Event Announcement and Call for a Volunteer: Goldsprints at VMBA Festival, July 21-23 at Mount Ellen

I'm not a mountain biker. I haven't been one in years. I own approximately eleventy million bikes, but none of them would qualify today as a true "mountain bike." The closest one is my grocery-getter; a converted 1996ish Trek 930, which , If I have to admit, I have "mountain biked" on from time to time: 

So does that make me a mountain biker? I don't know, maybe. I certainly appreciate that the place where that photo was taken is right in my backyard, and I really appreciate that volunteers from Fellowship of the Wheel, a chapter of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association, put their time and effort into designing, permitting, and building it. 

My son, who I'm not really stoked to have on the road with me on his own bike yet, certainly appreciates it: 

And I'd anticipate his interest will lead me back into the woods eventually, probably tipping me over the edge to at least buying and riding a fatbike like his! Meanwhile, the mountain biking "scene" in Vermont has exploded compared to where things were back when my dad and I were lugging our rides through logging roads and whatever pieces of land had something that looked like a "trail" on them. Today, all of the various chapters of VMBA are hard at work, on the trails, on the access, on the landowner relationships and on the community. It's a wonderful thing! 

So that's why I was stoked when VMBA invited me to come down to their festival this coming weekend and set up goldsprints. I can almost guarantee we'll have the skinniest tires at the entire 'fest!

In addition to meeting lots of new people and hopefully getting them stoked on the Vermont Goldsprints project and mission, we'll be raising donations for Del's Ride and giving out prizes from Old Spokes Home, DrinkMaple, and others. What's Del's Ride? Glad you asked: 

"Del's Ride is a single-track mountain bike event and trail run to benefit Cure AHC in support of 8-year-old Delaney Johnson of Essex Junction, VT. 

Delaney has a debilitating disorder known as Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC) and epilepsy. There is no cure or 100 percent effective treatment for AHC, which is characterized by recurrent episodes of temporary paralysis, often affecting one side of the body (hemiplegia)."

I'll be at VMBA fest Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, for the duration. What about you?

That's not a rhetorical question. In exchange for bringing the sprints, VMBA has generously offered me a free "family" entry to the festival and I could really use a buddy for some or all of the days to help with setup and teardown. When you're not helping me, you could, I dunno, go for a bike ride or something? If you're interested, hit me up on the contact page

See you there,

Matt 

Event Announcement: Goldsprints at Skinny Pancake; Tuesday June 27

Hey everybody-

We do a lot of sprinting in the winter, but if you're looking for a stationary bike racing fix this week, you could do a lot worse than coming on down to Green Drinks at the Skinny Pancake on the waterfront on Tuesday June 27 from 6-8PM.

I'm going to be outside with the bikes, the rollers, and the laptop, taking times, officiating grudge matches, and handing out prizes from Old Spokes Home. It will be a fun night of bikes, drinks, and camaraderie!

See you there, 

Matt

Where did you ride last week? Das Commute Edition

As much as I wish all of my rides were "epic" in some capacity, the truth is that many of my miles are at the bookends of my working day in Williston Village, riding between there and my home in the heart of South Burlington. 

At its shortest, it's about five and a half miles. There's a six-mile version that can take advantage of some off-street multi-use paths, but it's not quite as quick and I'm not usually one to have lots of extra time in my day.  The commute looks like this on a map: 

Not very pleasant or exciting, but it gets the job done. 

Not very pleasant or exciting, but it gets the job done. 

That's what I do 99% of the time. I sometimes find myself looking to sneak in a few more miles and a bit more climbing. Other than the slightly-different six-mile route, which has no real "bang for the buck,", the next connections to the north and south of my regular grind look like this: 

A little hillier, a little bit of dirt, kind a bummer comning homwe though the airport. 

A little hillier, a little bit of dirt, kind a bummer comning homwe though the airport. 

and like this: 

More rural, punchier hills, no dirt. 

More rural, punchier hills, no dirt. 

These routes clock in at 9.5 and 9.1 miles, respectively. Each can be accomplished in around 40 minutes instead of the usual 25 minutes I budget for the trip home. If I hustle getting out of the office, there's little impact on the schedule of dinner, music practice, bath, story, bedtime.

That's important. My son is going to be seven in September. I once heard somebody say "you only get 18 summers," and when the realization hits that you've used a third of them already, boy it puts things in perspective. I don't know how guys with kids put in big rides or huge training schedules, but I know it's just not in the time budget for me. What I have time for is to add a few miles here and there, to push hard up a hill or sprint when I don't really have to, to try to weave bicycle use into my everyday routine. 

The northern route gets me a touch of dirt on River Cove Road. I will say that, unlike most dirt roads in Vermont, River Cove never really smooths out over the summer. There's a bunch of crushed stone in the surface that just won't pack in. On the south side, It's a grunt up Oak Hill Road from the Village, a heart-stopping descent down Walker Hill, and another (short but tough) grunt up Van Sicklen. Both of these options tend to offer lighter traffic and better shoulders than the "get 'er done" route I ride most frequently. 

Next time, I'll take a look at some of the slightly longer routes that get you out onto some sweet dirt roads and still get you home from my office by supper. 

Stay Gold, 

Matt