The Mad River Riders are excited for spring and are organizing several events, but also want to caution enthusiasts about riding when the trails are soft. “If you’re leaving a track, go back,” their most recent newsletter notes and points out that this is the most fragile time of the year for the trails.
The Mad River Riders are gearing up for spring with several events as well as plans for new trail work. Riders’ spokesperson Gerry Nooney said that May 5 will see a Cranko de Mayo event featuring a gravel grinder. Gravel grinders, he said, are dirt road rides suitable for a specific style of bike.
“They’re ideal for going up and down dirt roads which are generally the hillier parts of our Valley,” he said.
The ride will start in the Lincoln Peak parking lot and riders will head to the trails at Sugar Run Condos where they’ll connect to Marble Hill. They’ll ride up Number Nine Hill and down Kew Vasseur Road to Center Fayston Road and take Carey Strong Road to Airport Road. From there, they’ll take North Road to Waitsfield Common Road and on to East Warren Road where they’ll head up Sherman Road and down Cider Hill. From Cider Hill they’ll head to Airport Road (in Warren) and go up West Hill Road and Inferno Road to get back to the parking lot at Sugarbush.
Once back they’ll join in the resort’s regular Cinco de Mayo celebration. Active members of the Mad River Riders will get a complimentary lift ticket so that they can ski that day as well.
“Onion River used to do one of these rides that would get 300 riders. Waterbury does one that gets 200 people. We hope to get 30 people!” he said.
And when spring finally arrives, the Mad River Riders will be building two new trails. One is at Blueberry Lake and work will start on that in early May. It’s a 1.8- to 2-mile loop to be called Amenta’s Way in honor of board member Tony Amenta, Waitsfield, whose passion for the Blueberry Lake trails helped make them a reality. That project will cost $50,000 and is fully funded through grants, donations and community partners, Nooney said.
The second project is phase two of the Evolution Trail in the Howe Block of the Camel’s Hump State Forest trails.
“This will be really interesting. It begins at American Flatbread and climbs up to the height of land. It’s about 5 miles of trail that gains 1,000 vertical feet. It will be one of the longest sustained climbs – or downhills – in Vermont. That will be built later this summer,” Nooney said.
That trail will cost approximately $60,000.