Sunday, July 29, 2012

SSUSA2012 Stowe VT

I don't even know where to jump in on trying to recap this weekend.  What a spectacle.  This race travels around the country with promoters battling for hosting rights after each edition.  George from won the rights last year and hosted this years edition in and around Stowe, VT.  This scene isn't for everyone, the race is equal parts party as it is biking and this crowd knows how to take things up a notch.

We rolled into town earlier on Friday and set up shop at Dustin's old ski coach's house right in town.  Awesome spot and Jason is fairly hilarious and will probably feature in a winter trip or two for some shredding.  We hung out for most of the afternoon, had a few beers and then rode our bikes up to the Matterhorn for the pre race shindig and to pick up our number plates.  Two were either number 69 or 666.

The next day we rode through town to the start at the polo fields.  Lots of lacrosse families were thoroughly confused with the droves of bikers showing up, some of which wearing lingerie or wonder woman costumes (you can get a feel for the debauchery here).  Lots of guys get pretty ridiculous for this thing.  I preferred to stick with our normal race kit, mainly for comfort on a long ride and to get NEMBA's presence known.  But I was able to find some spoke beads on Amazon earlier in the week so we at least had a bit of style points on the bike.

We got going and got straight to climbing, something we ended up doing quite a bit during the day.  Not sure if my Strava data is accurate, 5,000ft in just under 30mi feels a bit tall but I think Shaun's GPS was reading 3500ft at the finish.  At just 3mi into the race at the top of the first climb we had our first rest station stocked  The owner of the Alchemist was fully stocked with Heady Topper cans and a keg of some slightly lighter beer.  You can only get Heady Topper in the Stowe area so you know we had to stop and hang out for a bit.  It was cool hanging out with riders from all of the country drinking beer in the middle of nowhere.

After some Heady we got back on the bikes and got busy shredding.  All the good things you hear about the Stowe town loops are all well deserved.  Tons of great singletrack and George and crew put together a great course.  We (and lots of other guys) got a bit confused at one point because we didn't realize there was an out and back portion to the course and we were returning to town on a trail we had ridden in the other direction earlier on the course.  Some of the trail marking arrows were facing the wrong direction and many of us thought we had missed a turn.  So we wasted some time and went back and forth a bit trying to find where we were supposed to go.  Eventually we all just said screw it we'll just go back to town and hit the bar.  Low and behold that is what we were supposed to do...go figure.

The mid-station was right in town stocked with beer, whiskey, tequila, candy, cheese puffs and lots of other non-nutritious foods.  Like I said this scene isn't for everyone but we were having a blast.  We hung out there for awhile, Dustin bit through some beer cans...general merriment was had.


Not sure how long we stayed there total but we figured we should get back to shredding and crossed mountain rd and started climbing the trails on the other side of town.  Awesome stuff in there.  We were shredding right along at a decent pace when all of a sudden we see a guy riding back at us telling us we were lost.  We thought for sure we were still on the course...too much tequila at the rest stop?

We ended up getting turned around for a bit with a small crew trying to figure out where things had gone sideways.  We bushwhacked a bit and eventually found a trail that eventually hooked back up with the course.  No idea how/where we went wrong, but chatting with folks at the finish it sounds like lots of other people ended up doing the exact same thing we did.  The back half of the course was awesome.  Some big switchback climbs and some more sweet singletrack all culminating with a descent down Kimmer's which I think arguably is one of the best trails in New England.  So much shred.  The finish area was just another big party in the woods stocked with, you guessed it, more beer.  They tracked results for the first 30-40 riders and then everyone pretty much stopped caring.  We were out there for a long time and came in toward the back of the pack but had a blast doing it.

The competition to host next year, in true New England style, was a maple syrup chugging contest.  Several states put their hats in the ring and battled it out pounding a full pint glass of syrup.  Minnesota came out on top...that dude pounded that syrup in like 2secs, it was impressive.  The crew from Philly was none too pleased but I have a feeling they will come out on top in the not so distant future.


It was a hell of a day...I would definitely consider traveling for this.  Great way to sample the country's gnar and have a few beers while you are at it.  Minnesota in '13?  We'll see.  I'll cross post some pictures and videos as they are posted in the next few days.


  1. that was fun, i like beer and mountain biking.

  2. agreed. what a weekend......

  3. Pint Glass of Maple? Is that approved recovery?