2019 Vermont 50 Mile MTB “Old Reliable”
I first registered for the Vermont 50 Mile Mountain Bike Race in 2014 and have looked forward to each year since then. I completed the ride in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. In 2017 and 2018 I was registered but instead took photos and videos of the event. This was my 4th VT50 on my Marin Nail Trail 27.5 Hard Tail. Out of the bikes I have owned, this one has been my favorite. It only retailed for about $1250 in a world where you can easily expect to pay much, much more for a bike.
Other then upgrading the wheels to Stan’s Crest and changing the brakes out to Shimano LX, as well as general maintenance of chain, tire replacements and brake pads, the bike has held up...for the most part.
10 days before the 2015 race I cracked the frames seat stay and this was my only mountain bike at the time...still is. The trails we have here in the New York New Jersey area are pretty rocky. Even modest riding can beat up the bikes pretty good. Campmor; where I purchased the bike from, and Marin quickly had a replacement frame for me and I was able to make the race that year.
So this years race was my 4th year lining up with the Marin. I tried to retire it. I had a brand new bike ready to go or so I thought. First pedal stroke on the new bike I immediately heard a clunking sound. Not good. Race was just 2 days away. Granted, the process of getting a new bike should have happened at least a couple of weeks prior. After spending little time trying to trouble shoot the issue, I scraped the idea of racing it at the VT50 and immediately returned my attention to getting my trusty old Marin Nail Trail ready. Which I was getting excited about.
I had broken down the Marin to use some parts for the new bike but had to scramble to build it back up. I had to steel some parts from wife’s bike but I was able to get it ready to ride 50 miles of some of the best country trails and dirt roads Vermont has to offer. I would have liked to have replaced the tires, chain and brake pads but I had to go with what I had. I just needed to baby the bike along and be as efficient as possible with my efforts.
I register each year for the VT50 because for one, it’s Vermont. The community is awesome and all proceeds go to the Vermont Adaptive. This race also supports my fitness and the freedom to ride. If I didn’t register the last few years, I probably wouldn’t have been on the bike all that much since it is easy for me to just throw on my running shoes and hit the trails with my wife and dog Sam.
I was able to capture a lot of sections of the race with my GoPro Hero 7 Black. You can hear me creaking along with every pedal stroke. It was a little sketchy for me on the downhills as my rear skewer loosened up on me 2x while out there. Not sure what was going on there but I had to be really cautious on the descents and couldn’t take them as aggressively as I would have liked.
I highly recommend this race. Whether you're new to mountain biking or a season roadie looking for a new challenge, this race is for you. The mountain bike race sells out fast, usually within the firsts day of registration opening. This years race had 768 riders (691 males 77 females) with 644 finishers and the average age was 45 years old. The course is a counter clockwise loop with a great mix of dirt, gravel and woods roads with plenty of fun single track, especially towards the latter half.
I will be registering for next years race and I am hopeful that it will go as planned. If things don’t go as planned, no worries, I will still be ready to enjoy the day. Registration opens in May 2020.
The Vermont 50 is an amazing organization and is the largest fundraiser for the Vermont Adaptive. The VT Adaptive encourage and allow individuals of all abilities to challenge themselves through sports, to learn more or to donate please visit https://www.vermontadaptive.org.