Rachel Fussell

Rachel Fussell on her bike, outdoors in her happy place.

The Stowe area is all about interesting, tricky, long, challenging, technical, beautiful singletrack riding. Add to that: jumps, ramps, drops, log-rides and other technical features.

And Stowe is about riding in the woods, in nature, following trails up and down and taking forks in the road that you might not have noticed the last time around.

Great riding around here is about time to explore, to get a little lost, to go see where some trail takes you, to hook up with friends on a ride you’ve never done.

Singletrack riding in the New England woods is a rush, it’s a thrill, and it can be a root-jostling challenge. But, at its core, mountain biking in Stowe is in keeping with the nature of so much about life here — it’s intimate.

For the most part, you don’t ride armored and you don’t soar through the air, but you can go fast, and you can take risks. And for those who do neither of those, you can still ride, and ride deep into the woods, and see a lot of nature.

You can also see mind-boggling trail engineering: long, narrow, winding bridges, rock ramps, stone walls, banked turns. Trail builders have looked for features, such as rocks and logs, to challenge and assist riders through sections. On Kimmer’s and Hardy’s Haul trails, both part of the Adams Camp loop, you’ll find it all — little hops and jumps, long bridge sections, bermed and banked turns and drops.

Near the bottom of Kimmer’s, you come flying around a right-hand turn and face a challenging choice: up a 6-inch-wide, 15-foot ramp and over and down a huge rock, or around it. If you slip off, you’re likely to skin some knees, if not break a bone or two.

Trail builders have incorporated these little detours — which you have to look for — all over the place. Some are more obvious, or treacherous, than others. Keep your eyes peeled.

The best way to find the best features is to ask, but some of the most well-engineered rides are Bear’s, behind the Golden Eagle (and the trails around Bear’s), the Pipeline from Stowe High School up to Trapp Family Lodge, and the trails at Adams Camp. Others include the mind-boggling array at Perry Hill in Waterbury and the Wall off the back of Barnes Hill.

Have fun, be careful and be courteous.

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