Great Green Mtn Singletrack Traverse Day 1
by Ryan Thibault for MTBVT.com
It’s been a busy week, busier month, and crazy season to date. It is Sunday night and David, mon frere du Quebec, is to arrive with Isabelle any minute. Tonight is the eve of our six day bike trip… and I am entirely unprepared.
Months earlier David and I had concocted a far fetched plot after our Überwintern event. We’d ridden bikes all day, imbibed on numerous brews and in a fit of irrational exuberance, decided the next best thing to do would be a week long bike packing trip up the State of Vermont. David and I schemed to start on top of Killington and make out way back to the MTBVT world headquarters (my house) in Hyde Park. Along the way we’d hit up as much singletrack as possible, hunt for the best food and microbrews each town had to offer and rendezvous with local friends. Fun would be our top priority.
And now the moment had arrived!
Dave pulls up with his car neatly packed and I hand him a Heady explaining that I need to pack. He knows me. He’s not surprised. We head down to the basement and I show him my pile of gear ready to be sorted into bike packs. David is a proper partner in crime. He promptly edits my cache down to a third its original inventory, packs it into bags by priority of use, and lashes it to my bike. Thanks to Dave, who I dub my “logistics manager”, I am now ready for our Great Green Mountain Singletrack Traverse!
We leave Hyde Park right on time (20 minutes late) and head South. Today’s plan: drive to Rochester, meet John Bryan Peters (JBP), leave a car at Green Mountain Bikes, drive to Killington where we’ll meet Nate Freund for a DH lap, rip one, abandon JBP’s van in the parking lot and ride our bikes the remaining 20 miles to Pittsfield…. the back way. Holy shit, now that is a mission!
So off we go and the plan goes flawless. JBP is waiting, we dash to Killington and Nate and his DH crew are ready to accompany us on a hot-lap.
I’m struck by the progress Killington has made with the DH park. Everything appears to be new. New jumps, berms, signage, and spirit. All the locals are pumped on the fresh terrain and it is infectious. David, JBP and I take two lifts to the top. From the peak we take stock of the Green Mountain ridge lines we will follow north for over 150 miles. Jumping on our bikes we make pursuit behind the body-armor clad crew on their DH bikes. What better to test out a loaner never-been-ridden carbon 29” xc race bike with slick tires than on a DH run… right?!
Before long, and all too soon, we’re at the bottom and ready to head out. High fives are dealt to the locals and we are off. But not before lunch and a celebratory pint of ale.
It is late afternoon and the shadows are getting long. We know we are on the back side of the mountain that Pittsfield’s Green Mountain Trails are perched upon. The peak is definitely above us. But the double track trail we have been navigating has petered out to a wall of thorny bramble. David peers at the map on his phone. I’ve paid little attention to the route till this point. Dave, Isabelle, JBP, K9 mascot Mojo and I have made it this far (30 miles) without incident. So far and so close!
“We need to bushwhack!” David says pointing up hill. I’m a sceptic but Dave knows his shit. Plus his phone still has charged batteries.
Minutes later we merge onto a the sinuous single track trail known as Fusters. We point it downhill and pedal for the Pittsfield General Store, the first true oasis on our trek.
Hot food, cold beers, and GM trails’ steward Matt Baats await. I’m exhausted and pleased with accomplishing today’s long ride. But wait, we are staying in the cabin on the top of the mountain above.
After a dizzying 1000 foot nighttime ascent on a very full stomach we’re greeted with the quaint stone hut and a gorgeous starscape. Day one completed, we abandon our bike shorts, lay out sleeping bags, sip on a night cap, and count shooting stars till bedtime. This is living!
Distance Ridden: 56km\35 miles
Altitude Gain: 981 m\3218 feet