While the rain finally let up this past week, I grabbed the free moment I had and was able to meet up with Tim, a pink bike enthusiast from from Northfeild Vermont, to head up the trails I heard about at the Norwich University Ski Hill.
Today was a nice day. I say nice because the rain was on and off all week and there was just enough break in the stormy weather to go out for a short ride. I headed south to Northfield Vermont, home of the Norwich Cadets, to visit the Norwich Ski Hill trails. Wind was high, clouds were iregular and the sun was warm.
I arrived at the University today a little early so I decided to hang around the Campus Green and take a few pictures. Norwich University is home to the Norwich Cadets. A Military University, Norwich holds lots of proud history and many of the best leaders of our country have come through this school. Northfield, the town surrounding the school, is a briliant town and also has it's rich history in Vermont.
Tim, my travel companion today, arrived as scheduled in a '97 Imprezza subaru, which clearly marked his drive for biking as the bike he was carrying took up all of the back hatch door .
Looking at his bike I knew I was up for a good ride. Then, Tim brought out a full face helmet and leg armor. I started to feel maybe I was little under dressed with my basic street helmet and my P1 All Mountain Specialized. Tim's bike something to admire, almost a steed Robo cop would ride through L.A with hydrolic breaks that would stop a fully loaded dump truck on Duxbury Hill!
We climbed up the Ski hill bikes at our sides with an amazing percent grade that felt more like climbing Kilamanjaro in winter. The hill starts right off at a very steep climb and doesn't give up until you reach the top. My socks were wet with sweat and we stopped momentarily so I could take off my helmet and sweatshirt. It is a Ski Hill , so one would not expect anything less than very steep grades. While the sun was out we conversed, discussing types of riding, types of terrain and skills and ability training. Tim is a knowlegable rider and had many good tips to help me understand the world of Free/ Downhill biking.
Arriving at the top, we stopped to take in the awesome view over looking the University all the way to Sugarbush North! I climbed a top what used to be the lift tower and took some pictures. Clearly, this relic of a ski hill had some great times, and today they continued as Tim and I decended downward into the wooded trails.
The trail Tim took me down was technical at best! I really wasn't prepared to hold my rear brake all the way down the hill, but the steep slope sides were too much for my little framed bike and my little brakes. I made it down in one piece, dodged a few trees, weaved in and out of rock ledges and bumped over some logs. The berms on the trail were solid and very fluid, giving my hands a nice break in between white knucking it down the hill. At the bottom, in 5 minutes, we talked breifly and said our good byes thanking each other for our time, being this was the first time we had ever met. I promised the Mrs. I would get back home so I could help clean our old apartment to get it ready to show to a new tenant. Tim, once more, thanked me for the time, and assured me that certainly we would do this ride again.
As I left town, the rains came in again and dark clouds gathered quickly to spoil another afternoon, but today I cheated the weather just long enough to get a thrill, from the Norwich University, Ski Hill.