2018 NEMBAfest

It’s been three weeks since Debbie, the kids, and I joined our Team Horst Sports mates at NEMBAfest in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. However, I still wanted to say a few things about the experience.

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It was our first NEMBAfest, though some of our teammates are veterans. I can’t believe it took us so long to ride the Kingdom Trails. Debbie and I passed through a few times more than 10 years ago. Horst Engineering has a customer in Lyndonville and I’ve visited a few times. We have also been to Jay Peak on a few occasions for the Jay Challenge, Ultimate XC, and a variety of other endurance events. I had ridden the roads in Burke, been up the access road at Burke Mountain, swam in the Passumpsic River, but I had never ridden the mountain bike trails until this year.

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10 years ago, I even posted a “weak” blog entry about a trip through Burke. There are some bad links in it and I’m not going back to fix it. The photos from the most recent trip are much better anyway.

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We are longtime NEMBA members and supporters. The festival attracted more than 1,700 mountain bikers and is bigger than ever. Dirt Rag had a nice story about this year’s festival and the photo at the bottom of their post is of three CCAP Team Horst Junior Squad riders (Sean, Lars, and our son Shepard). The festival combines good food, an expo (gear, clothing, bikes, etc.), music, and LOTS of riding.

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Trail conditions were spectacular. On Friday, we got there in the late morning. It was hot, dry, and dusty. We camped in the “quiet” family camping section on a hill overlooking a small pond and the Chapel of the Holy Family. It was an amazing spot and we had about as spectacular a sunset as I’ve experienced anywhere.

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Saturday and Sunday were a little damp with periods of rain, but it was welcome and hardly a nuisance. The moisture “calmed down” the dust and the trails took on a tacky texture which made them much more fun to ride.

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We did group rides with CCAP crew on Friday afternoon, and then did our own Team Horst Junior Squad rides on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning. Debbie and I squeezed in a couples ride and got in other individual rides too. I rode more than 75 miles that weekend. Even our son got in more than 60 miles on the trails. It was pretty awesome. Our daughter, still on 20″ wheels, got in more than 20 miles and loved hanging out at the expo.

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I’ll sum it up by saying that we hope we can make the date in 2019, because we can’t wait to go back. I’m guessing we will make it back to Kingdom Trails before June of next year, but attending NEMBAfest again is a top priority.

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