Central Vermont Bike Tour: Calais, Vermont and beyond!

Sunday, g-$$$, DogMan, tMail and I took part in the CVBT (a fundraiser for the Cross-Vermont Trail).  This is an outstanding 60 mile tour that hits some of the most astounding routes in central Vermont north and east of Montpelier, centered on Calais.  They offer three incredibly well-marked routes:10-ish, 34-ish and 60-ish miles), no official finishing times, great aid stations and a huge buffet at the end.  The start/finish is at the Morse Farm, which includes a gift-shop that sells maple creemees - a summer staple in this part of the world that, made with real maple syrup, is an out-of-this-world flavor.  DogMan, g-$$$ and I biked the 60.  tMail ran the 34.  Here's a description from g-$$$:

Yes it was a great event.....nice intimate grassroots event.  Organizer is super-passionate and just trying to promote his cause without trying to make it a big moneymaker.  Entry was $50....very reasonable for the level of support and effort.  The course was hard.....lots of short change of tempo climbs and lots of leg/lung busters.....descents were fun but often heavy on the washboard.  Because of the amount of rain they've had up there the roads were often a little soft so it was easy to get bogged down in the thin muck.  The course is your classic Vermont ride...endless Vistas and cow pastures galore.  Turns were well marked and the local support was wonderful.  The course was special...we even rode UNDER a barn!
DogMan's Trip Report:  Really enjoyed it.

G$$ - thanks for the smoking first leg and a half and the fluid. Very impressed. Who needs a sternum anyway?

Tmail - way f* impressed. Pummels the Whites Saturday, solo runner navigates the hill country, fends off red neck dog attacks, pushes through the paved brutality of Minister Brook, cruises smoothly to the finish.

Mutha - Pummels the Whites Saturday. Today, uh - did you sweat? I think you could probably just ride BMB next weekend and finish. Sure it would take you a while, but you would cruise into the finish laughing, telling a story, put on your 5 fingers and go find someone to "run around with".
g-$$$'s Trip Report:  Finally home and showered, bike and riding gear put away, chores (trash/laundry) done....sitting at my desk trying to motivate myself to get some work done......it's looking more like f' that.

Sorry I missed the beef tips...they looked good....but got to spend an hour at the lake house with EZ-E and and then around the campfire with 5 women....they all want to meet THE VALENTINO...it seems my mangled sternum was not nearly as impressive as someone running 34 miles!  I think Lisa wants to hook you up [last 3 words omitted by blog author to retain PG rating].

Dogman....the only reason I fought so hard to stay with you was I didn't want to get lost....riding today was like having a headset in my ear and cues coming from the team car.  For not having many miles under the belt it didn't show.

Muthaz...the Goat Shack Farm tour was awesome.....TJ was exactly as described....sorry about dragging shit into your house and sticking you with the beef tips bill...but hey I paid for your salad.  Incredible that you did Tecumseh and Osceolas in 5.5 and then did the 60 too!

Tmail...as usual...Impressive...Simply Impressive.....

Not sure I'll be getting out with you guys next week with the Holiday and all.....so it may be the VT100 will be the next chance for me to get out with you guys....

The Pain in the NEK is going to be AWESOME!!!!
tMail's Trip Report: What I a weekend! The weekend hangover is here.

We started training camp with a warm up - up Tecumseh ski slope and down the North West side of Tecumseh. This was "joint 47". The trail down is beautiful very runable, we had very wet conditions but held a good pace. We took the right onto Tripoli Road and headed toward Mount Osceola which we crush in no time then had a rapid descent.

Once pack on Tripoli we crushed it back to the car and had a classic NH River soak.

Mutha got his latte or double espresso at Mad River Coffee.

Saturday night was chilling out and evening cores. Booker T banged in he said his head was ready to explode.

Sunday morning came early. Booker T was seen flying down Peacham and arrived fully recovered for morning chores.

We left to pick up DogMan and arrived at Morse Farm. G$$$ greeted us and the bike squad got ready along with the lone runner.

Fears going into this getting lost or eaten alive by a Vermont Junk Yard Dog. Fears came to revelation on Lyle Young Road which has a beautiful barn from 1899. Let's call the "Great Dane" Toby. I saw Toby early and he saw me. Owner was under his car in the front yard fixing it. Toby came charging he was eye level to me and ran with me snarling, growling. Owner was probably still under car until I heard "Get back dog". Toby didn't care I told him to F off and he stopped.

From the top of Worcester Road to West Hill Road brutal. Asphalt paving torture. (DogMan there is a road off Worcester Road (Robinson Hill Road) it looks like a beast. Anyway the cavalry starting coming West Hill Road first DogMan, then G$$$ who rode with me until Culver Hill Road aid station. I then saw Mutha on North Street and again on County Road when he ran in with me. I almost had my 2nd run in with Rotweiller on Horn of the Moon Road. He had destroyed the window and curtain and torn tore through the window screen. His head was through that and he was ready to eat tMail. He never jumped through window.

This was a magnificent run tour the roads are just relentless and hard pack gravel. Running through the NEK (E. Montpelier, Calais, Worcester and Middlesex just rocked. Those climbs are brutal running can't imagine on a bike.

Sunday night was rocking with 7 dogs, the DogMan family beef tips, Positive Pie Pizza and DogMan home brew. The Apple cider was rocking, I loved it.

This morning Mutha, Spanky, Jake and myself probably ran for 45 minutes attacked by deerflies it was brutal but we survived.

Training camp concluded back at Muthaville USA.

Booker T is a true classic. His bike is a disaster, we took off his front breaks and replaced the rear pads with the front ones. No front breaks. He needs medicine lots of it, the stuff he is on doesn't work he needs like Rhino tranquilizer. He is a GOOD kid, just needs help and guidance. He attention span is a nano second. He got booted off the property Sunday night.

Mutha / tMail. "Get the F out of here" (we chased him on his bike)
Booker T "Why"
Mutha "Go the F home"
around the corner walks Booker T's teacher. Mutha says "can you flunk him next year" she says "he wouldn't care".

This morning Smidge, Chance, Einstein and Zeus got their tetanus shots.
Zeus will be eaten soon he is pretty useless.
Thor has a nice burial.
The bees are rocking.

Stay tuned for coming weekend adventure!!!
Mutha's Trip Report:  I've got total adventure hangover.  Everything around me looks really boring.  A weekend w/ you guys and I'm just lost.

tMail: holy crap.
dogman:  SMOKE THAT COURSE (ridin' it like a native).
g-$$$:  you think if i cracked MY sternum i could ride like that?

this was great adventure, no doubt.  what a fun weekend.


Osceola & Tecumseh: Joint 48

tMail and I finished our 'joint 48' today:  our joint tagging of the White Mountain 48 together.  We ran from Waterville Valley, up the ski slopes to Tecumseh, down the north side to Tripoli Rd, along the road to the trail to Osceola, up and back, Tripoli Rd. to Waterville Valley and the car.  16.5 miles, under 5.5 hours.

We soaked in the brook by the Tecumseh Trailhead (not the little trickle by the trailhead, but the rushing brook about 150ft in.

Conditions were easy and predictable.  Things were  a little wet but nothing unusual for the way this weather has been.  We just churned out the miles and the feet of elevation and I did my best to keep up w/ the wind.... The wind had to wait for me.


Chamberlain and Rake Factory Roads

I figured I'd get some miles in today on my bike.  22.3 miles and 1170' elevation gain (according to MapMyRide).  It took 2.25 hrs.  "Woah, 10 mph Mutha, what the hell?  Sounds like you had a rough time of it...."  Yeah, I did. But even though my pace was slow, I have an excuse.  It was a rough ride.

"But ...", you ask, "... at 10mph avg speed what was the holdup?  Legs?  Lungs?"

Neither.  I cruised south to Peacham and then east to Barnet at a good clip on my old Specialized Crossroads, and then at an inspired moment, made a crucial left on something called Warden Road.  Then turned onto something called Chamberlain Road, and then a left on something called Rake Factory Road, then back home.

I knew what I was in for.  For those of you who have any idea what this might've been like, allow me to give you a few ideas of how this route has been transformed by all those massive storms.  For those of you who have no idea what Chamberlain and Rake Factory roads are like, pull up a chair and check this shit out when you have time to read.  Here are a few notes:

1)  The first part of Chamberlain, done in the reverse of what I've done w/ some of you, involved a lovely climb which was at first just a matter of putting the bike in my smallest gear and working it....until I got to the section that was about 150' from the guys house on the long driveway w/ the dogs that came out to meet us.  As some of you may recall, this was where (coming down) I got off my bike and walked it for a while because of the loose and large rocks.  Well, the town used large stones again to repair it after the storms.  They were large and jagged, up to 8-12 inches mixed w/ smaller rocks and dirt.  I had to get off the bike.

2)  At the guys driveway, I headed off into the woods on what's left of Chamberlain Rd.  This wasn't too bad at first - just a little rutted and muddy/soft.

3)  Chamberlain still appears on maps - MapMyRide shows it, in fact shows it splitting into two roads, both of which come out on Rake Factory.  I've been on it three times (or four?) and have never found the 'fork'.  There's zero evidence of it.  In fact the mile or so after entering the woods and leading down to Rake Factory Road was abandoned a number of years ago and last year was basically an ATV/snowmobile trail in the woods, climbing up and over Strobridge Hill in a rutted, muddy, trail.  There's not a lot left of it on that section.  What's left I couldn't ride down, which doesn't mean a lot, but at least I didn't have to carry the bike except in a few short sections.  It could probably be navigated w/ a 4-wheeler with some skill, really aggressive tires and a significant clearance.  Worse than the 'road' condition were the mosquitos, which were thick and swarming.  It was downhill, I had to drag the bike in and out of ruts, and wipe bugs off my body.  If any of you remember the first climb up from Rake Factory Road, I couldn't even ride down that.  Chamberlain has a canyon about 2ft deep meandering down the middle of it.

4) Okay, so I got on the bike about 50' from Rake Factory road, made my left, and within a few minutes was off the bike.  Then on and off again for no more than 100' at a time, until I unclipped my left foot in a mudhole, fell to the right and landed on my shoulder/back.  I was moving forward at no more than 0.1 mph so the impact was relatively easy - kind of laid down hard and took a few rocks against the body - not even a scratch.  Well, there's nothing left of most parts of Rake Factory.  It's completely blown out.  For long stretches it looks like a rocky brook w/ steep banks.  For really long sections near the top the bottom of the 'road' is about 5 - 6' below the original grade.  Much of it is more than 2' deep, but blown out for the whole width.  In the steepest section, the road washed into the woods, which now looks like trees sticking out of a flat plain of mud - no organic forest floor - just trees sticking out of dirt.  I had to carry the bike for about 25 minutes, scrambling over boulders and shredded culverts.  I eventually dragged the bike into the dense woods and bushwacked for about 300 yards.  Unfortunately I didn't have the tool necessary to remove my handlebars - it would've been a lot easier if they were rotated parallel to the frame because the trees were so close together.  Mosquitos, branches, rocks, etc.  I eventually lowered the bike into the bottom of the gully and did some distance on rocks/mud/etc., then scrambled back up on the banks when I could.

5)  With great relief I finally hit Varnum Rd, which is normally a pretty primitive route (not too good in a passenger vehicle - mostly just trucks/farm equipment during sugaring season) but it had been repaired post-storm and compared to Rake Factory was like a freaking paved highway.  A few hundred yards later, made a right on the Thaddeus Stevens Road.  Ahhh, freshly graded this afternoon with ... uh oh, soft material.  The bike sank in so deep I couldn't pedal through it on the FLATS!  Crap.  Had to actually get off and drag the bike on flat freaking dirt road.  Well, even though it's a maintained road, the T.S.Rd is still pretty out-in-the-sticks, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when a black bear crossed in front of me and headed into the woods.  My first bear in Danville.  It didn't even look at me.  It just ambled across the road and into the woods.  I got on the bike and pedaled like a motherf**ker, looking over my shoulder repeatedly in case for some reason this bear decided to go into ol' grizzle bear mode.  I know, black bear aren't aggressive.  Right.  Fine.

6)  The last scramble was over the washout that has closed the Greenbank Hollow Covered Bridge, through the bridge, over the chain blocking the bridge from the other side and then 20 minutes later - home.



North Twin Mtn, South Twin Mtn, The Tent & Thor

Mutha's Trip Report
Fun day for Team Barks-a-lot:  Dogman, Mutha, Trudy, Spanky & Jake.  Destination:  South Twin, via the North Twin trail, out and back.  Three river crossings.  On the way up, did the bushwack so only had to do last crossing.  Bushwack is now a well established trail - easy to follow - almost as good as the regular trail.

Beautiful weather - lots of sun and even more bugs.  Herbal Armor bug repellent works wonders (MadDog, that's the stuff you and I used in Wyoming).

The view from South Twin is amazing.  It's such a great perspective on everything from the Presidentials to Franconia Ridge, to the entire Pemi. The views of Carrigain and Mt. Nancy and even Norcross Pond are excellent.

While on South Twin, I found a nalgene full of water.  Score!  Gave it to the dogs.

On the way in, from North to South twin, kept an eye out for Chip's tent.  Every possible place, trudged around in the brush and woods looking for it.  We figured that on the way back it may be more obvious.  Indeed, on the way back, we scoured the woods with me mumbling "to find this tent, we have to think like a douchebag...".  After nearly giving up, we focused on a section of dead trees with deep ferns and fallen logs.  As it transitioned into the ascent up N. Twin, BAM!  The tent.  At the time I was pretty disdainful of Chip's explanation of where he left it, but after we hauled it out to the trail it was clear that it was actually a pretty accurate explanation - just a little vague - but there was no other way for him to describe it.

So we got a tent and a nalgene.

On the way home we stopped in Littleton at the DD.  I got a (hot) latte w/ whole milk.  Dogman got some crazy iced beverage.  While sipping the drinks, he saw a sign for a new special drink:  Mountain Dew Kolatta!  He promptly ordered a small and you could see the stars and hearts floating around his head.  The man has found his new beverage nirvana.

To round out the festivities, I pulled into the Burger King just before the highway, and focusing on the "$1 menu", ordered for the dogs 2 orders of 4-pc chicken nuggets and 1 'stacker' (a burger w/ cheese and a piece of bacon).  For $3.27 this should be quite the dog treat.  We got our order and after pulling ahead a few feet to park, started to distribute the chicken nuggets.  Jake just stared at his.  Spanky ate hers, but not very enthusiastically.  Trudy picked it up, sucked on it for a second and spit it out.  We though she just dropped it, so DogMan re-fed it to her.  She sucked on it for  second and spit it out.  Neither she nor Jake would eat them.  I tried the stacker, split into 3 chunks, and they wolfed them down.  It was a hunger thing - it was that the chicken nuggets were too far from "food" for the dogs to want them.... and dogs EAT ROADKILL!!!!!!!

The tent gets set up tomorrow to dry out and air out.

Last nugget:  we got to my house at 6:30 and headed in to the goatshack to see the new babies and only found 4 napping in the shack.  I heard a weird, pathetic bleating coming from somewhere, kind of muffled and figured out that one of the babies, Thor, had got himself wedged in the wall, just beyond my reach.  Little TJ showed up and Dogman, TJ and I grabbed a power saw and cut through the wall.  I pulled Thor out by the legs but he was limp and clearly dead.  I gave him mouth-to-mouth but it just inflated his stomach, and tried chests compressions.  I keep a stethoscope in my 'goat kit' and couldn't find a heartbeat.  TJ was crying and held Thor.  We picked a spot out by the garden and I dug a deep grave and we buried him covered w/ the towel he was born in.  We decided to put a marker up that reads "Here Lies Thor, 6/5/2011 - 6/16/2011, He was a good little goat."  TJ's dad came and got him and they left his bike here.
DogMan's Trip Report
Packed day.

1) Learned all about Linda "Lock Vagina" or something like that (Lot's to party a lot?). High maintenance apparently, but interesting to hear about her. We got there initially talking about Spungie's marriage. How is a mystery.

2) Perhaps I should have re-read the email on potential tent location. No tent on way up. Much cursing of Chip.

3) Bluebird day up top, although a little buggy. Much enjoyment by dog and man.

4) More cursing of Chip on way back, but with better idea of where potential spots are, we make a more focused and concentrated effort. Buggy as git all. I am about to go insane. Last chance, last place that makes sense, Mutha says "wait one second there are two rocks over here". Bingo! Bagged the tent!

5) We secure tent in bag, while enduring near insanity from bug assault. Apply some wonder lotion Mutha has. All good.

6) Much discussion of divorce.

7) Sorry G$$, some discussion of God. Although all good, mostly how Mutha woke up at 3am torturing Sue with a long to do list and an esoteric concern about "acts of god, whether if there are acts of god churches are liable, and if not, are insurance companies just making shit up". Had to be there. Sure you are sorry you missed it.

8) Nice splashing in river for dogs on way down. We do all 3 crossings, and hang in the last one, getting the legs wet. Cold, but awesome.

9) Required stop at DD. Scored a Mountain Dew Collatta (sp?). Highly recommended. When in Rome go Roman. If at a DD go as artificial and contrived as possible. Scored big.

10) Dogs reject "chicken" chunks from Burger King. This is really disturbing. $1 for 4 items that "look" like "food" but are roundly rejected by multiple dogs that have just spent 8+ hours in the mountains. This is not good.

11) Losing Thor. What a strange and sad incident. Will let Mutha cover this. Thunder on Thor. Thunder on.


After The Flood

Things have finally settled down after the great flood of 5/27/2011 and all the crap in my basement is either at the dump or under a tarp on the driveway - but it's now time to get back above treeline.  To that end, the following adventures have been scheduled:

  • 6/15:  South & North Twin and The Great Tent Search & Rescue
  • 6/18:  Something in the Presi's - same day as the MWRR
  • 6/26:  The Puppet Master High Note (PM's Choice)