Total time: 02:16:37
So the guy from Millstone told me to go check out Perry Hill, near Waterbury VT.
His description made it sound like a flow trail or something. He described it as a descending trail that had some berms and some tough downhills. But a “flow” trail this was not. The berms were on the climbing trail! The descent was anything but a machine-built sidewalk…
Anyhow, before I jump ahead too much, here’s what happened. On this Saturday morning, I climbed the main climbing route to the summit. A couple of guys were just about to roll into the downhill trail and they gave me a warning about some of the “features”, and told me to look before leaping. They took off and I donned elbow and knee armor. I found the first set of rock faces to be much milder than I feared and soon caught these guys at a lower down rest spot (just after a downed tree which slowed them down enough for me to get close again).
They invited me to try the next section with them, and I made a difficult line at the crux and they seemed a bit shocked. That turned into, “You’re good enough to ride with the locals, we compared plans (same trails) and they invited me along with a ‘let’s go!‘ .”
It’s very hard to capture the level of the trails at Perry Hill, but it is one of these tough, techy trails where absolutely every element is perfect. There is lots of exposure and high-consequence lines.
But, as you know, there are a lot of places which have the drops and steep roll-offs. What’s so awesome about Perry Hill is that there are none of the usual clunky bits that don’t flow which you normally find on these steep rocky trails. Literally all of it works. It just goes. The scale and the hardness just match up right across the board, and there are no blooper sections at all. It really is right up there with the best of them. It’s a top-10 trail for me, which I suspect is actually saying a lot at this point.
Here were some of the funny quotes from Scott and Steve:
“OK, steep face coming up. Take the high edge, light manual over the crack, stay off the brakes and look way up and slot between the two trees coming up fast, this is where I broke my arm in two places.”
“Are you a good jumper?” Me: “Some days.” “OK, take it easy on this set of rollers. Not to put the fear of god in you, but there have been a few airlifts and at least one fatality in this section.”
“You’re going to ride this high on the wall, turn sharp and drop and watch out for the tree staring you in the face.”
“This next drop is a bit odd, you may want to stay hard left…”
It went on like this for a couple of hours. I walked two features and smiled hard.
We even shared an eye-roll at a lost dude in matching spandex sprinting up the climb on a hard-tail ‘9er with a lefty fork…scary, just scary.
Here is a video of one trail, Burning Spear, but they cut off most of the big features.
This one is of Joe’s Trail. Steve and Scott were introduced to mountain biking by Joe…back in the day.
Neither video really captures the steepness, but you get a sense of the gnar-factor.
So here’s the funny thing…apres-velo, I was told about yet-another under-the-radar area, which, if you can even believe it, is rated better for tech by the locals. (I totally understand why the profile of trails like this cannot be higher into the public view…there is a lot of chance for someone unsuspecting to encounter something a little too real. This is the real Vermont in a nutshell.)
More to come. 🙂