A little rain didn’t dampen the VT-NH spirits

By: 
Steven Delaney

 

The third ride of CRW’s Adventure Series put an even dozen Wheelers on the backroads and trails of Vermont and New Hampshire, and a little bit of Maine.  The goal was to see what kind of scenery and surfaces the Cross Vermont Bike Trail and the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trail had to offer.  Despite a bit of weather, some mud, and a flat tire or two, the consensus was that the ride was exceptional enough to become an annual CRW staple.

The trip started in Bethel, ME, where we caught our prearranged shuttle to Burlington, VT.  After hotel check-in, a short 30-miler along the shores of Lake Champlain allowed the group to get to know each other and to pedal the cobwebs out of the legs after 6 hours in the car.  Dinner in downtown Burlington had us swapping riding tales and expectations for the next three days.

The next morning, we followed the Cross Vermont Bike Trail (CVBT) out of Burlington.  The curators of the CVBT go to great lengths to say that their trail is a work in progress.  But we found it great, keeping us on bike trails and small roads until it put us onto glorious farm roads and packed dirt trails.  Between the gpx files and signage, the trail was easy to follow.  

A relatively easy, though hot, 49 miles and 2,100 ft of climbing got us to Montpelier, VT.  One of the highlights along the way was a cooling dip in the Winooski River outside Waterbury, VT.  A second fun dinner cemented the team.(Collage by Steve Carlson.)

The second full-day of riding was 65 miles and 2,300 feet of climbing from Montpelier to Littleton, NH.  A mix of country roads and bike/ATV trails meant we saw very little car traffic (and only a couple of ATVs.)  The curators of the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trails (xNHAT) did a great job of letting us know what to expect and telling where the sights were.  The highlight for the day was the Haverhill - Bath Covered Bridge and the nearby Brick country store, the oldest in New England (unfortunately closed due to Covid.)

While we suffered a few sprinkles on the second day, we woke up to a steady drizzle for our 65-mile, 2,474 ft elevation ride from Littleton back to Bethel.  But the rain didn’t dampen team spirits.  The trail for the day was again mostly trail and back roads, taking us through some spectacular scenery like that of the Presidential Rail Trail and the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge.  The rain turned one dirt road into peanut butter, but the stone trails shed the water and held up well in the rain.

While we rode a bit of pavement along the way, the bulk of the ride was on dirt roads and trails.  The surface varied from packed dirt, to loose stone and even some gnarly rocks.  Gravelesque bikes with 32mm+ tires are the way to go and were definitely up to the challenge.  Because we were riding across New England and not outer Mongolia, we had the advantage of plenty of food stops and comfy hotels.  That meant we were able to pack our bikes light:  a riding kit or two, toothbrush, and of course raingear.

Bottomline, everyone felt the trails are a great way to get off the roads and enjoy what New England has to offer.

                          The Adventure concluded with big smiles and a Patch Awards Ceremony!

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Phillip Stern's picture

Nice trip report, Steven Delaney. Sounds like the kind of adventure ride I enjoy. A minor quibble... It is the Cross Vermont Trail (CVT), not the Cross Vermont Bike Trail. https://www.crossvermont.org/