Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Kingdom Trails Weekend

Kingdom Trails

DEA and I headed up to East Burke, VT for a weekend of riding at the world renowned Kingdom Trails in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. I had a work event Friday night and then had to coach a football game afterwards so we did not hit the road til Saturday morning at 6 AM. After a brief roll through the drive-thru at the golden arches for some java and grease we were on our way.

We were meeting a crew of guys that live near us and go to KT every year for a guys only getaway weekend of beer, bikes & bullshit. They were stating at the Burke Mountain Campground and Had 2 sites reserved. We got to camp at about 7:30 AM as they were just getting up and cooking some breakfast. We unloaded the van and ate a bit of their pancakes and sausage as we all got geared up for a day of riding.

Since DEA and I had never ridden at KT before we did not really know the layout or what was cant-miss stuff. We elected to ride from the campground and meet the rest of the crew at the parking area as we needed to go buy trail passes.
Kingdom Trails Ticket Office

DEA ready to roll

For a mere $10 a day we were set up with 2 days of passes. We then did the climb up to the parking area and waited for the rest of the group. After a small loop to keep warm they arrived and we headed out. Initially we were in a large pack of close to 25 riders. This was a bit odd as I have never ridden in such a large group and not been racing. There was a weird but cool feel to riding with so many folks and not trying to get around them all.

Our Crew

After about 30 minutes the groups stared to head their separate ways on toe 100+ miles of singletrack. Our group of 8 stayed together and worked our way towards one of the high points of the weekend, "Sidewinder."
Sidewinder Sign

This was a great trail and nothing like I had ever ridden. As DEA put it, the trail had a pretty good "pucker factor" to it. I have to agree. It also had a pretty good smile factor as well. Basically it is a ravine that is set up like a halfpipe and you just keep riding from edge to edge and rip across the bottom and arc back up and around each side as you drop back in and across. It is hard to fight not hitting the breaks but it was a great rush. After a long switchback ride back up we continued on our tour of KT.

We ended up with a great first day and got in 21.33 miles of singletrack. The only thing that remained was the ride back to camp. We split from the main group that drove over and started the long climb back. It's basically 800" straight up with a major ramp at the end. At the beginning of the day it didn't seem like such a bad idea. It was a bad idea, but we made it and even beat the guys who drove back to the camp.

We got the first beers of the day and the fire was soon rolling. We threw some burgers on the fire and they were very tasty. By the end of the evening, which wasn't that late, we'd each had a 12-pack of beer and too much food so we crashed for the night. The temps got into the 30's overnight and it was chilly when we got up. After breakfast and breaking camp we drove to town and parked at the KT office. We rode the first hill to the trails and started our days ride. The rest of our group planned to meet up with us out on the trails.

We basically made a bee-line for Sidewinder and did two laps on it. It got much easier to ride each time down, but no less fun. After that we decided to ride some stuff we had not seen the day before.

Where to now???


Upon the recommendation of a guy we chatted with we rode up to a trail called "Heaven's Bench." It was on top of a hill with an actual bench with amazing views. It was spectacular fall day with great color. Well worth the climb. The descent made it that much more worth it.

View from Heaven's Bench

JJ atop Heaven's Bench

After about 3 hours of riding our legs were pretty cooked as we were the only fools riding singlespeeds. We never did hook back up with the other part of our group. On Sunday we ended up riding another 13.69 miles. Damn it was nice.

Here's the numbers from the weekend:

Garmin Edge Summary Data

Moving Time (h:m:s) 4:48:15 7:39 pace
Distance (mi ) 37.63
Moving Speed (mph) 7.8 avg. 31.8 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +6,692 / -7,471

Temperature (°F) 51°F avg. 62.6°F high


Got in 6,692 feet of climbing. Pretty solid and my legs can definitely feel it.

Google Ride Map

Only disappointments were having waited so long to ride here and having to go home. Stopped for some pizza and beer on the way home to cap it off. Only question now is when do we go back.


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