Dawn broke on day four and I was tired! My arse was telling me that I had suffered a saddle-time overdose. That said, I had enjoyed a most fantastic night’s sleep in the cozy confines of Fayston’s Wilder Farm Inn. The Wilder is a quintessential VT Inn situated in an historic farmhouse. On a map it appears to be a bit outside of Waitsfield but it’s well within riding distance (a quick three miles even after a full day’s ride, some whiskey, and a huge BBQ meal) and well positioned below some historic trails on the northwest side of the Mad River Valley.
Crawling out from under layers of blankets I stretched and headed down the century old stairs to the dining area where I was greeted by the aroma of fresh coffee. Owners Luke and Linda were busy preparing breakfast for the guests. I poured a hot cup of joe into a handmade mug and headed out to the front porch under the massive maple trees.
Dave, Isa and I sat and watched the fog burn off the farm fields as the sun poked out. The weather was perfect. Today was going to be another epic day!
Luke joined us after we devoured a hearty breakfast. We had little info on this area but he was happy to give us a few clues about a local private trail network some 1000 feet up the mountainside. More climbing I thought. David seemed happy about this.
Grimicing, we dawning our slightly soggy gear that we had hung overnight in Luke’s pottery studio. We lubed up rusted chains, made a quick repair to Matt’s ailing drivetrain and headed for the road (not before opening every window in our rooms to air out the residual bikepacker funk, sorry guys!).
Once atop an old cc road we found the entrance to the private network. Classic VT singletrack rolled out before us. I’d call it rake- and-ride but it felt like neither had happened here in a while. A ribbon of cupped earth was apparent though and we covered ground quickly over the technical and punchy terrain. Within 1/2 hour I was smoked and ready to get back to the road. David was hammering as usual and the past three days were weighing on me. Maybe I should have trained more? Drank less? Slept later? David is a machine!
We exited the network and headed to the Old Center Fayston trails. We had heard about the riding in Fayston for years. The folks from the local trail stewardship, Mad River Riders, said they were fun trails worth the climb. Were they ever right!
Too Tight and Gumball descended from well up the valley wall and took us almost all the way down to the village of Waitsfield. Both have a well-ridden-in feel with wide and flowy singletrack with large chunks of weathered granite and root mats embedded in them. They were oldschool but were noticeably well manicured. We raced down, still in pursuit of Mr. Energy (David).
Bottoming out in a small neighborhood we found ourselves on the fringe of town. We were ready for some food and an obligatory lunch beer. I knew just the place. The Mad Taco is one of my favorite spots in VT. It is affordable, super flipping tasty, the hot sauce is actually hot, and the beer menu is stellar!
After a solid lunch we returned to the Wilder and packed up our stuff. For the rest of the day we would ride to Waterbury by way of an old double track. From Fayston we headed out on North Road, a scenic farm road that flanks the Mad River to the east. Eventually we merged with 100b in Moretown and then climbed north out of the valley up Stevens Brook road to Cobb Hill. This area represents some of the roots of the local cycling scene with many a local recounting tails of riding this misty stretch of road before mountain biking was even a thing. Cobb Hill petered out into a rough double track with lots of exposed bedrock and passed through a nice mini-notch before dropping us right into the south side of the village of Waterbury.
Once in the village we headed to tonight’s refuge, a massive and historic dinosaur of an inn called the Old Stagecoach Inn. Rumored to be haunted, the Stagecoach offered comfortable and somewhat spooky ambiance for very affordable rate. Tonight we’d be staying in the penthouse sweet, a large hostel style room over the street… but not before a hearty meal of BBQ and some Mezcal at Prohibition Pig!
Hill Farmstead Edward & Double Citra
Alchemist Focul Banger
A massive thanks goes out to Wilder Farm’s Luke Iannuzzi for his generosity and hospitality… even when we showed up three hours late, filthy, trail-weary and half in the bag. We owe you more than one. And thanks to John Atkinson for all the beta on the area. Our eyes were certainly opened to the magnitude of the Valley over our two day stay.