Wow, so much fun! Sadly, I (Kyle) couldn't attend the entire event, but I really enjoyed the time that I was there. Here's a little recap of my Friday night and Saturday morning.
I arrived at Stokesville Campground around 7pm (in the rain) to find a bunch of happy people eating pasta and swapping stories under the pavilion. A large group of riders had just finished the Six-pack run down Trimble and they earned themselves a nice plate (or two) of pasta, salad, and Bella Luna bread. And lets not forget the beer, lots of good beer from Three Notched!
I also grabbed a plate of food and then went on a search for my co-leaders for the scheduled night ride. I found Sue and Ben and we weren't too thrilled about the thoughts of a 20 mile night ride in the pouring rain, but we decided to wait until the very last minute to make our decision.
Thankfully the rain stopped at 8 and at 8pm we rolled out. The three of us and two brothers, on from NJ and another local from Bridgewater headed out of the campground towards Narrowback.
The roads and trails were perfect, not too wet or too dry. However, we were kicking ourselves for eating too much pasta and questioning the beer as we climbed up Tillman West. I think the thoughts of coming back down Tillman West were what kept us going. At the top we took the Tower Trail over to Festival and the brother's peeled off to go get some more beer. Sue, Ben, and I finished up the Narrowback loop with talks of bikes, business, and tonsils.
As we rolled back into camp just after Mid-night, Sue made the smart move and went straight to her tent. On the other hand, Ben and I went back to the pavilion and found some chips and drinks. Roughly 15 people were still hanging around the fire and drink tent and we got caught up in the conversation. Realizing some of us were on breakfast duty in less than 5 hours, we called it an night and headed off to our respective camping sites.
I settled into my van with my sleeping mat and sleeping bag and before I knew it was up again for breakfast.
Breakfast at the Festival is always a treat. We were making sausages, potatoes, eggs, and grilled veggies. As the sun rose, fellow campers slowly made their way to the pavilion to fill there bellies for a day of riding and trail work.
Rides and trail work started around 8am. The Mountain Bike Festival has a ride for everyone. There were advanced rides, intermediate rides, beginner rides, women's rides, and even a ride for the road bikers who somehow found themselves at a mountain bike festival ;)
I was fortunate enough to also lead Saturday morning's beginner ride. This was the first time there was a true beginner's ride at the Festival, so I had no idea what to expect. Well, I was floored when there were over 25 riders who showed up to ride! It was awesome.
We headed out from the pavilion and proceeded to make a clockwise loop around the campground. The trails that Chris Scott, the Shen-Rock Team, and countless others have made on the campground are so much fun! From absolute beginner to novice, you can have fun on these trails. My favorite section was just along the ridge on the Northern-side of the campground. (NICA is holding a race next weekend on these trails and those kids are in for a great event.)
After two laps of the trails we headed back to the pavilion for some delicious PB&J's.
It was about noon, so I packed up my gear and headed home to Harrisonburg. I promised my kids some backyard camping and we needed to get prepared. Next year, they'll be ready for the Festival and I can't wait!