The country’s most scenic, and family-friendly mountain biking festival gears up for another great year.
The competition’s serious at the bike limbo event.
At last year’s Fest, things got a little out of hand. Not the entire weekend—many of the guided rides and single track races went smoothly. (Relatively speaking, when it comes to mountain biking ‘smooth’ is hardly the point.) It was during the MTB Olympics that things started to go off the rails. From the starting line, riders were in way over their heads: full-grown adults trying to navigate an obstacle course on 12-inch bikes while kids pelted them with water balloons. Wipe-out followed wipe-out until a balloon-soaked victor emerged, furiously pedaling their diminutive bike frame across the finish line. It was, as attendee Jamie C described, “…a riot—I can’t wait for next year!” There was also the Huffy Toss (that’s right, how far can you throw a Huffy), bike limbo and Saturday night BBQ. It was another perfect mix of serious sports and inspired silliness that has made the Vermont MTB Fest such a beloved event of athletes of all ages.
The competition gets ridiculously fun at the MTB Olympics.
A moment of glory, leading the pack, and before the water balloons started flying.
Bikes at the ready.
Typically, biking has skewed male (the Tour de France has yet to include a female rider) but in Vermont, thanks in large part to the efforts of Executive Director of the Vermont Mountain Biking Association, Tom Stuessy, that’s changing. Stuessy proudly boasts that 45% of their bikers are female and kid participation in the Fest is up threefold over the last two years.
Besides family-friendly events like this one, Stuessy points to collaborative trail building as another activity that draws families to the sport. “It doesn’t take a lot of skill to pull a rake,” says Stuessy. “Kids feel that they’re contributing as much as their parents. That’s the family hook. Families who build the trails ride the trails.” Stuessy has more than enthusiasm for bringing more families into the sport, he has stats: family membership of the VMBA has shot up 57% over the last year. “It’s unreal,” Stuessy proclaims proudly.
“Families who build the trails ride the trails.”
The Vermont Mountain Bike Association has done a lot to encourage bikers to hit the trails early.
The Fest prides itself on bringing in bikers of all ages.
Courses are set out to help young riders develop their skills and confidence.
2015’s Fest has a lot to offer families besides the chance for kids to pelt their parents with water balloons. Lodging at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations couldn’t be more convenient—it’s right at the base of the festival’s main staging area. There’s also a special kids track and coaching programs and kid-friendly courses are mapped out each day so kids can hit the trails as well as their parents. For young attendees who’d like to do something off two wheels, Edge Sports and Fitness is offering a Kids Camp from 9-12 each day of the festival where they can swim, hike and craft the morning away. Antiquing? Not on the agenda….
The Vermont MTB fest runs July 31st – August 2nd 2015. Click here
for more information and to register.
Sharing the love of mountain biking.
Enough of this kid stuff. Check out this beautiful video from the MTB 2012 Fest.