Day two started in the most scenic places, a.k.a. the Shrek Hut, at the top of the Green Mountain Trail system. Today we would ride from one our morning mountain top vista down to the valley below and back up the other side to Rochester.
I had visualizing this moment for six months: The minimalist bikepacking equipment, the aroma from the coffee, the breathtaking view, great friends and the serenity of being on top of the mountain in the early morning.
As Ryan mentioned in the first post I am a gear head. I had planned this trip for months. I made a lightweight stove and windscreen out of beer cans. My new windscreen worked great… maybe a bit too much. The heat is so concentrated that the handle became crazy hot and the alcohol boiled over. We almost set fire to the table.
Part of an expedition like this one is gear planning and I love gear planning! The warm temperature and the fact that we slept inside permitted us to travel light. We had only one set of riding clothes for the first days so it was important to keep them “stinkless”.
Everyone was having a great time except our dear Mojo. The long asphalt downhill from Killington took its toll on his paws. Three of them were severely damaged.
Poor Mojo could not even walk that morning. Isabelle made some protection from socks for Mojo and stayed behind with him and waited in Pittsfield for me to reach our car in Rochester and drive back up 3/4 of the mountain to pick them up.
Leaving Mojo and Isabelle at the hut we bombed down the flowy trails of Pittsfield. We rode Labyrinth, Warman, the new Rabbit Hole and finished with Noodles. This was the second time this year that we slept in a mountain hut on top of great trails and the next morning started with a great descent. We could get use to this! We rode awesome singletrack for the better part of an hour before reaching the bottom of the network.
We then reached the general store by the scenic trail that follows the river.
…for our second breakfast (hey,it was too early for beer even for us!).
Today we picked up a new member for our journey. Matt is the trail builder for Green Mountain Trails. We asked him to ride with us to Rochester and then we asked him if he wanted to do the whole thing with us. He said “Yeah, why not.” Then we asked him if he needed to stop by his house to pickup his stuff. He said “Nah, I should be alright!” Now that is lightweight bikepacking!
The Contest Trail was one of the first legal trails in the Green Mountain National Forest and it connects to Rochester. It starts as a very peaceful double track (if you can call major climbing peaceful) through majestic fields with a great view.
We even spotted last night’s hut at the top of the mountain behind us.
After signing a guestbook stashed in the middle of nowhere, the doubletrack got quite interesting. A nice singletrack was burned into the ancient doubletrack through a magnificent forest. That’s what’s great about bikepacking. You get to ride great double track trails like back in the days, trails that people now dismiss because they are not new school singletrack.
We got to Rochester by bombing down steep forest roads at great velocity. No berms or table tops here, just water bar jumps and pure speed. Hiyya!
Rochester is home to the local MTB hub, Green Mountain Bikes.
If you have not been there it’s totally worth seeing. In Coaticook, Québec we have the illuminated forest but here it’s the bicycle forest.
We took the rest of the day to clean up, relax, have a couple of beers and enjoy the unique atmosphere of Rochester.
We waited for the bike shop crew to finish work and we headed out for a shuttle ride.
After the great ride lead by the very friendly Kinley we grilled some food on the BBQ behind the bike shop and went to bed in our tents with our heads filled with great memories of riding and culture.
Distance Ridden: 24 Km\15 miles
Climbing: 356 m\1,170 Feet
Big ups to:
– Matt Baatz for joining the fray
– The lady at the Pittsfield General Store for showing JBP and Thibault the jumbo lip balm containers to be used as… em… something other than lip balm
– Green Mtn Bikes crew Doon, Dylan and Kinley our fearless shuttle driver and tour guide
– And the dude that let us use his grill
FULL DIRECTORY OF POSTS FOR THE TRIP
Day 1 – Killington to Pittsfield
Day 2 – Pittsfield to Rochester
Day 3 – Rochester to the Mad River Valley
Day 4 – MRV to Waterbury
Day 5 – Waterbury to Stowe
Day 6 – Stowe to Hyde Park
Prelude – The Great Green Mountain Single Track Traverse