Mountain Biking Getaway Weekend in Vermont

This past weekend was pretty epic! Jordan and I went to Vermont with our good friends for some mountain biking in Vermont. We left Friday morning, arrived in the Northeast Kingdom around noon and hit the trails. We started the weekend at Victory Hill near Kingdom Trails. There is one main double track climbing trail that leads to all of the other trails in the network (there aren’t that many), but most are downhill-style trails with lots of roots and rocks. I did two runs, mostly because I was tired of climbing after the first climb and wanted to save my legs for Kingdom Trails the following day. I rode Leifs and Mac Attack, both of which I found challenging but rideable (for me!). I’m finding that I’m a lot more comfortable on descents and just despise grueling climbs.

After the ride, we went to stock up on groceries for the weekend and then headed to our rental house, which was a sweet place right near Burke Mountain. The next morning we made breakfast and hit Kingdom Trails, which we could ride to right from our door. The day started out cool and cloudy, but eventually cleared up. It was a great day of riding. We covered about 12 miles with 1,400 feet of climbing until I rode up and over the end of a berm and crashed, landing on my knee! I was not wearing my knee pads (mistake!) so I chose to end my ride and wait for our group at Mike’s Tiki Bar.  Highlight of the day: descending down Moose Alley (and managing to stay on my bike!). Runners up include Sky Dive and Nose Dive, which were fun trails too.

 

 

Jordan and the rest of the group continued riding and finished up around 5:30. After enjoying some craft beverages at the Tiki Bar, we headed back to the rental for dinner! The guys grilled up some brats and burgers, a perfect way to refuel.

The next morning it was below freezing, so we decided to go to the Lyndon Diner for quick and cheap breakfast and wait for the temps to rise a bit. Deciding against a second day at Kingdom (sadly) we drove to Barre, Vermont to ride at Millstone Trails, located in a granite quarry. This was where I rode a mountain bike for the very first time two years ago! It was fun to go back as a more experienced rider, even though the trails here are so difficult, I was rarely riding the bike.

(Below= a portion of the trail I could actually ride!) Highlight of the day: riding down roller coaster at the end of the day.

Total miles for the weekend: ~ 25 (the most for me on a mountain bike)
With every ride I gain more confidence, push myself to conquer obstacles on the bike and become a better rider. I never thought this day would come, but I’ve left running behind for a greater thrill. Mountain biking has become my sport of choice as of late and I’m looking forward to sharing many more mtb adventures!

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Covered Bridges Half Marathon

Covered Bridges Half Marathon

The Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Vermont is race I’d been wanting to run for a while. Boasting scenic views of green mountains, rolling pastures and three covered bridges, Jenna, Meredith, John and I signed up months ago. Last Saturday Jenna and I drove up to White River Junction with a stop near Killington for a short 3 mile hike called Deer Leap Overlook.

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Part of the trail to Deer Leap meets up with the Appalachian Trail–how cool!

The famous white blaze of the AT

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There was a rewarding view for such a short hike!

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After the little hike we met up with Meredith and John at Long Trail Brewery, one of my favorites! Can you tell why?

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We each got a sampler and went out to their back patio to enjoy the scenic views–it sits right next to the Ottauquechee River.

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We also enjoyed some pre-race snacks–nachos and the best truffle fries I’ve ever had. But anyway-I’m here to talk about the race! We stayed in White River Junction, a short drive from where we parked for the race in Quechee. After parking, we had to get shuttled to the start in the quaint town of Woodstock, Vermont.

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Oh, and it was raining…

The weather ranged from lightly misting to full on rain all throughout the race. I was semi-prepared and had a visor, thank goodness. I hate rain in my face!

The only covered bridge we actually ran on

They weren’t lying–the race was scenic! It was probably one of the prettiest I’ve run.

I was worried that it was going to be super hilly. I didn’t look into the course so I didn’t know what to expect. Thankfully there were only two major hills, neither of which were a big deal.

Around mile 10 I was starting to get cold and was wishing for some dry clothes and shoes-thankfully there was only 3.1 miles left.

I finished in 2:19:15–not too bad three weeks out from running a marathon and a half.

There was also delicious ice cream at the finish! Along with a Harpoon Beer. They actually had a decent selection of about six different beer flavors to choose from. I chose the pale ale with mango…yum!

Thankfully our hotel allowed a late checkout so we all had time to go back and shower and change into warm clothes. Overall it was a great race despite crappy weather. It was still beautiful. I’d highly recommend this race!

Race elevation chart

 

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Cycling Around South Hero Island, Vermont

Last week Jordan and I went on vacation to his family’s camp in South Hero, Vermont on Lake Champlain. The camp is right on the water and we got to enjoy many days sitting by the lake and enjoying some really pretty views.

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We drove into Burlington one night to catch the sunset and go out to dinner.

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It was one of the prettiest I’ve seen!

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We also spent a lot of time road biking! On Tuesday, we rode all around South Hero Island.

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We biked a total of Total of 38.4 mi around the island!
Total moving time:  2:50:30
Elevation gain: 1,050 ft

The views were gorgeous all over the island. Lots of these guys were hanging around.

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On Thursday we went for another ride. This time we rode to the bike ferry about 10 miles from the camp! The ferry took the us and the bikes to the other side of Lake Champlain so we could ride the bike path to Burlington.

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Riding along the Island Line Trail was gorgeous!

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Total distance: 43.1mi
Moving time: 3:30:24

We had such a lovely vacation! It was relaxing and I got to spend some quality time with my favorite guy.

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New Adventure: Winterbike 2015

At the end of February, Jordan invited me to go to Vermont with him and a few of his friends for Winterbike.

I didn’t know mountain biking on snowy trails in the winter was a thing until I met Jordan. He has his own fat bike and it’s pretty awesome. Fat bikes have huge tires that are bigger than your average mountain bike’s and they are meant for riding over any terrain.

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Since I don’t have a fat bike, Jordan rented me one from the local bike shop up in East Burke-a Salsa Mukluk.

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The festival was held at Kingdom Trails, a nordic adventure center that has groomed winter biking trails. It was gorgeous!

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We rode on the trails for a couple hours and I crashed a lot! But when I crashed I just fell into the deep snow banks, so I didn’t get hurt. It was fun!

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Jordan is pretty much a pro at fat biking. 😉

When we were done riding, we went to get out free beer that was included with the Winterbike ticket.

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Fat bikers sure do love their beer (as do runners!) It was so weird to be surrounded by so many of them. It was kind of like the same feeling of community I get after a race, surrounded by runners. Our tickets also included a lunch at a local restaurant,  after we ate I had to bring back the bike rental to the bike shop. Sad!

We all stayed at the WilloBurke Inn & Lodge, a few minutes away from Kingdom Trails. It was such a cute place to stay. The rooms were nice and clean, and the lobby was cozy (fireplace!). The view from our room was pretty sweet, too. They also included breakfast the next morning.

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We hung out around the inn until dinnertime. We went to a restaurant called Tamarack Grill located right at the Burke Mountain ski resort. The food was tasty but unfortunately I don’t have any pictures.

It was an awesome winter getaway to Vermont! And I got to try something new, which is always good. The weekend was perfect and I can’t wait to go on more adventures like it!

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More Burlington Highlights

So, on Sunday after the marathon, we showered and changed. Then Loretta, Tina (Loretta’s relay partner) and I went to the Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington.

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They had a lot of cool merchandise and were letting us sample four of their beers. We each got a punch card for the sampler. The samples were free, we just had to tip the bartender. The Elder Betty, one of their summer beers, was my favorite!

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There weren’t any tours on Sunday, but we got to go look around at the factory from above.

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I kind of wish we could have had a pint of beer or two, but the samples were all we got. Blah.

Monday morning, the sun finally came out in Burlington! Loretta and I went back to Church street for breakfast.

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We found Henry’s Diner, which seemed like a reliable option! I was in need of hearty breakfast! I ordered the veggie skillet, which came out in an actual cast iron skillet! Home fries, veggies, eggs and an amazing whole wheat toast! The toast was my favorite, it was nice and thick!

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Henry's Diner on Urbanspoon

After breakfast we went back down to the Waterfront to finally see Lake Champlain in the sunlight! It was beautiful! The race course was on the bike path right on the lake like this. If it had been sunny we would have had these views. I remember during the race I had to force myself to look out at the lake to take advantage of the view. At that point looking at the scenery wasn’t my top priory since it was the last half of the race.

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At least I got to see it on a nice day! We headed home shortly after. I loved Burlington! I would definitely go back and I’m considering running the marathon relay next year since I loved this race so much.

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