A few weeks ago, we headed up to Kingdom Trails in Vermont for two days of riding and one night of camping.
I first heard of Kingdom Trails the first summer I learned how to mountain bike (four years ago now), but it was well worth the wait. Not only were the trails better and more extensive than I could have imagined, but I think that by waiting until my skills improved, I got way more out of the experience. We did a whole bunch of black diamond trails that even last year I’m not sure I would have wanted to do.
We camped at Burke, the downhill mountain, and rode down Moose Alley the first day to get to Kingdom Trails proper. It’s a mostly downhill trail with plenty of technical stuff, but I was doing well until my bike slipped out from under me on a root. I ended up with a nice contusion on my hip which is still healing (it’s at the fading greenish stage right now) but it didn’t impact my riding at all and at least I got the worst fall out of the way early. I also managed to fall off a bridge going up Burnham Down on the second day, but there was no lasting damage from either incident.
I couldn’t believe how many trails they have there. We rode for two days and did 19 miles the first day and 21 the second and only repeated a couple of trails (and that was by choice). Even still, we didn’t make it to all of them.
My phone died both days before it had finished tracking. I’d never mountain biked that many miles in a day, never mind back to back. I really think that it made me a much better rider though. I was so tired both days by the end of the ride, but we still had to bike back up to the campsite. Pushing through the exhaustion and using the last of my energy reserves made me realize that I’ve improved so much since the start of the season. I still make a few stupid mistakes when I’m really tired (like falling off a bridge…), but not nearly as many as I used to. I think a lot of that has to do with the Ride Like a Girl clinics this summer and all the skills I picked up there. Twice weekly group rides with faster, more experienced people also pushed me.
The weather was perfect while we were there, in the mid 70s and nice and sunny. It was warm in the sun and just right in the woods.
The trails were so well maintained and the bridges were so well constructed. It was my first time seeing a bermed bridge! We couldn’t have asked for better. It was everything I hoped it would be, and more, and we met some pretty awesome people (and dogs!) out on the trails. My local bike tech complains that Kingdom Trails has become too civilized, but it never felt super busy to us. Granted, it was midweek, but there were tons of cars in the parking lots and we only ran into a handful of people out on the trails. I’m already looking forward to a repeat trip next summer.