Following up on its spectacular debut last year, the ECCC is happy to announce that its Kingdom Trails informal summer camp is a go for 2014! This year’s adventure will be July 9th to 25th, and the sign-up sheet is already live. Current racers, alumni, coaches, and all members of the ECCC community are invited to come hang out with riders from across the ECCC and enjoy fantastic mountain, road, and cyclocross riding together at the Kingdom in East Burke, Vermont.
Kingdom Trails is a unique venue that has come to the fore in recent years, widely recognized as one of the best mountain bike trail systems in the country. Rather than a dedicated private park or a single public forest, the network has been built across a patchwork of land, coordinating dozens of landowners under the Kingdom Trails Association (KTA). Almost 100 miles of trail criss-cross forests, skirt cattle pastures, and duck under maple tap lines to provide extensive singletrack and doubletrack riding across a wide variety of terrain.
That variety caters to a wide range of riders, from families doing loops around the arterial doubletrack and fireroads to expert mountain bikers doing hot laps across extensive boardwalks and down tight, twisty descents. The system is extremely well marked, mapped, and labeled with difficulty markers, from the technical and higher risk double black diamonds, to the twisty, challenging blue singletrack, and then pastoral and very accessible green routes. Few trails include features particularly hazardous or overly difficult to new riders, making the Kingdom an excellent venue for beginning mountain bikers even as veterans thrill to the flow and sheer fun.
Many of the trails are also appropriate for riding with cyclocross bikes, from the fireroad gravel access trails to the less technical singletrack. Combined with the many long Vermont dirt roads and climbs nearby, the Kingdom offers a substantial number of miles for cyclocross riders to train on and polish their trail skills.
Not to be left out, roadies will also enjoy the amazing riding in the area. Roads are in almost all in excellent shape and easily navigable, and there are many small towns nearby for great day trip excursions, lakes to cruise around, and mountains to ride over. Roadies are even encouraged to bring their passports and make a short trip to Canada, easily within riding distance for most racers!
In 2013 the ECCC coordinated renting a house for two weeks with beds for eighteen, less than five minutes’ ride from the trails. MIT also set up a substantial encampment at the Burke Mountain Campground on the opposite side of the trails. All told, over forty ECCC riders came out at various points over the two weeks to hit the trails, play games, make dinner, and furiously contest Strava standings.
This year the ECCC will be returning to the same house, just to the northwest of the main cluster of trails on Darling Hill. The sign-up sheet is live right now, and space will be assigned first-come, first-served by payment. Beds are $20 per night. MTB and CX riders using the trails will also need a KTA pass, $15/day or $75/annual. Everyone is expected to pitch in to help make a dinner during their stay, and in 2013 a great variety of excellent meals were prepared. Laundry is on-site, and the Internet access more than fast enough for streaming the Tour de France on the big screen TV to be a daily post-ride gathering. Comparatively inexpensive mountain bike rentals are available from the bike shop in town, adjacent to the trails.
Riders of all ability levels and disciplines are welcome to come join the festivities. No specific agenda or clinics are scheduled, but the trails are very friendly to beginning mountain bikers. In 2013 a number of more veteran riders lead introductory and beginner group rides while the experts went off to party bike on more intense routes. Downhillers and adventurous XC riders may also take advantage of the freeride and gravity trails on Burke Mountain, adjacent to the Kingdom Trails system. In addition to all the mountain biking, many attendees in 2013 also brought cyclocross and road bikes, with a number of great group rides held at a variety of ability levels.
To cap off the adventure, immediately following the ECCC’s stay at Kingdom Trails is the Specialized Catamount Classic race weekend, just east of Burlington, VT on July 26th and 27th. Many ECCC fat tire enthusiasts are expected to migrate across the state after their KTA adventure to participate in and spectate at the amateur and pro mountain bike races being held that weekend at the Catamount Outdoor Family Center, itself an incredible venue with great trails and an amazing cycling community and atmosphere.
Come Get Some!
All told it’s going to be another summer of amazing adventure and great riding for the ECCC. Make sure to reserve some dates on your calendar between July 9–25 and sign-up for space right away!