10 October 2011 - 9:44Big Weekend – Part 1
We have been blessed with a long run of beautiful weather up here in the northeast. This made for some fun times on two wheels, which was much needed. I spent most of last week moving into my new apartment (5 minutes from trail!) while dodging raindrops.
The previous week was wet and miserable, a far cry from the weather we are experiencing right now, which is good, for this weekend was jam packed full of outdoor fun. Saturday was the first running of the Leaf Blower Fall Ride, held by the Stowe Mountainbike Club. About 87 people showed up to ride the best of what Stowe had to offer for trails, and we split up into 2 groups, one heading to the new trails (Pipeline, Kimmers, Derby etc), while a group of about 27 or so headed off to go ride the classics in Sterling Valley (Tony’s, Tamarack, Loren’s Loop etc).
I had severely misjudged the weather, and dressed as if it was going to be in the 60s. By the time we set off on our ride, it was well into the high 70s, so I spent most of the time being way too hot. Our route was Tony’s>Tamarack>Godstreet>Kent’s>Peek-a-View>Loren’s Loop>Catamount Trail>Maple Run>Tamarack>tony’s>Beer>awesome food provided by Frida’s. Conditions were good for this time of year, although some trails were still very wet from all the rain earlier in the week. These trails are definitely “old school”, built way before the time of IMBA spec’d sustainable trails. They require a certain amount of skill or bravery to ride fast, they don’t flow, and often have violent transitions between down and up, but this is what makes them fun.
Having a big group like that definitely stretched the ride out to a 4.5 hour voyage. There were several mechanicals, some bonking, and lots of breaks to enjoy the phenomenal scenerey. I had tried to take some video of the ride, but had tried out a new position for my helmet cam. I grow increasingly more frustrated with my Contour camera, aiming it is a PITA, and the field of view is far too limited to get an idea of what one might actually be riding on. I got a ton of footage of right in front of my front tire. Meh.
The party after the ride was a ton of fun. I got fed, had a couple of PBRs with various folks, including the president of the bike club who is very interested in SSUSA2012 Will it be in Stowe…? I pedaled back home to shower and put on some civilian clothes and went back to rejoin the party, where the bicycle games were just beginning. We did our take on Foot Down, which included the standard rules of no intentional contact, to which we added that you had to have a beer in your hand. You could only use both hands once your beverage was finished. It made for some quality hilarity.
Then there was the pumpkin pull. Think of it like a tractor pull, we had to drag a pumpkin across the finish line on specially made skids, on a bike other than your own. It was a lot of fun. We raced 2 at a time, and gradually we whittled it down to a single winner, which was ME! Yeah, I am the reigning pumpkin puller. I won on a 26″ squishy bike which had some people up in arms, so I offered a re-do on the final pull on Weapon X. I won again. We then finished the night out by watching some bike movies on a big inflatable movie screen.
All in all, it was a great day on the bike. Weapon X did everything I asked of it, except pedal itself up the steep hills. Thank goodness that thing has gears. Ride impressions coming up next.