South Kingdom of Vermont All Terrain Bicycle Race-Experience
Our Hypothesis was this: When Autumn, a difficult challenge, the Analog Scene and Vermont are all present and fully intersecting, MSO would find the spirit of #ATB somewhere between The Purchase and Tinmouth.
Hahn Rossman is from Seattle, Washington. Hahn is an expert on Type(s) 2 and 3 Fun. Hahn would have a PHD in Randonneuring if having a PHD in Randonneuring was even something that was possible; he’s completed PBP twice (including in 2019), is a consultant for Compass Tires and Bicycle Quarterly, has a 9-year old wool, blue Seattle Randonneuring jersey, and his handbuilt PBP whip which he literally handbuilt got 3rd in this year’s Concourse De Machine which is a big deal for Rando Nerds.
Taylor Kruse is one-man Audio Visual Club. He’s completed the Continental Divide and is also a Rando Nerd.
Daniel Wakefield Pasley—the author of this report—is a Cultural Anthropologist from the university of Yonder Journal and very capable with a Ricoh Grii in shitty light especially with the flash popped-out. Also, I’m really good friends with the race promoter, Old Mark, and the Analog Bicycle Shop proprietors James and Candice, and the course makers Hardy and Catrin.
The kind of Performance Journalism and Cultural Anthropology necessary to properly conduct this experiment required Going Inside The Outside. In this case (the SKOV ATB race) that expression is a double entendre because GITO meant both;
Assuming the customs, habits and various other cultural trappings of a very specific, very localized, very esoteric user group—a group that is very much Other or “Outsider” in nature. For now we will call that group Tanglefoot.
And it required flying to Vermont to study Tanglefooters in their natural habitat and environment—an All Terrain Bicycle race deep inside the woods of the Green Mountains.
Short road, then a single track climb in the dark. Was super fun with lots of quality switchbacks—NOT A GIVEN in this part of the world. Cool overlook. Insane bunch of single track to get back off the mountain. Cross the road. More single track. Lots of flow. Then some GNAR single track to get back up another mountain. V difficult, very fun. You’re at like 10 miles at this point. Single track down through a forest and field. A couple miles of pavement. A big DIALED and smooth single track climb that goes and goes, then a gnar descent that’s fun but will fuck you up. Easy class IV road climb to a series of hard packed clay roads that take you outta one valley, over a ridge and then down into another valley. The Purchase starts with a mix of paved and cly fire roads. BUTTER! But uphill butter for sure. So much climbing. The interior of the Purchase was one of the gnarliest spots. LEGIT OVERLANDING. For sure the limit of what you can do on a bike. For miles. Lot’s of rolling across a ridge with lots of short STEEP AF climbs. First hike-n-bike up to a checkpoint and a lookout. Amazing powder run through the trees to get off The Purchase. To this day I’m unclear if there was a trail there or was it just a powder run through 2 feet of fresh #peeper leaves and marked with orange tape tied to every 5th tree. Climb down a ravine. Cross a river. Hike up. Send it to the town of middle-something. You’re at about 50 miles here. Natural spring is cool if you’re into that kinda thing. BIG CLIMB on a chill road that turns into a less chill road which turns into a grass field which turns into a Class IV road which turns, eventually, after about 5 miles, into a hike-n-bike which is at least 3 miles long. It’s basically one long climb wherein the surface and quality of the road is slowly but surely diminished the farther in you get and the higher you go. Gnar descent, almost a walk at first. Then class IV roads rolling but steady uphill for a few miles to a rideable but insane overgrown road that goes straight up for a few miles. Then a ridge. Then the longest and scariest snowmobile bridge. Then a descent. Then three more climbs and 15 more miles THE END.