Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Anarchy in The NEK Part One

After riding the massive ascents and rooty descents of Waitsfield with Whittingham last Thursday good food was eaten and good beers were drunk. In the morning we loaded up on coffee and breakfast sandwiches and hit the winding roads to meet up with Sanidas and company in East Burke. The rendezvous at East Burke Sports was made and Cars and bikes were shuttled back and forth, leaving us enough vehicles down in the valley to get us back up the insanely steep hill to the campground on Burke Mountain at the end of the day.

The first time I rode the Kingdom trails, about ten years ago, we made the mistake of riding out of the campground (which was really odd because I rarely make mistakes). Five hours and however many miles later we ended up at the Pub Out Back for beers. When it came time to ride back up to the campground, we realized the error of our plan. Not this time around, these guys are pros, they had the system dialed.

We started our epic day of playing on bikes in the woods on the mountain, shuttling right up to the top so we could hit all the sweet stuff on the way down, like D.H. run and Dead Moose Alley (pardon me if my trail names aren't accurate, I didn't look at a map all weekend, I was too busy looking at the wheel in front of me). Jeff, Andy, and I were on our hard-tail 29ers, while everyone else was on big, squishing bikes. It was a major challenge to try to hang with these guys, I got in over my head more than once. I always feel like the technical beatdown does me good though. After a couple days chasing these nutters around, I feel wicked Jedi, the force is very strong within me.

The past few times I've been up to the NEK, the trails on the mountain have been closed due to wetness, so I was stoked that we got to hit them. Although I might not recommend the D.H. trail for XC dorks. I was lucky to escape that one alive. Dead Moose Alley though, that run is killer.

Adjusting to having the Helmet Hero on was tough. I might have to look into the chest mount dealy. This wasn't the only time I caught a low bridge. I'm convinced the added weight makes my neck ache. I got big problems, I know.

Bill was ripping the descents. He had cleaned a billion hairy moves with conviction, when out of nowhere, something grabbed his foot and sent him flying into the pricker pushes. He came to rest in a patch of softness, somehow missing the large log that was lying right across his debris path. It was impressive, and terrifying.

The big-squishy bikers came up with name "Menage a Niners" to describe Andy, Whittingham, and me. We did our best to enforce negative stereotypes about XC-Dork-29er riders by doing things like rolling a couple extra miles back into town to fuel up while the rest of the crew pulled picnic baskets and deck chairs from their enormous camel-bags on the trail. But, in our defense, while they sucked down perpetuem and gagged on energy bars, we feasted on Italian sandwiches and Fritos, washed down with ice cold PBR.

Done with the DH-ing portion of the day, we headed down to the valley.

Charlie would fight a bitter battle with a greasy convenience store egg-sandwich the whole day through. The egg sandwich would prove victorious.

Chris and Peter, the men in white. You can get away with wearing white when you have the super-mutant-ability to leap the largest of mud puddles.

Andy ices his hematoma, brought to him courtesy of a tree on the Sidewinder trail, smiling as always. He would live to ride another day.

We were really roughing it. Dueling Macbooks Pros with Helmet Hero footage from the day. People made fun at first, but within minutes the whole posse was gathered around, drinking Long Trails and watching their very recent exploits. Chris' Helmet Hero HD definitely kicks my non-HD cam's wide-angled buttocks.

And ya, we stayed up way too late, drinking way too many PBRs... and something about a bottle of tequila that wouldn't die.

The really exciting stuff happened on day two, but that's a story for another day, perhaps a Thursday.


Ryan said...

The one time I had fun on a mountain bike it was in East Burke in 2003. On a Trek 6000, with toe clips, a jersey too big for me and a pair of Adidas soccer shorts.

That place is magical.

George said...

You guys weren't tough enough to ride to the campground from town after your epic ride?

Big Bikes said...


that is a sad story, you should ride mountain bikes more often than that. Try Willowdale in Ipswich, MA. It has Kingdom-like flow.


you'll be happy to know that I did ride up to the campground after day two. In the driving rain. After my third five hour ride in three days. Ow-owee-ow.

George said...

It's that last pitch up on the toll road that really sucks. I hope you at least took the secret low entrance to the campground

jeff said...


i'm free every thursday thom.

where next!?

15hrs of hard mtn biking followed by a mtb race. dude, you're a bit crazy. you know that, right?

where's the golf ball sized hailstone story, that shit must have been nuts!