The 2018 Vermont Bike and Brew, sponsored by Killington Mountain Resort and MTBVT, is a wrap. And it was great! Riding for all abilities, pros to watch, great trails, a “Beast of a Bike Swap” and great beer made for a phenomenal event. Perhaps the coolest thing was the large number of people I met this year from all over who came back for a second go around after attending last year. Here’s an overview of what went down.
The event spans Friday – Sunday, with a kickoff part at the resort and a sundown ride at the nearby Green Mountain Trails in Pittsfield, VT. GMT is a local favorite, and the ride is guided by locals including the infamous Matt, GMT’s trail builder. Lights are a requirement, with the climb up the ~1000 feet of vertical starting at sundown.
Once arriving at the peak of GMT, riders were rewarded by beer and hotdogs which were roasted over an open fire. The crescent moon and Venus were dominating the sky in a duet as the final rays from sunset receded. We shared food, drinks, and stories; all of us brought together through mountain biking. Then, we descended through the darkness down Labyrinth, Warman, and Rabbit Hole. This route is nothing short of exhilarating at night, with only the trail directly in front of you illuminated. If you are returning next year, DO NOT miss this. It’s one of my favorite rides of the year.
Saturday Morning kicks off with a critical mass ride. Nothing starts of the day better than a hoard of bikers sending it down one of Killington’s biggest freestyle trails, Black Magic. The front of the pack is dominated by big senders. If you haven’t seen it before, check out Skills with Phil’s 2017 video of the ride. If you are not comfortable clearing these, might be worthwhile going down a few minutes early to find a safe spot off on the side to check out the action.
The rest of the day brings plenty more to do. The conditions this time of year are amazing, and Killington’s trail crew did an awesome job of prepping the mountain. If you haven’t explored Killington Bike Park before, that will keep you occupied all day. With three separate lifts serving a wide variety of terrain, there is plenty of flow and plenty of tech to be found. Additionally, Giant and Specialized were both present this year with fleets of bikes to demo around the mountain, and multiple other vendors were present showing their latest and greatest. Bands played all day at the base of Snowshed, adding to the bike party atmosphere. Plenty of events happen through the day, including an epic pond skinny ride contest and a whip off contest.
The whip off contest is a great opportunity for all to watch some high end biking. Conveniently located just about the Snowshed base area, it’s an easy 1 minute hike up with plenty of room to see the action from. Locals and pros alike compete for the most stylish whip for a cash prize. Regardless of your biking ability, this is a must see!
In addition to the on trail events, there is plenty happening off trail as well. The Vail Parking Lot is available for camping, and this year was stacked with tents and campers! There’s a 10pm bonfire on Saturday night here as well. Additionally, Killington sponsors the Beast of a Bike Swap, so check it out next year if you’re looking for a bike. There’s plenty of food, with Kegs and Eggs in the morning, the grill outside running all afternoon, and the Peak serving restaurant quality food. And, there’s beer!
Multiple local brewers were present this year with Vermont Brewers well represented. The brewfest crowd was super fun this year, with both locals and visitors alike enjoying the brews and exchanging bike stories. There was great beer with multiple local favorites present including Von Trapp, Foley Brothers, and Lawson’s to name a few.
The second annual Vermont Bike and Brew might be over, but if you missed it, make sure to look out for the third annual in June 2019. It’s a great time to ride world class trail, drink amazing beer, but most importantly, commune with a great bunch of riders. I hope to see you all next year!