PART 4 – WAITSFIELD TO WATERBURY – THIBAULT POV 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 a historic farmhouse. Crawling out from under layers of blankets I stretched and headed down the century old stairs to the dining area where 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!
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.
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 Vermont. We took the rest of the day to ride to Waterbury by way of an old double track.
Once in the village we headed to the night’s refuge, a massive and historic dinosaur of an inn called the Old Stagecoach Inn.
****PART 5 – WATERBURY TO STOWE – LAUZON POV
Day five’s mission was a ride through time from Waterbury to Stowe. Waterbury is a great little town. It has everything: great restaurants, best beer selection and amazing trails. Since we were staying at the Old Stagecoach Inn we were right in the middle of it.
After breakfast we geared up and rode to the Perry Hill trails. We had done so much climbing on the trip so far that for once Perry Hill did not seem that bad. We rode a great combination of trails and then used the road to get to Little River State Park.
Little River State Park does not have specific mountain bike trails but it has some magic and historic double track. We rode back in time on old farming roads, passing one farm house still standing and many signs telling us the names of the families that used to lived where there are only ruins now.
At one point on the trail we had to choose between a very steep short cut or the gradual long cut. We chose the easy grade of the long cut and when we reached, after thirty minutes, the junction to that shortcut we realized that Matt missed the turn for Ricker Lot trail and bombed all the way down to the bottom at warp speed. Noooooo!
In about one minute he lost all the altitude we had slowly and painfully gained. I went back down for him and we had to climb back up the steep shortcut. What seemed too steep to ride at first was actually OK and we made it back up.
The couple of hours it took us to ride across Little River State Park really sent us through another dimension. We screamed down the last downhill and had to cross Cotton Brook, walking an I-beam on a bridge under construction, and then we were back into modern civilization. We rode some more singletrack in the famous Stowe loop system and then stopped for food in downtown Stowe.
With a belly full of good food and beer we put on helmet lights and rode back up to the Trapp Family Lodge. This was our longest day so far and the luxury of Trapp’s felt really good!
**** PART 6 – TO THE FINISH LINE – LAUZON POV
Day six promised singletrack galore with a ride starting at Trapp Family Lodge above the village of Stowe and east to Morrisville. We started the day feeling like rock stars. Mostly because we were hosted by Trapps for this trip and that place is just out of this world!
From Trapps, we started on the lodge spur trail to Tap Line and then up Growler…. what a great trail name! After zipping down Bobcat, an XC ski trail, we hit Hardy Haul for an awesome flowy downhill to the valley floor. This is the type of trail that makes this trip worthwhile. We used the Stowe bike path to reach the climb up Edson Hill Road and then proceeded to ride Weeks Hill Road, on which we saw many huge properties with very disturbing sculptures on their front lawn. Some were artsy and some were cartoons straight out of hell. Somebody please tell those privileged people what to do with their money.
We hopped on some very scenic maple house trails and witnessed again some great rusting farm tools.
We then rode toward the Sterling Valley network. I really enjoy the Sterling Valley trails, they are a great mix of old school trails and good new school flow. We rode eight bridges and then did a quick split rock loop. On a big day like this it would have been easy to skip this quick lollipop but the whole idea behind this trip was to ride as much singletrack as possible. After the split rock trail we used part of the Catamount Ski Trail to reach the Mud City trails. Sometimes riding beautiful and peaceful doubletrack is just as good as any flowy new school singletrack.
The Mud City loop would add a lot more singletrack to a long day but that’s what we were in for. We had to climb quite a bit to reach to top and then rode down. I had only ridden these trails once and had forgotten how good and long they are! After popping back up on the road from this white knuckle downhill we rode some dirt roads to the start of Tom G’s. In my mind Tom G’s was mostly downhill…boy was I wrong! Tom G’s is an awesome trail but we were getting very tired.
The last trail network for this whole trip was ahead of us: Cadys Falls and of course we had to climb to get to it.
We reached the antenna and I was following a friend’s hand drawn map. He did a great job providing us with direction but we screwed up anyway. The Cadys Falls network has Hank from Chuck’s Bikes to thank for a lot of work. Hank works so much on these trails and he has everything very clear in his head but we have heard of people going completely mindless crazy lost in this twisted maze. Some of them banged their heads to death on trees while others ate body parts to survive. It was getting dark and the only thing I could think of was that this is not a place you want to be so close to darkness and exhausted. We finally found our way down these cool trails and we knew that we were going to live another day. We then used the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail to reach Lost Nation Brewery, one of our favorite places on earth!
After many deserved Lost Galaxy white IPAs and some amazing food, we were ready to ride back on the rail trail to Ryan’s house. It’s funny when you have been riding so much for so long, you feel like you can do anything! I know Ryan’s back yard pretty well and I rode the singletrack from the Rail Trail to his house, drunk, many times but this time I got lost. At one point I had to call him on his cell phone.
“Hey buddy, I am kind of lost……”
“Where are you he said?” probably thinking about Cadys.
“I am …uh… sort of behind your house but I don’t recognize your singletrack!”
Funny that we found our way for 300 km on a new route but got lost in our friend’s backyard. We had to bushwhack back down and use the road.
Finally we were home, we’ve made it. We have linked a lot of VT’s best singletrack over a six day trip and it was an awesome adventure.
The trails are out there, go and make a adventure of out it!