Vermont Mountain Bike Festival | Good People, Good Times

Cycling / Ideas & Advice

It’s about three in the afternoon on Friday, July 12 as we roll into the Vermont Mountain Bike festival venue.

Vermont Mountain Bike Festival

Having never been to a mountain bike festival before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What a spectacle! Within minutes of emerging from my comfy car air conditioning, I could immediately tell it was going to be an awesome weekend—nothing to see except bikes, tents, and the skilled staff of the Worthy Burger. I’ll have to stop by this place next time I’m in the area, those burgers were delicious. Then again after riding all afternoon, pretty much any greasy concoction with cheese is. As we begin to unload our latest mountain biking gear, event organizers mosey over to offer assistance setting up our booth. Soon we’re set up and it’s time to ride!

With the Eastern Mountain Sports set up and guarded by the intimidating Ella, it was time to ride!

With the Eastern Mountain Sports set up and guarded by the intimidating Ella, it was time to ride!

This was my first time riding in the Ascutney basin area, so I tagged along with staff from our West Lebanon store and a rep from Xprezo–a company that produces custom mountain bike frames out of Quebec. Later I would realize that this ride really set the atmosphere for the weekend: relaxed with a hint of adrenaline. Within minutes of joining this ride, I become hopelessly disoriented in a strange land. Was I fearful of becoming lost? Of course not. Being a fat tire rider myself, I like to think we are a laid back bunch. Just minutes after I lost my riding companions I ran into two other guys hailing from northern Vermont who kindly invited me to tag along with them. Several hours later, we arrive back at the base area considerably more muddy. Instead of riding in circles, I ended up having a great time. These guys had some serious climbing skills, apparently like 80% of the trails are all hills. This story does have a point, believe it or not. In addition to the fact a wrong turn led to an epic ride, this illustrates the spirit of camaraderie that has always been the heart of mountain biking. Not once have I ever crashed, got a flat, or encountered a mechanical issue without support from other riders. Sure the ride or race is important, but we never leave behind a fellow rider.

Ben and Kendra A festival such as this is full of opportunities to meet new people, see the latest gear, and talk about bikes! Doesn’t matter what your riding style or ability level is. I had the opportunity to ride and socialize with riders of all types and ability levels. I can recall several there were quite a few father/son duos stopping by our booth interested in getting back in to the sport.

Vermont Mountain Bike Festival

It was great to see so many parents helping their kids get started in the sport of mountain biking

Heck, I even ran into a guy (not literally) on the trail who was cruising around on a pristine 1985 Specialized Hardrock–arguably one of the bikes that started it all. It just goes to show that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to enjoy mountain biking, there’s a ride out there for everybody and every budget. Sure this guy didn’t have the latest suspension or hydraulic brakes, but he was just as ecstatic to be there as anyone else and that’s what matters most. All you need is something with 2 wheels that moves and a desire to ride! Even a few roadies stopped by to check out what fat tire riding is all about as well as a few cyclo-cross riders (kind of like a combination of mountain and road) riders in the mix as well.

Vermont Mountain Bike Festival

The 12 inch bike race was one of the most entertaining events at the Vermont Mountain Bike Festival

So many people showed up who were just happy to be involved in the world of mountain biking. With exciting events like the Huffy toss and the 12 inch bike race, what’s not to be stoked about? Events like these made the the 2013 Vermont Mountain Bike Festival a great way to spend a weekend filled with riding, swapping stories and meeting people from all around New England who enjoy the sport just as much as I do. Can’t wait till next year!

For more photos and details on next year’s event, be sure to like the Vermont Mountain Bike Festival page on Facebook.

Ben Cargill

An employee of our North Conway, NH store since 2009, Ben is excited to be hitting the road as one of our 2013 Outdoor Demo Tour drivers. Ben was born and raised in the White Mountains where he started skiing and biking at a young age. He spends his free time hiking the High Peaks of New Hampshire, shredding the backcountry and skiing or running with his dog. He recently finished hiking all 48 4,000 footers in New Hampshire and hopes to take on the Appalachian Trail some day.