David Tremblay: some notes on my ride (S8GD 2019)
David sent these notes out to all Super 8 riders shortly after he finished his ride of the 260-mi North Lobe. David is one of the route curators of the Super 8 and helped organize the event.
Do not get sucked in by Montpelier and your car sitting in the parking lot! The North Lobe can be done in two more nights in the woods - maybe 3 nights if you are covering 60 miles a day... that is a 30 mile ride in the morning and a 30 mile ride after lunch!
After the Plainfield Park n'Ride entrance to the rail trail (path really) there is a Strava segment called "This Way for Free Candy" - do not be fooled, and do not go in the blue bus - there is no free candy in the bus!
On RR Bed East you get off in the town of Lanesboro - it is just an empty vegetable stand! Take Lanesboro Rd and before the end at the top of the hill there is a trail to the left - this keeps you off the busy leaf peeper rd. There is a Super8 trail marker here. Remember what color it is - because Jeff Mullen will want to quiz you on what color it is so that you can prove you didn't just take the pavement to New discovery!
Nate and I had to pay the $4 at the gate to ride through - apparently some riders are more charming than us.
In West Barnet - you will ride very close to Harvey Lake - the site of Jacques Cousteau's first professional dive... I know hard to believe! https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/harveys-lake-home-of-jacques-cousteaus-first-dive But more importantly there is the West Barnet Quick Stop 6am to 9pm
At about mile 447 you will take a right on Thaddeus Stevens Rd - if you don't know who this important Vermonter was or don't have time to read the historic marker - it can be found here: https://www.historicalmarkerproject.com/markers/HMDLZ_thaddeus-stevens_Danville-VT.html This was the last I saw of Nate Sanel - the rest of the race I was trying to reel him in and keep him on his toes!
Hit the gas station on rt 2 in St J if you don't want to go down hill off route into town.
Lyndonville has everything on route and a big bike store a bit off route - last stop is Village Sports on Darling Hill - which is really cool if you hit it during sunset on a beautiful day like I did! limited hours, limited bike shop, and an excruciatingly slow food truck - but awesome beer and tons of people sitting around after their "epic" rides and speaking French.
Route through KT can be tricky to follow ... nav skills clutch here.
There are two lean-to's on the CCC rd. first is to the left up the red trail a few feet, the other is just a bit further on the right - right on the trail. The new water drainage's on the CCC road are horrendous and makes this road largely unridable. Be super cautious when the rd goes down - they do end eventually. This was an unfortunate "improvement" similar to what is coming up on the LVRT.
Once you summit the CCC road - you are entering the great Victory Bog and some very remote Champion paper logging lands. Watch out for logging trucks during the week. They don't and won't slow down and there is little room to maneuver their 90 ton plus loads of logs. Do take a break at the Victory town hall in Gallup Mills - there is a dry covered ramp and a tiny covered porch.
At mile 522 as you exit these roads and approach Vt rt 108 - there is a sketchy twisted bridge - use caution and you'll be ok. Route veers right - this is a mix of single track and zero track so use your best nav skills!
Island Pond is worth the side trip but be forwarned - the gas station won't make you an egg sandwich after 11 am - and they won't let you make it yourself either - no sense of humor! The fancy hotel is pretty friendly but this time I went to Hobo's BBQ ( how can they turn down a dirty biker/hobo?) THere is absolutely nothing vegetarian on the dinner menu but they were kind enough to make me an egg sandwich after breakfast house andhad the best restaurant sweet corn I have ever had. Even if the town is closed up - you can sit out side Hobo's and use their wifi ( password is: 18027234601 ) there is also a covered pavilion near the gas station.
As the route nears Unknown Pond it gets quite wet and muddy. I did see a size 14 bare human-like foot print in the mud. Just a heads up if any of you believe in Yetis. There is also a bit of zero track here. The downhill is super fast but watch for babyheads.
After Vt route 114 pavement and Norton Pond - you enter the Hurricane (near the site of the former Earth Peoples Park https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Peoples_Park )
there will be a bunch of blow downs across the trail - but I hear you are all experts with those by now. THere will also be a sign warning "open water on trail" which is likely unique to this bikepacking event.
Once you reach Holland, VT - Holland Pond Rd - half way up hill on right before dairy farm - yellow apples with red blush - best road-side apple of the trip! Too bad nothing is going on at the nearby Holland Barrage: https://www.facebook.com/pg/borderline.vt.us/posts/?ref=page_internal (turn on volume)
The Derby Line Circle K is open 24hrs and has tables and free wifi and plenty of characters at all hours!
As you enter Newport - the bikepath now continues to the right through Prouty Campground - the current route takes you left on roads and is shorter. I would call staying on the bike path a mulligan but - will leave this for DJ to weigh in on. You can also take the bike path bridge by the Poulin Grain Mill. If you stay on bike path it appears there is a covered pavillion - I wish I had known as it was dark and raining when I went through.
Poginy Hill Rd - there are two places where I got a bit confused in the dark trying to interpret the gps. Both said take trail left but there was a gate or a posted sign. The actual left is just a few feet further! Poginy Hill was one - the other was the entrance to Bailey Hazen Mountain Rd
That noise you hear in the dark are wind turbines.
The Albany Store is no longer a re-supply - it is out-of-business.
I believe Eden is so named because of Debbie's campground (see DJ's notes) and the Eden Grocery store 5am to 9pm!
Morrisville has everything - The Lost Nation brewery has a covered pavillion out back and the Railroad Cafe is open 8 to 8 (except Sunday close early) and has best cappuccino in town.
It takes many years and many rides to scout a route this long. We started officially in 2009 - and much has changed! Unfortunately the recent ballast work on the LVRT is total BULLSHIT! it makes this flat section 6 or 7 mph max... and where they didn't add ballast - watch out for crevasses! And don't worry about the bridges... the railroad ties are a 100 plus years old and the greasy plywood is at least 1/4" thick! THis will all be polished rail trail in a couple years - so if anyone in the future says they did this route faster than you I am SURE they don't know what the hell they are talking about.
Was that a one way street I just went down in Wolcott - maybe ... didn't stop - no cops - I dont know. Once you are back on the hellish rail trail next section has the best wild grapes - shoe your mouth full spit out the seeds and chew on the skins - you need the extra fiber after all that gas station junk food!
you will see some giant orange Trail Closed signs coming into hardwick - these are for winter snowmobiles not you - ignore.
leaving Hardwick ( Village Diner 6am - 8pm... and is that the 3rd Positive Pie on the route?! (11:30- 9;30pm) you head up Buffalo Mountain Rd behind the snowmachine shop. you will be walking, you will come to new gravel with no trespassing signs on both signs of the road - classic asshole move to make it look like the road is private - IT IS NOT! This is for sure a public rd.
At this point my chain sounded so dry it was about to bust. These log landings always have a jug of not-quite-empty bar lube kicking around. Or they used to back when people used chainsaws. It was Sunday and no one was around so I used a twig to clean the over-flowed grease from a grease point on the grapple skidder and wiped it on my chain!
I passed four motorcycles going up woodbury mountain rd... just saying - I still had some legs and was beginning to smell the barn!
Maple Corners was open but Adamant coop was closed on Sunday.
Just as you get on the Sparrow Farm Trail - there is a very long and skinny board walk - I have never run into another trail user - but here I was trying to beat down the ticking clock between me and Nate Sanel and bam! there are three ladies out hiking. "oh we'll turn around and go back! " they say. That would take forever I say - let's try to squeeze past each other. "Oooh that will be quite intimate!" they say... so I reply " we should introduce ourselves then" as they steadied themselves on my dirty shoulders as they squeezed by.
Montpelier capitol was a leaf peeping frenzy of tour buses and tourists but I made it to the steps at 3:05 pm - within four nail biting hours of Nate Sanels FKT finish!