Last weekend, which was Labor Day weekend, Cathy and I did a last hurrah run to Kingdom Trails for a day of fun on the mountain bikes. We made the trip up a couple of times this year and had excellent adventures each of time. We spent the weekend in Maine so it was a slightly shorter trip over.
Saturday was pegged as the best weather and although we'd initially planned to head on Friday (we made it a long, long weekend), we ended up with chores to take care of on Friday in Maine. When we arrived Thursday evening, the phone and thus DSL, was out. The phone company couldn't get anyone out until Friday AM so we had to hang around. It gave me a chance to mow the lawn anyhow.
Mid day on Friday after the line was fixed, we did a short local MTB ride up behind the house. This included some overgrown snowmobile trail and a good climb up some dirt access road to the height of the land. We then got adventurous and dipped down some ATV trail, which basically died out behind a house.
Rather than head back up the mountain, we snuck out to the road down a private drive thinking nobody was home. Wrong, but we didn't stop to chat. We then descended, figured out where we were and climbed back up the mountain on a different route. This culminated in a swamp in one direction and a blackberry thicket in the other. We braved the thicket and managed to get back onto the trail from whence we came. Then the rain came. Good fun though.
Saturday AM we headed to VT early. Upon arrival at KT we parked and were getting changed when who but the Seibs, who have a place just a few miles from us in Maine, pull in beside us. Coincidence. We chatted and discussed rides and routes and I assumed we would be on our separate ways. However, as it worked out, they decided to split their party into groups that aligned well with Cathy and I and so we got the opportunity to ride together with Don, the kids and old friend George.
They entrusted me to lead and so we started with a trip up the mountain, first on the access road and then up CampTown trail. From there we did DeadMooseAlley and made our way cross slope toward MooseAlley. Trail conditions were great despite the rain. From there we shot over to WhiteSchool which brought us back to town. We then hit some of the East flank of DarlingHill but cut it short to head down and rendezvous for lunch. Cathy and I split a Thanksgiving sandwich and soon we were back out on the trails.
The afternoon saw a different pairing with Cathy, the kids and Kristen in one group and Don, George and I in the other. The plan was to cover some ground and we did. Heading out I saw HillJunkie Doug J., who had done the Burke Mountain BUMPS climb that AM. On our plan was more East DarlingHill including all the good XC trails like LeatherWood, RiverWood (where we saw a young black bear sitting on a boardwalk) and EastBranch. A few more trails and we crossed over to the West side of DarlingHill to the far South.
Webs, SideWinder and then we made tracks for the North end. At the bottom of Tap-n-Die we bumped into Cathy's group, who was still on the go with no plans to stop, as well as friends Keith and Emily who were up for the weekend. The fact that everyone else was still going strong gave new incentive to continue, though George was certainly feeling the burn at that point, and had been for a while. We climbed out on TrollStroll and at the top, Don blew his rear hub out. George was done as well so I ventured off solo to pack in some miles.
I managed to get most of the good stuff in the NorthWest section and was moving South when I bumped into Cathy who had also been deserted. I told her I still had an hour plus in me but she was done, heading out. We parted and I ripped down TrollStroll then climbed back out and hit Tody'sTour.
From there I cruised steadily south and picked up a shadow. I didn't look back but someone jumped on and was hanging right tight to my wheel, which I thought was pretty cool as I was moving at a good steady pace. After riding a couple of trails I stopped to see who it was, half expecting that it would be someone that I knew. Turned out to be a young rider from Montreal who was down for the day. We chatted a bit then headed off for some more.
Up and out and one more run down SideWinder where 1/2 way down I burped the rear tire badly losing most of the air but keeping it upright and keeping the bead on. I aired up with the pump and told him I'd try and catch. I got up to him on the climb out, by short-cutting some switchback, but the toll of the long day was hitting me hard. At the top of Webs we parted and I made my way back via some more singletrack on the East side of DarlingHill. By the time I hit EastBranch I was spent. My hands hurt, my legs were junk and I was ready to be done. A beeline to back to EastBurke via VAST and I was done. Cathy was sitting there with some other friends, Keith and Emily, drinking a beer. We sat and enjoyed the day a while longer then packed up for the trip back to Maine.