if you have any questions at all regarding dirt road riding or how to try it out please let us know!

 

 

 

 

 

High School Cross Country Mountain Bike Racing!

By: Chris Mehlman, Photo: Alice Johannen

Mountain biking is a fast-growing sport. More and more people are taking it up as a way to socialize and challenge themselves physically and mentally. However, according to pinkbike.com, mountain bikers are “mostly male, between the ages of 25-44, and relatively affluent”. How can we ensure that mountain biking will continue to flourish in the future and attract a more diverse range of participants than it currently does? The answer: youth XC mountain-bike racing.

Cross-country mountain bike racing is not your typical middle or high school sport. Most kids gravitate towards traditional team sports such football, basketball, and baseball. However, mountain biking offers much that traditional youth sports do not. First, it is a lifelong activity. While many kids play team sports through high school, they often end up stopping once they graduate, since it is hard to find the time or a league in which to play those sports later in life. When kids take up mountain biking, however, they develop a passion for a lifelong sport. Even if they do not choose to race after high school, they now have a way to enjoy themselves and stay fit through their working life and into retirement. Second, mountain biking offers an alternative for kids who are not interested in traditional ball sports. I played lacrosse throughout middle school, but found that mountain bike racing offered me a chance to challenge myself physically
and mentally in a way that no other sport could, while still allowing me to be in a team
environment. While XC running is the closest comparison, mountain biking racing involves a longer effort and more technical prowess. Kids who are more interested in the technical nature can challenge themselves through that aspect, while kids who want the aerobic challenge can also be pushed to their limit. In mountain biking, a young racer can feel his or her own work directly paying off and bringing results or PR’s. Finally, and most importantly, the mountain biking community is a fun, welcoming group to be around. Just go to any high school race, and you will see hundreds of smiling faces, kids from different teams hanging out with each other, and a general sense of community that other larger sports do not have.

For these reasons, youth mountain bike racing is growing at an astonishing rate. New England High School Cycling Association (NEHSCA) was founded 2015, with its first race taking place in the spring of 2016. Even at the first race, there were over 175 kids. I, like many other kids who mountain bike, had always struggled to find other young people to ride with, but once I started racing in NEHSCA, I found a whole community who shared my passion. There were racers of all different ages, from 5th-12th grade, competing in several different categories. Some had raced for years, and were there to win, and others were there just to have fun. As a testament to the growing popularity of youth mountain bike racing, NEHSCA more than doubled in size in their second season, and is on track to continue that growth this year.

This massive growth is not a phenomenon isolated to New England. Throughout the country, there already are well-established middle and high school racing leagues run through the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). More and more leagues keep popping up each year, and I have no doubt that there will soon be a league in almost every state.

These leagues are also working hard to attract people other than the stereotyped affluent white male. The largest barrier to mountain biking is typically the cost. However, large companies like Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, and Shimano, along with local shops, have been generous in supporting youth cycling by offering discounted bikes and equipment to youth racers. They do this because they know that these leagues are the foundation for a strong future for mountain biking; they are these companies’ future customer bases. Some leagues have also established teams in the inner-city in less-affluent neighborhoods. In addition, many leagues, including NEHSCA, have worked hard to attract more girls to the sport, through girls-only clinics andgroups. Little Bellas, an organization founded by professional racer Lea Davison to help get more girls on bikes in order to develop self-confidence, has also helped leagues with this mission. By introducing kids of different genders and socio-economic backgrounds to riding now, mountain biking will be even more popular and widespread 20 years down the line.

Now, when I ride in the trail systems around Boston, I always smile when as I see more and more kids in NEHSCA jerseys riding in groups, or out with their parents. The bug has hit them, just as it has hit all of us.

Backwoods Benediction

By Jane LeMasurier

I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with three siblings and lenient parents. Given our proximity to the woods and mountains, it was free-range biking for us for many years. Most of our childhood days were spent exploring old logging roads and trails in our backwoods. I have memories of barreling down creek beds with my younger sister, no gps, no map, no cell phone, just a sense of general direction and a couple of quarters in our pockets to call from a gas station pay phone if we could get to one. Things were certainly different back then. And somehow we survived.

Now in my adult life I teach mountain biking classes to kids in my town. I’m just as enthusiastic to teach them bike skills as I am to teach them how to appreciate the woods for the bona

fide joy they provide. I took a group of 12 kids on a ride last fall. We followed an under-ridden and overgrown trail near the school. Shortly into the ride I spotted some ledge just off the trail with a short and steep roll-down section that looked like something we might be able to clear off, scope out, and attempt to ride. So I slowed down, got off my bike, pointed it out to the kids and asked if anyone wanted to try it. They all raised their hands, some with blind enthusiasm, some with slight skepticism.

“But is this even a real bike feature?” one boy questioned.

“Touch that rock. Is that rock real?” I responded. He looked at me, looked at the rock, looked back at me, and smiled.

My sense of safety has evolved from the days of setting out into the woods feeling convinced all would work out for the best. I carry a med pack and bike tools and have an action plan if something goes wrong. And I stick to the trails, because there are trails. But I still carry with me the general feeling that, more than anything, a bike is a tool for exploration, into ourselves and the “real world” of nature. So I climbed up on the ledge and asked all 12 of the kids to climb up with me. We took a look at potential lines and determined a “hard” route and a “harder” route. There was no easy way down. The kids asked if anyone had ever ridden this before. And I told them, judging from the overgrowth, they just might be the first. They looked at each other with big eyes. We cleared away some brush at the bottom of the roll down and then I gave it a go, explaining first to the kids how to pick their line, get into position, and commit.
Over the next hour and a half the pack of us explored this rock: looking at it, walking on it, riding over it, all in an effort to get to know it, to learn how to roll it as smoothly and successfully as possible. The kids couldn’t get enough. It would have gone on, trial after trial, but our class was ending, so we headed back out the same quarter mile of trail we came in, back to where we started, so much further along than when we began.

“Nothing Compares to the Simple Pleasure of Riding a Bike” – JFK

By Quinn Campbell

Mountain bikers get so wrapped up with the start of the season. New bikes, new gear, new trails, more training during the winter– there’s an agitated frenzy that surrounds the cycling community as we wait for the snow to melt and the trails to dry. Normally, I’m as guilty as anyone, chomping at the bit to touch tires on dirt and begin spinning the pedals. But this spring has been different, and I’ve been, admittedly, a little lazy. My trail bike is still sitting in a box at my house, waiting to be assembled. And before too long, I’ll spend an afternoon upstairs in the shop, prepping my brand new bike for the next six months of abuse, routing cables into my new frame, sloping sealant into squeaky clean tires that haven’t punched through mud holes or broken loose across abrasive Vermont granite. But that hasn’t happened yet because I’ve been so infatuated and blissfully distracted with my reconnection to the most basic, youthful aspects of riding a bike.

This spring I’ve put countless hours in atop my dirt jumper. Out of my three bike quiver the dirt jumper most closely resembles my very first bicycle. Bare bones– one speed, one brake, bald tires and a short travel fork. It pales in comparison to the sleek lines of a carbon framed, well engineered full suspension trail bike, but the notable lack of expensive, high-maintenance parts, make me think a lot less about the bike itself and a lot more about the ride. It’s simple to step outside the house and leave directly from my driveway. There’s no Strava to turn on and clipless trail shoes are replaced by my most comfortable pair of well worn Vans. Riding shorts, jersey, gloves, and backpack are all left behind– I won’t be going farther than a few miles. Without needing to prepare for an afternoon in the saddle, load all my gear into a car and drive to the driest spring trail system, I’ve been able to get out frequently, and it’s just goofy, unhindered childish fun.

Rolling out the driveway I’ll cruise through familiar village backstreets, bunny-hopping curbs, hunting for natural jumps on driveway corners, manualing over speed bumps and wearing away any remaining tread with long skids. It’s been a good reminder to ride for fun this season and focus more on the trails beneath my tires than what bike I’m on or how fast I rode. Tune out the distractions and throw a leg over your bike for no other reason than because you love to ride.