Mt. Biking Schedule
Letters to the Editor
It reminded me of the last time I went mountain biking on the East Coast: I was nine years old, hightailing it home from the Smith's house on my Huffy banana saddle at dusk. The dirt road was closed and I didn't see the four-foot-high rope that hung across it, but it flicked me like a little booger off my long, sparkled seat.
Mountain biking did not exist when I was a kid back east in the '70s. Helmets? Clipless pedals? Shocks? More like a sissy bar behind the seat and playing cards in the spokes. Jumping ditches and laying rubber like Fonzie now that was cutting edge. It wasn't until I moved west in the early '90s that I was lucky enough to try off-trail rides on better bikes in awesome places like western Wyoming, northern Arizona and the birthplace of mountain biking, Marin County, California.
But I've seen a new light in the East, and it's in Vermont. Though it's no secret to the locals, Mount Snow hosts 45 miles of mountain bike terrain in the Green Mountain National Forest. If you're into downhill thrills, the Canyon Express lift provides access to singletrack, old town roads, and plenty of charging downhills and uphill grunts. The trail breakdown is 25% beginner, 25% intermediate and 50% advanced, including the brutally tough NORBA championship downhill course, with its infamously steep rock garden and intense, technical sections that tested even the best pro riders last month.
But after the championships were over, the crowds were gone, the chaos fell quiet, and the place was deserted. I kidnapped two fellow Zoners (whose names are being withheld to protect their identities), and we filled up on a grand slam breakfast at Dot's. With a little help from Josh and Spike at Crisports, we were ready for a wicked day of full-suspension riding. We started with a lift ride early in the morning and warmed up on trail #2 which winds through the northeast slopes of the mountain. We ducked into dark wooded sections, rode over classic root-sewn terrain, and emerged to grassy sections of meadow where we caught spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
I was instantly airborne. I looked down at my feet and noticed that they were still on the pedals, but the ground wasn't under them. Then I separated from my bike, sailed in slow motion for what seemed like an eternity, and finally hit the ground in the fetal position. I laid there for a minute (it seemed) before the bike landed on top of me. I thought, "Oh yeah, the bike."
Once we got back on track, the last rolling, tree-filled sections made me feel like a storm trooper from Return of the Jedi. It spit us out on the last section of the NORBA cross-country course, the same course where Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong crossed-over to compete in the mountain bike scene during this year's finals. Listen to Lance. The course had serious uphill and technical downhill sections representative of the variety of trails to play on at Mount Snow, and, no doubt, other sweet spots in Vermont.
And we figured if it's good enough for Lance Armstrong, it's good enough for a bunch of Zoners on their day off.
Michelle Quigley, trying to keep up for MountainZone.com