On behalf of the Vermont 50 Race Committee and ALL our landowners and volunteers-WELCOME
You’ve probably heard by now that we lost an integral member, a family member, of our race. Lou Schmertz (fourth from right) passed earlier this week. He was one of the original mountain bikers and has been guiding us over these many years. If you have attended our race in the past, you may have met him at the information table, out on the course where he served as course marshal with Art Keating, out marking trails, or just bopping around in his Jeep with his dogs.
We’ll go on this weekend because he’d want us to! We hope you’ll join us in honoring his memory on Sunday before our 50 mile and 50 km race starts with a moment of silence for the big man, for Lou-ster.
Lou-We’ll all Miss You!
So excited to announce a Vermont Adaptive sponsored OFF ROAD Adaptive Bike Race/Ride on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 12:30 p.m.
Join us Saturday, Sept. 23 from 12:30-2 p.m. (the day before the Vermont 50) to learn more about our adaptive mountain bike program and ride some of Mount Ascutney’s trails. All abilities welcome, from never-ever to advanced riders. The ride will take place on the same trails as the kids’ fun race, just prior to their race on Saturday, right at the start/finish.
This leisurely 1-mile ride welcomes all adaptive and non-adaptive riders and is part of Vermont Adaptive’s open enrollment program. Reservations are required if you need to use our bikes (the number of bikes is limited). The ride itself is free and people are welcome to bring their own bikes.
After the ride, beginning at 2 p.m., we’ll have bikes to demo at the Vermont Adaptive tent as well, for those who might want to try the bikes but not go out on an official ride.
Please email Olivia Joseph at email@example.com to learn more about the ride and equipment needs.
Notes from On Course from Course Guru-C. Michael Bell
Now that we’ve dialed in the 2017 Vermont 50 routes – the 50-miler, the 50k, and even the kids’ running and biking races – we thought we’d make mention of two organizations that play a key role in this event: Sport Trails of the Ascutney Basin (STAB) and Ascutney Outdoors (AO). Between them, they provide the foundation of trails and the physical event venue that the Vermont 50 calls home.
STAB is a group of outdoor recreationalists who have built the renowned Ascutney Trails network on Mt. Ascutney, along with a large system of un-mapped, non-public trails throughout the surrounding hills. While much of the VT 50 route is open only for the day of the race, Ascutney Trails is open to the public for year-round non-motorized recreation. The Ascutney Trails MTB and trail-running network] was developed and is maintained by the membership-funded STAB, which is a chapter of Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA). All proceeds from memberships and donations go directly into trail building, thanks to the great administrative support and advocacy provided by VMBA! It is through these trails that participants will finish their challenge, swooping down the long smooth curves of Last Mile across the newly rejuvenated ski slopes before plunging over the skier bridge and toward the crowds waiting at the finish line.
Ascutney Outdoors is a young organization established to manage the former ski area property acquired by the Town of West Windsor in 2015, and added to the West Windsor Town Forest. AO kicked things off in fall 2015 to re-establish basic lift-served skiing on the slopes of Mt. Ascutney by building a new rope tow almost completely through donations and volunteer efforts. With the community rope tow up and running at Ascutney Trails, AO is working on other capital improvements to the base area. Most notably they purchased the former ski area base lodge, which sat for several years as a burned out shell casting an ugly shadow on the mountain. That lodge is gone now (torn down in the spring of 2017) and will soon be replaced by the new Ascutney Outdoors Center: a base camp for AO’s activities and programming, including year-round trail-based recreation, cultural events, and conservation and education programs.
Stop by the Ascutney Trails tent at the vendor fair on Saturday afternoon when you pick up your registration packets to say hi , or to learn more about the partnership between STAB and AO, the trails, and the Ascutney Outdoors Center. If you like the trails and the venue we call home, let them know!
See you on course, less than 4 weeks to go!
ps – remember, if you’re not signed up to race, there’s still plenty of need for volunteers!
Editor’s Note: The Vermont 50 Race Committee would like to THANK the volunteers from STAB and Ascutney Outdoors-they’ve really set up some great trails for us.
Notes from the course by Trail Guru Mike Bell
It’s often mentioned during the weeks leading up to the 50 that most of the course is open just for this one day of the year. The landowners whose properties we cross have been immensely generous for the last 25 years – and of course we cannot share our gratitude enough. But what does it mean to the team tasked with getting those 50 miles (and then some) ready by the last week of September?
Our work starts months earlier, as we go over past route maps and collect landowner permissions. By and large the course is consistent from one year to the next, but we’re always looking to improve the experience. For 2016 we tried out a new opening segment, added a mile of new single-track in the middle, lost several sections of favorite trails to landowner changes, and substantially modified the final 5 miles.
Again in 2017, we will be making adjustments. As we speak the team is finalizing the details, both subtle and significant, to make sure that all the races provide the right balance of excitement, challenge, and safety within their measured distances. And don’t forget the kids’ races – the day before the main race we set up multiple race courses on Mt. Ascutney for kids to run and bike!
As August comes to a close we will start the physical course prep. Scout crews will be rotating through the course sections looking for work to be done – removing downed trees, fixing erosion issues, cutting back brush, and any other hazard mitigation that needs to be done. When trails are only open for one day a year, there is a lot of clean-up to do! During the short, fast week that precedes race weekend, we’ll make a final pass through the entire course to put up markers and make sure nothing else came down since the scouts went through.
We hope you enjoy the 25th anniversary Vermont 50 course. While you’re out there, if you think to yourself what a great section of trail you’re on, or what challenging hill you just topped, remember that there’s a generous landowner making it possible for you to have that experience. Treat everyone you see as if that person could be that landowner (it just may be true), thank every volunteer you meet, and keep a steady rhythm. We can’t wait to see you out there!
Editors Note-THANK YOU to ALL our trail volunteers, landowners and to the members of STAB!