August 9th, 2005 05:05 PM
From KTA to MTA (millstone trail assoc)
Here is probably my last biweekly, midweek trail posting. My job is changing, and the midweek trip opportunities are going to dissolve.
This week we tried something different. Intead of the Kingdom Trails we hit the trails at the Millstone Hill Touring Center. It is a bit closer to where we live, and we had heard some good things about the trails.
I was riding my solo-one (33:19), and the guy I usually ride with was riding a freshly built IRO highlander singlespeed (34:20). Both bikes were run with rigid forks.
Do not let the pictures on the millstone web page fool you, the trails are technical. Those were probably the only spots where the photographer was comfortable taking her hands off the handlebars.
We rode for a little over two and a half hours and covered nearly all of the advanced to expert terrain they had, including one trail that was very fresh, and did not appear to be on the map. The trails were a combination of quick ups and downs, nice flowing switchbacks, and unbelievable views of Vermont and long abandoned quarries. The trip to the grand lookout is worth it. There are some old pipes and cables on parts of the trail that are unusual trail obstacles. It is kind of like crossing train tracks in the middle of single track. The metal was slippery even though it was very dry today. The trails themselves are very well marked, but the map you pick up from the office does not have the trail names on them. Instead you navigate by the quarries. There are many of them, each has a sign with its name, and each is well marked on the map. If you are into it, the history of what you are riding through is a bit of a head trip. If you are not into that, the trails you are riding on can be a bit of a head trip too. Do not stare too long at the old boiler from a train just off the edge of the trail, or you will go down.
The millstone trail system reminded me of a younger, more technical, kingdom trails. Which makes sense because according to the nice woman at the barn where we started, the fellows from the KTA are advising the MTA on trails. THe feel of the two trail systems is quite different. The ups seemed more severe at the MTA, though the trails are completely single speedable. Lofting my bike over the quick ups, and the rough and technical aspects of the trails also left my upper body more tired than it is after a similar ride at the kingdom trails.
Together the two trail systems really seem to complement each other. The KTA has the luscious flowing single track that goes on and on, while the MTA has flowing single track that will keep you on your toes with surprise switchbacks, rollers, step ups, boulders, the occasional cable or pipe crossing, and ubiquitous granite.
I really have to start carrying a camera with me so these posts can be more interesting to others. Here is a link to another review of the trails that has some pictures.
If you do go to Millstone hill, and I recommend it, follow the orange arrow trails. They point out the more technical loops, and the payoff is big. Also don't be afraid to explore a little bit, because you may stumble on a trail like the one we found, that wasn't on a map but was super nice.
I found one pic of me on the bike today and here it is: ;D (maybe add some dirt to the face)
Happy riding SSnoob