Best Photo Yet

This photo is worth 1,000 words. But I only wrote 316 even though there was a near-death experience involved.

One of our favourite pics from the past few weeks (besides the blue-angel chicken) was taken during the mother of all storms. (Or, at the very least, the great-aunt of all storms.)

Patrick Kell, the president of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association, took us on a tour of his preferred stomping ground in Waitsfield and it turned out to be one of our best days yet – despite the lightning, hail, hurricane-force winds and curtain of rain that made visibility near impossible.

Ironically enough we were storming down the Cyclone trail, located south-west of Waitsfield village, when a micro-burst weather system touched down (think sideways tornado that acts like a steam roller). In communities a few miles away trees were being snapped in half but luckily we only had to contend with lightning and a deluge of rain.

I was bringing up the rear when lightning cracked overhead so close my eight chest hairs stood straight out. I stopped under a tree and then realized that was stupid. So I got back on my metal bike (much smarter) and tried to outrun it all. This is Ryan’s account of what happened next:

“When lightning struck the ridge, I looked back to see if Vince was a smoldering pile of flesh and melted metal behind me. I didn’t see any carnage but I did see one of the best vistas ever – an emerald fern forest surrounded by a ghostly pine stand. I took out my camera and prayed for 2 things: #1. That Vince wasn’t dead and would quickly bike into the frame. #2: That the deluge of rain wouldn’t ruin my camera.”

Eventually I did ride into the frame, Ryan did get the shot, and we did get ourselves to the Local Folks Smoke House pub where we rinsed ourselves off under the eaves and then warmed up with Pabst and Jack. And Ryan’s camera did start working again after it dried out a day later.

– By Vince Hempsall

Vince & Nat before the tsunami
Ryan showering the mud off under the eaves

Warming up with PBR after the ride

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