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!

3 ways to better prepare for your next gravel (dirt road) ride:

By: Collin Daulong

Recently road biking has seen fewer and fewer riders participating, and for valid reasons. Roads are getting more congested and drivers are becoming increasingly distracted by the accessibility of technology. In light of these two facts, many road riders are seeking quieter roads for a safer, more enjoyable ride. Gravel (riding on dirt roads) has recently taken off in popularity because it offers the solitude and safety that riders are looking for, and generally good routes are closer than you think.

Below are 3 ways to better prepare for your next gravel (dirt road) ride:

Be prepared:

When dirt road riding you will usually find yourself amongst riders who are simply interested in the enjoyment of the beautiful natural surroundings. While escaping the concrete jungle you will often find that services along your ride will be more sparse and you may even run out of cell phone reception, so it is important to be prepared in the event of a flat tire, getting lost and the dreaded bonk (getting very very tired). In previous years, I have been a minimalist when it comes to being prepared but recently I have fully embraced being ready for whatever my adventure brings me. I wear a Thule Hydration pack, their smallest model, and carry essentials like a Pedro’s multi-tool, extra high-energy food, plenty of water, a few extra layers, a fully charged cell phone and some cash for the mid-ride market stop for a home baked cookie! It is way cooler to be over prepared than underprepared when it comes to adventuring out on dirt roads.

Have a plan but let it evolve:

I love both having a plan and not having a plan, as a tour owner and operator it is important to have a plan at all times but you also need to be able to evolve due of the energy of the group, weather and many other considerations. When setting out for your adventure do the same, generate a plan that you will want to stick to but do not be afraid to let it evolve or find yourself exploring a new dirt road you may not have seen before. When heading out on these rides it can be a great way to experience the local culture of an area so add in some local coffee and pastry shops to fuel up mid-ride (and use their facilities if you need too). Also, let a friend or loved one know where you are going and when you will be starting and finishing just to be safe!

Soak it in:

Cycling can be an amazingly cathartic experience, it allows you a physical and emotional release from the twitter, facebook, instagram, instant gratification culture we live in. Finding dirt roads near you means that you are experiencing an area that many do not (hence the roads not being paved) and there can be a lot of hidden and not-so-hidden beauty there, so soak it all in and enjoy the view. I can nearly guarantee that if you go and find yourself on an adventure via dirt roads you well come back to the craziness that regular life can bring with more clarity and a better sense of presence.

I think Ernest Hemingway probably said it best “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.” If you are a cyclist or non-cyclist we strongly encourage you to give riding on those quiet dusty roads a try for your health, happiness and general well-being!

Looking for a great way to try out dirt road riding or an adventure for the seasoned gravel rider? Check out Gravel & Gastronomy on June 2nd!

3 ways to improve your riding in the wet

By: Quinn Campbell

I went on my annual fat bike excursion last weekend and was reminded how wholeheartedly puckering it is to ride in slippery and unpredictable conditions. Kingdom Cycling Experiences owner, Collin Daulong and I met up for a quick loop on a particularly warm March day. Pedaling through patchy snow and ice, we left the office and rode to singletrack at the woods edge. The Kingdom Trails, which I’m used to seeing dry and sheltered under a canopy of leaves, were draped in snow and exposed to overcast winter skies.

Breaking into the forest and slipping our way downhill, I felt as if I’d been transported to a mid season muddy trail ride. The melting snow caved beneath my tires, mashing and sliding unpredictably. I might as well have been traversing an off camber hillside, laced by roots and coated in greasy Vermont mud. As Collin and I drifted, feet out, and back wheels loose, I was forced to use all my wet weather riding techniques in order to stay right side up and keep on rolling.

With spring rains and fresh trails just around the corner, or incase you too decide to venture out for a warm winter ride, I figured it would be a good time to offer up some tips to make slippery trails more manageable!        

1) Stance

An aggressive stance will improve your bike control during any conditions, but it’s that much more important when riding on slimy or unpredictable trails. When it’s time to descend, change your body position in three ways. Lower your chest, bringing it closer to the top tube. This drops your center of gravity and makes you more stable. Bend your elbows and bring them out like you’re mimicking chicken wings, and then do the same with your knees, bending and opening towards the outside. This will allow your bike to move freely beneath you as it deflects off rocks and wet roots, without throwing your body off center. Your bike can wiggle and squirm as much as it wants, but with your shoulders and hips pointed in the direction you want to go, you’ll ride out on your bike rather than under it.

2) Braking

Proper brake control will dramatically change your wet weather riding experience. The most important thing to remember is to avoid pulling those levers while corning. I’m constantly reminding myself to stay of the brakes when turning, whether the trails are wet or dry, and it’s a lot harder to do than you might imagine. Grabbing the brakes fights your bikes natural ability to turn, and counteracts your already reduced traction. Practice doing all your braking before entering the corner, even if that means you enter the corner slower than you would normally. Once you begin to lean the bike completely release the levers and stay off them until you exit the corner. This will give you gobs more traction, and provide an overall increase in cornering speed. I also pay more attention to what surface I’m actually doing my braking on when riding slippery terrain. I try to look ahead and pick areas with the most traction to scrub speed. More traction while braking means less skidding. And believe me, I love a good long skid as much as the next guy, but it’s actually not the most effective way to slow yourself down. A powerful pull of the levers, without actually locking up your wheels, will slow you down much quicker and help to maintain traction.

3) Heads Up

Almost all of us could stand to look farther down the trail when picking our lines. Lifting your eyes to scope a few more feet of single track will give you extra time to prepare for the terrain ahead. When riding wet or slippery conditions the extra distance you look and the few more seconds it gives you will help to establish good braking areas and identify and avoid particularly slippery obstacles. In addition, having more time to plan your line let’s you relax on the bike and loosen up– making slipping and sliding a little more manageable.

I regularly try and implement these three techniques while riding in any conditions. However, dry conditions give a little more wiggle room for error, and these skills become essential on slippery trails. The next time you head out for a pedal and find yourself unexpectedly sideways in soft snow or greasy muck give one, or all of these pointers a go!  

Who was Bill Magill?

By: Karen Wilson

Sitting by the fire with my morning coffee, I recollect summer days on the Kingdom Trails and one in particular stirs in my memory bank. I was guiding an awesome group of preteen girls and as we were approaching the Bill Magill trail, I said something like ” Oh, Bill Magill, he was such a great guy”. One of the girls remarked in a surprised tone “He was a real person?”. “Of course”, I replied and asked them if they wanted to hear a story about Old Bill Magill. There just happened to be a wooden bench just across from the red kingdom trail sign with his name and they settled in with wide eyes as I began my story:
 
“I first met Bill Magill many years ago when I moved back to Vermont from Hawaii. He sold his old farmhouse in West Burke to me where he had milked cows and raised his treasured draft horses. He proudly showed off two walls of trophies and an old trunk full of ribbons that he won in the horse pulling contests at county fairs. His team of draft horses pulled the heaviest slabs of stone a certain distance to win all those prizes. But what made old Bill Magill so special was the way he worked with his horses. People told me that Bill would just whisper in the ear of his horse to get them to pull those weights with all their might. They said other horsemen would yell and whip their horses to force them to pull. I liked this man the first time I met him not knowing I would get to know him better.
 
Later, I got a job at The Wildflower Inn where Bill moved his horses and he would take many of the guests on wagon rides in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter. He did those rides right here on this very trail where so many people now ride their bikes! Sometimes he would come inside and sit on a bench in the front desk area but most of the time Bill would just hang out in the barn at The Wildflower with his horses for hours at a time-even in the winter. He loved those horses like family and they knew it. It was like they could hear each other think. Yes, Bill Magill was a true “horse whisperer”.
 
So, now that you know Bill Magill was a real person, you can think about him and his gentle spirit. When you’re pushing yourself up the hill on the Bill Magill trail back to the Darling Ridge, you can imagine his whisper in your ear encouraging you to push with all your might to make it to the top!”
 
We hopped back on our bikes and it seemed as though the ride back up the hill back to the Kingdom Experiences office was a little easier than expected. It could of been due to the story telling time resting on that old bench, but maybe it was a soft whisper from Bill saying “get up”

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!