Winter arrived here in VT over the last couple of weeks. Heavy, wet snow has blanketed the state. In BTV we have been spared the power outages and downed trees, some parts of the state went without power for 3-4-5 days. I’ve been rolling when I can between lots of travel for work and family. Put some studded tires on the Krampus after some sketchy riding in the GMNF. The 45Nrth 2.35″ Nicotines really grip – although you need to find the sweet spot of pressure – too much and the side knobs don’t grip the ruts on the dirt roads, too little, and it can be a real slog on pavement or hardpack.
Archive for the ‘vermont’ Category
I snuck out for some early winter riding in the Green Mountain National Forest. I had visions of a larger loop – but after sliding around on the hardpack / ice (primarily going downhill) from last nights sleet / rain I cut it short at about 15 miles. Steam Mill, Natural Turnpike, and a bit of exploring down the road to Spark’s Landing.
The Krampus is fast becoming my favorite bike… it just feels right in so many situations. I can’t wait to get my dyno light back from warranty, and if I had warmer gear I’d be planning some winter bikepacking trips. The Knards did admirable in the snow – but the frozen sort of iced hardpack was a bit unnerving. They wash out in deeper snow, but roll really well on hardpack and the snow that gets trampled on dirt roads. They can’t compare to a Nate on the Pugsley for grip, but the Nate cannot compare to the Knard for nice rolling. I’m hoping the Maxxis Chronicles become available in the spring stateside – they look like a good mud / slop / snow tire for 29+ and for general trail riding. The Knard would be a gt to for forest road / dirt road / tame single track bikepacking.
Greg, Wil and I did some exploring last weekend up to and through Cotton Brook. On our way into the park we met up with another Will, who I know from a MTB forum and through email chatter about gear and riding in VT. Will slept out the night before, and rode down to meet us at the park entrance. Greg was riding his new-to-him Mukluk – so he took every opportunity to ride up and over logs, rocks and roots.
Cotton Brook is a drainage east of Bolton and north of Little River State Park. Its all good fun – lots of terrain that I’ve explored on the bike and on skis. There is also alot of history here – old farmsteads, cemeteries, a sawmill, and lots of logging roads.
There was some snow on the ground up high, and we encountered some soggy sections of trail – but overall we had a good time exploring. Through some pre-planning on my GPS we found a few ‘missing link’ trails that might yield some Type 2 backcountry exploring / overnighting – its a goal of mine to link Nashville Rd, the trails at Libby’s Lookout, and Bolton Notch over to Cotton Brook / Little River. We added another small piece to the puzzle – and now need to confirm how gnarly the terrain gets, and see how we can tap into it from the Bolton side.
We covered about 16 miles and climbed 4100′. And I brought my stove, so we knocked out Coffeeneuring Ride #… 6 or 7. But I didn’t take any pictures of our rest stop – so it never happened.
Greg, Wil and I did a S24O to Groton State Forest last weekend. Rain, sleet, some snow. Temps in the 30s during the day and 20s overnight. Dirt road, single track, double track, and forest ‘roads’, with a bit of pavement in the middle. About 16 miles each day, we started late on Saturday due to everyone’s family commitments, and we actually, for the first time in my S24O history made it to camp with daylight left over. Which was needed – as we rode in the rain / snow on and off through the afternoon and needed a good place to camp, and to build a fire to ward off the chill.
We rolled out of Greg’s place and tackled Jerusalem Rd. This started out as dirt road, then went to Class 4 road, then went to double track filled with rocks. Great fun, even going up and over. Near the top there was some recent logging, so the ‘road’ was in better shape, and we enjoyed the descent to Marshfield Pond.
We had snow and sleet up top, and at our next intersection we snacked a bit, enjoyed the view from the pond, and took off on RR East – a road / trail along the old Wells River railbed. We had 2 trucks pass us, a hunter, and another out for a ‘smoke’. Was interesting riding up in no man’s land.
We eventually dropped onto VT 232 for about a half mile of pavement to Kettle Pond. We thought about walking back into a lean to for camp – but with daylight left and the rain and snow only a minor nuisance we decided to press on to Osmore Pond, via Telephone Line trail – a ‘multi use’ path – but really a leaf covered slippery single track. We spent about half an hour actually finding the trail – but once located we made quick work of the climbing to the northern end of Osmore Pond.
Eyeing a picnic shelter with a huge fireplace, we called it a day, and began collecting wet, soggy wood, and changing into dry gear. Fire ensued, and after some careful stacking, lighting, and fussing, we had a roaring fire to warm us as we ate dinner.
Wil brought a bivy, I had my 30d down bag and e-bivy, and Greg brought his ancient synthetic winter bag. We all had insulated sleeping pads. The concrete of the shelter was damned cold though – even seeping through my riding shoes. Greg and I decided we would sleep atop picnic tables, and Wil quickly joined, moving his bivy and bag on top in the middle. We then tipped up the remaining tables in the shelter to block what wind we could… which worked for the most part. We stoked the fire and stocked it up late (for us, on a cold, wet night – until about 9pm), then turned in for the night.
I lent Greg my e-bivy as he was worried about being cold, and I have had successful nights with my gear down into the low 20s. I slept cold, a bit too cold that night, and I regretted a bit handing over my gear – but Greg was comfortable, which means he’ll keep pushing into shoulder seasons with us. The fire was glowing coals in the morning – and with Greg working a bit we had a warm fire to eat our breakfast by.
We rolled out the dirt access road, found a short cut trail, and did a few miles on pavement to connect to RR East. From there it was a mellow, but scenic and mostly downhill run into Plainfield, where we had designs on second breakfast some 16 miles later.
For an overnight, pushing the boundaries of weather, cold, and new gear – it was a great time. There is a ton to explore in Groton State Forest and surrounding central Vermont, and I can’t wait to get back. The Krampus, with its Revelate kit performed flawlessly. Even in the wet the tires gripped when needed, and the 3″ Knard softened my ride and had me rolling up and over all the obstacles the trails through at me. I have some ideas on streamlining my kit further – primarily dealing with GPS, camera, and my yet to be built dyno / charging switch. I also discovered that the matches in my waterproof kit that have been tucked away for years in my kitchen bag were all duds, likely just aged out… thankfully my fire starter and my stove allowed us to get the fire going without incident.
Wil, Greg and I did a S36O to Silver Lake. Road, dirt road, trail, and single track to Lake Dunmore, then we found the Minnie Baker trail and connected to Chandler Ridge. We rode the ridge as the sun was getting low in the sky, and made it to camp at dusk.
Our plan was to camp and then ride out exploring some VAST and MTB trails that connect up to Brooks Road and then ride the high dirt roads to Lincoln and Bristol. That plan changed when I realized I lost my brand new Showers Pass Crossover Jacket somewhere on the ridge trail. We checked my camera to verify I didn’t leave it in the truck, and found a spot where we thought it might have ejected. I opted to leave it, not wanting to alter the trip, and I wasn’t confident we would find it. The boys voted to not let my jacket remain lost in the woods.
The change of plans had us riding more single track out – the Leicester Hollow trail. Wil move on ahead and ditched his camping kit and blitzed the south end of the ridge trail, back to where I thought I lost it. He found it far far away from where I thought it would be – but returned with it tucked into his jersey.
We then opted to roll into Middlebury for breakfast / lunch and not try to regain the high ground and ride our original route.
Even with the changes we had a great time. Covered ~74 miles with plenty of climbing, roots, rocks, dirt and a beautiful sunset.
Snuck in an S24O last weekend. Drove part way, and traversed road, dirt road, TAM (trail around Middlebury), forest road and single track to Silver Lake in the GMNF. Came into the forest service campground via the Leicester Hollow Trail – a rocky, root fun ride of single track.
Made camp and dinner, enjoying a Heady Topper that I packed in ice for the trip. After hanging my food I tucked in for the night and listened the the loons, the owls, and the small critters that tried to steal my dinner when I got up to rearrange some gear. Awoke early and enjoyed the view of the lake, before taking off for the car.
I was going to ride out the campground road, or explore some VAST and MTB trails to VT Rt. 125, but after walking up some steep gravel decided to roll back down the Falls of Lana trail and get to Middlebury for some real food.
~70 miles round trip to the car, and I actually completed the trip within 24 hours of leaving home.