The Vermont Mountain Bike Festival returned to Sugarbush’s Mt. Ellen for the second year in a row. Photo: Tony Chiuchiolo

The Vermont Mountain Bike Festival returned to The Valley for the second year in a row and it ran much smoother than the first year.

“It’s a great outdoor, family-friendly event that showcases the beauty of The Valley,” Bob Kogut, president of the Mad River Riders, the events host organization, said.

Kogut said that this year was “way better.” The bus system was much more efficient, helped out by Lareau Bridge being open for this year’s event. The rides were much more organized and flexible, said Kogut.

There were rides that left directly from Mt. Ellen, where the event was based, for the more advanced riders. There were also three primary drop-off points, at the top of Tucker Hill Road, Blueberry Lake and at Waitsfield Elementary School.

These made it easy for riders to access trails throughout The Valley and at their own skill level.

Mad River Riders executive director John Atkinson said that the event was also helped by a revamped demo loop at Mt. Ellen. Last year, riders had to take a bus to the demo loop, whereas this year they could start from the base of the mountain and bike to it, providing the rider more time to test the bike.

The VMBA festival moves around every two to three years, but both Kogut and Atkinson want to bring it back for at least one more year. Kogut mentioned that they surveyed a lot of riders at the end of the festival and if they come back with positive remarks, it will help them make their case for another year.