Words & photos by Aaron Rohde
The Vermont Mountain Bike Festival 2014 once again took place at Ascutney Mt., home to some of the most challenging single track in VT. The three day festival was centered at the now defunct base lodge of the old ski resort. Remnants of chair lifts, old rental shops and hundreds of condo units stand as a reminder that our economy and environment are not what it once was.
Multiple group rides left the base area three times during the day, leading bikers out around a complex network of trails sidehilling the mountain. On the more advanced trails, mandatory, technical rocky climbs over narrow spines of rock challenged riders around every corner. For the beginner riders, groups headed out into the lower fields of the mountain for gentle flowing single track.
As with any festival, there are always plenty of fun and games. The Bike Olympics took place Saturday afternoon, after a delicious BBQ feast put on by Worthy Burger. Events included the mini bike race, bike limbo, and the huffy toss.
New this year was the unofficial skid contest that took place at midnight on Friday under the super moon. Although most festival attendees enjoyed the spectacle, there were a few who where offended and felt threatened by the shenanigans. Police were soon called in and the parking lot/campground was quieted.
Henry Burke crushed every event he participated in including the skid contest, mini bike race, and slow race. He quickly became overall champion of VMBAfest 2014.
Ascutney Trails are maintained by STAB (Sport Trails of the Ascutney Basin), a non-profit group. The 30 mile trail network is open year round for bikers, hikers, and skiers. For more information about STAB, visit their website at stab.org. If you missed the festival this year due to mid summer vacations, next years festival will be in August.