When entering Montgomery, be prepared to have your connection to civilization cut. No matter how much you pray to AT&T or Comcast, your phone is as good as a 90’s graphing calculator. Once you get past that realization, you can get 100% into bike mode. First stop you should make is The Jay Cloud.
Since the trail network is borderline illegal and non mapped, getting into the meat of things can be a challenge. If you do venture out, keep an eye open for trails signs like BoDo X and Odie (yes, dog’s names). For further guidance, you can swing by The Jay Cloud. Drop off at least a sixer of some tasty brew and maybe one of the shops extraordinary employees might draw you a map, maybe.
Their annual Grateful Treads “Steal Your Wheel” MTB Fest, is the perfect opportunity for bikers looking to explore this region. The festival kicked off on a Friday Evening this year with shuttle rides to the Race Course, which showcases some of the sicker lines in the trail network. Loaded with doubles, rock hits, roots and fast & flowy sections, the race course will put a smile on any bikers’ face. With the help of the shuttle, getting to know the trail was as easy as 1 2 3. If you are thinking about checking out the event, don’t miss Friday night next year.
After a fun evening of shredding, there is no better way to experience Montgomery than to hang on the porch of the Jay Cloud Shop. With perfect views of downtown Montgomery, you can watch teams of Canadian Road Bikers ride by, locals driving their 4 wheelers to the local grocery store, near miss fender benders caused by lost tourists, and plenty of good people watching.
With any bike fest there are the hard core and the more recreational bikers. The Montgomery Trails offered a nice mellow adventure loop that winds through fields with views of Jay Peak and into windy single track, snaking through woods thick with ferns. A nice leisurely ride ends back at the Jay Cloud Shop.
More experienced riders got to experience epic crashes, rock drops, rooty climbs in the rain, fast runs through slick rocks, mud in the face, flats, and serious discussions about safety. With only one serious casualty, Saturday morning left everyone with happy feelings.
After a brief mid-day rain shower, kid’s rides departed for some fun loops, as well as a quick shuttle run. Those burnt out from the morning ride refueled with burgers, dogs, and anything else they could consume. After a few rounds of Caesars and beers, pain from the morning ride was forgotten and round two set out to do another loop around the network.
As with any bike festival, you’ve got to add some entertainment. The Bike Rodeo that took place in the Big Jay Tavern provided just that. With several events that tested balance, dexterity strength and endurance. The events included riding a balance beam while kids launch water balloons at you, tire rodeo, and the huffy huck. With the draw of a cash prize, almost everyone in attendance participated. With the help of a few adult beverages and tasty food, participants where fueled up with courage to tackle these seemingly simple events. After some fun crashes and water ballon mishaps, the night winded down with high fives all around.
Sunday afternoon gave riders a chance to explore some of the legal trails in the Jay Town Forest. These trails are geared more for beginners and intermediates. Plans are underway to expand this area to include flow trails and features that can be enjoyed by the more experienced riders.
All in all, the Grateful Tread bike fest shouldn’t be missed by anyone who has every wondered if there are any good trails near Jay Peak.