After the marathon I was looking forward to the few weeks of ‘recovery’ training and getting on my mountain bike for the first time this season and also my old Merlin racing bike. Jack sent me another smart training plan for most of June with plenty of cross training time to enjoy the bikes! I really love having a running coach! Thanks Jack!
I was very surprised at my recovery time after the marathon. I thought it would take me 4 weeks to recover but I was feeling pretty good after 4 days which was a shockingly good surprise. I had heard about people taking forever to recover or even walk after their first marathons. All those green smoothies and fresh veggies and fruit really worked like a charm! But I would say that easy running the next day after any running event is also highly beneficial to a speedy recovery on top of eating smartly. Jack had me running all week right after the marathon. At first I was nervous about not taking any days off and logging some couch time, but I put my faith in Jack. Running was exactly what my legs needed! I’ll admit that the day after the marathon I was actually jogging very slowly but I was proud of myself for getting out there! I felt like a granny and kept laughing at myself. But luckily it got better each day and by the end of the week, I was running back to normal.
Off to the Kingdom!
So exactly a week after the marathon I felt I was ready to dust off my very nice BMC mountain bike and take it to the Kingdom Trails out in East Burke, Vermont which is in the Northeast Kingdom. On Sunday, June 5, 2011, Scott and I drove out to meet our friends, Dan, Chris and Tom and had a fantastic day of riding. I was a little bit nervous as Dan, Tom and Scott are very good technical riders. And they are also fast and strong! But I surprised myself and held my own with the Alpha males that day! Chris did great too and it’s her second year on the mountain bike! I was so impressed with her ability to handle the hard technical downhills so fast and with a complete lack of fear! She’s a great skier too!
The Kingdom Trails are some of the best mountain biking found in the Northeast of the USA. We are extremely lucky to have this playground within close enough distance for a fun day trip. The trails are not overly technical and they have an amazing flow to them. You can ride all day and only cover a portion of the trails available. It’s truly some of the best and most enjoyable single track we’ve ridden.
In spite of the previous spring monsoons, the trails were in great shape and mostly dry! According to my Garmin, our riding time was 3.5 hours and we only hit a few trails with some muddy spots and it was mostly on the side south of Darling Hill Road. I have to say we were very impressed with the conditions and the level of trail maintenance. They do a great job! Riding over dry roots and rocks makes it so much better and safer!
Overall it was an epic day on the mountain bike! There were times when I felt out of my comfort zone when doing some technical descents, but sometimes you have to venture out of this zone to improve your skills.
And I walked away a better rider after spending a day with very good mountain bikers and pushing my pace on the technical spots. I’m happy to report that my legs felt very good the whole day of riding. Marathon training has made my legs pretty darn strong for bike riding. Even while trucking up the hills towards the end, I was feeling fine. I can’t wait to go back soon! We love the Kingdom Trails!
Some Road Bike Rambles
The following Friday after our trip to the Kingdom Trails we decided to take the day off and spend it on our road bikes. The weather forecast for the weekend was looking very rainy so we decided to take advantage of a gorgeous day. This was our first ‘big’ ride of the season on our road bikes. With a very rainy spring, marathon training and then marathon tapering, a nice long ride didn’t happen until June 10, 2011!
So we decided to ride one of our favorite loops which is an absolute pleasure! We call it the Bakery to Bakery Tour. We start at On the Rise Bakery in Richmond Vermont and ride to the Bristol Bakery in Bristol for soy lattes and a small snack break. It’s a beautiful route with so much picturesque scenery and on a sunny day, it’s just amazing! I like to use www.mapmyride.com to figure out bike routes and get an idea of mileage. Here is the mapped out ride: Richmond to the Bristol Bakery- 51 miles
This past Sunday was gorgeous day with sunny skies and temps in the mid 70s F! We had been watching Sunday’s forecast closely and were so happy that it would work out well for another long bike ride. Sunday is usually a cross training day for me before my “long run” on Mondays. We were originally thinking it would be fun to climb the notch over Stowe on Route 108 and head past Smugglers Notch. But it was Fathers Day and we were concerned there might be a lot of traffic up in Stowe. It turned out that we needed to get new cleats for our new road shoes, so we headed to Onion River Sports in Montpelier with bikes on the roof rack.
We parked near Onion River Sports and headed up Route 12 to Morrisville with a photo stop at Lake Elmore. I mapped out the ride here: Montpelier to Morrisville Out and Back-52 miles. It turned out to be a nice choice for the day and a bit more challenging than expected! While it was a gorgeous day out, it was also very windy which can make it challenging on the bike depending on the direction you are going. So heading north to Morrisville, we had a good head wind and many unfavorable cross winds the whole way up. And from Worcester to Elmore it was a gradual climb which made it even more difficult with the wind. But we were troopers and still had a great ride. To our surprise and delight, Route 12 was newly paved 4 miles past Worcester and the sweet road conditions went on for a good 6 miles until we got close to Lake Elmore. It was just a pleasure to ride the super smooth road that even had a shoulder. And with a very tolerable amount of traffic, the wind and hills were really not so bad! We were having a great time!
Once we got to Lake Elmore we stopped for a few photos by a picnic area next to the Elmore General Store. This lake is so pretty with Mount Elmore in the background. It’s a very pristine mountain lake nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont. There are lots of beach cottages and a public beach for the community. It’s a true gem!
At mile 26.3 (according to my Garmin) we arrived at the Bees Knees in Morrisville for a late lunch and fuel for the return ride back. We love Bees Knees! It’s an eclectic little cafe/coffee house that has very good vegan options. The front room is a very laid-back coffee house setting with little tables and a small bar. There’s a piano and a spot for musicians. The back of part of Bees Knees is a very nice, cozy and hip little dining area for lunch and dinner. We’ve had a few lovely dinners in the past and should really go more often. They even serve wine and good local beer. But on this occasion we just ordered two plates of scrambled tofu with bread and some hash browns. The tofu was super good! Scott and I both enjoyed it! And it turned out to be filling yet light enough to fuel us for our ride back to Montpelier.
The ride back started with a good climb out of Morrisville. The sign said it was a 9% grade but I think it was more of a 6% grade. We took it nice and easy and then enjoyed the descents back down to Lake Elmore. We continued on since we had gotten enough photos already. After a couple more climbs we left Elmore and the road became that glorious newly paved bliss! And to our delight we had mostly tail winds and favorable cross winds to make the gradual down hill very fast and fun! Scott and I took turns taking good fast pulls. It was quite the hoot trucking along so fast. The ride back was so much quicker!
All and all it was a lovely bike ride and Route 12 is so pretty. After the small village of Worcester you ride through forest and what seems like wilderness with no houses or anyone around. I love that part of the ride! When we have more time and miles on our legs, I’d love to extend this ride into a bigger loop. There are many options in various directions. We definitely have some nice road riding here in Vermont!