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Stephanie Hall's 2023 North Lobe Report

and her thoughts on the fine line between self-care & self-destruction

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Quick Specs 

Bike: Otso Waheela-C, Easton handlebars, Wolf Tooth bits

Tires: Teravail Cannonball 47mm

Gearing: 38t 11-42t Shimano GRX 

Bags: Apidura

Garmin 830 & Spot Tracker 

As a Vermont newbie, completing this route felt like a good “homecoming”. Relatively new at riding in Vermont, but absolutely loving the challenging terrain and endless Green Mountains. Trevor Hall really knows his stuff. I attended Vermont Overland at the end of July and had such a blast. Without course recon, I (maybe naively so) assumed that VS8 North Lobe would be something like those 55 miles, 5 times over. If I could take one of my favorite days on the bike and multiply it 5 times over, it guaranteed a good time, right?!


Being close to the start allowed me to wait far to long until prepping for this ride. The weekend prior I did 2 loaded-ish rides and discovered my front brakes were too soft. (Had them bled last minute at Omer & Bobs! Heroes!) Packing until 1030pm the night before & setting an alarm for 430am the morning of were not exactly recipes for success but necessary to get it done.


The rollout of Montpelier was probably the fastest riding of the whole route, and it felt by the St Johnsbury Maplefield’s a whole days’ worth of riding and adventures already occurred. I quickly ate a whole pizza as a thru hiker observed and asked a few questions. I picked up 6 maple doughnuts and stuffed them in my jersey pocket. Chugged coffee, and hit the road again. The riding in Vermont is slow, and you just sorta have to accept that you can only go so fast. Still, only 64 miles in at 2pm felt like a slog. I knew I had one more possible stop before the runout until Island Pond.


Heading along Kingdom Trails, and into Burke Mountain, beautiful. Riding alongside ski lifts, this was probably my favorite part of the route. The sun was not yet starting to set, but long shadows eluded that sunset was nearing. Double track, turned single, turned into no-track, and myself and a fellow rider bushwacked thru the forest for a bit. Just when I felt out of sorts we emerged out of the thick woods. Daniel was there with ramen, and I was so grateful. He offered a sleep there which seemed tempting but so early on. I changed into fresh kit & descended into the night. The next bit was rough. Constant puddles in the dark, combined with fallen trees and seemingly forgotten about trails lead to wet feet and slow going. I momentarily stopped at a lean to and called my sister, ate some doughnuts, and then continued, still talking to her. There was a pattern to the night riding, following a powerline down over. I knew I needed to think about a nap, and settled on a lovely spot by a brook & took about 1.5 hour nap. I packed my things around 330am and rolled to Island Pond. This was certainly the coldest part of the ride, Garmin reading around 32f, the damp, foggy morning was beautiful but chilling. I was stoked to be so close to the Canadian border. Sunrise & new day always helps.

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ATV trails out of Lowell were gnarly & fun to watch atv’s & dirt bikes try to show off around me. My feet were starting to feel not so great, and somewhat like trench foot. I took extra time to rotate socks and try to dry off a pair in the sun. I filtered water here & realized I hadn’t been drinking nearly enough. These adventures are a fine line of self-care and self-destruction, and I was riding the edge. Rail to trail in the sunset was an absolute treat followed by a less-than-pleasant exit of Morrisville. (Traffic)


Night shift is always hard. Second night shift is a mental game. Second nightshift into west woodbury mountain road….. what nightmares are made out of. About a four mile hike a bike with huge puddle after huge puddle. I get out and into service and call my good friend Ezra. I had calmed down, but I wasn’t doing well. So close but so far. A few more climbs and then 2 more miles of single track into Montpellier. Last 2 miles I was hallucinating floating bridges on water, like boat docks floating in the pond.  The ground would alternate between, sticks and leaves, and streams of bugs that were not existent. Barely pulling myself together and out of the woods, I found town just after 2am. Thankfully my friend Jason met me with pizza.


10/10 recommend to a friend. 

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