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  1. #1
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    All hail The Charlemont Trail System!

    It's funny, but you'd think there would be more of a buzz about The newest and most expansive, destination-worthy, trail project in all of New England. Well, I'm here to kick the bee hive.

    In the space of a little less than two years, with the dedicated work of several different trail building smiths and their respective crews (Harold Green and crew, Jon Schaefer and his Berkshire East crew, and Bruce Lessels and his dedicated Zoar Outdoor crew), close to 30 miles of exciting, fun and at times quite challenging bike-specific single track has erupted across the long, steep hillsides of the upper deerfield river valley/ mohawk valley.

    I have had the opportunity to get in three very long rides recently on these new trails with their primary architect Harold Green. Honestly, these have become some of my favorite trails anywhere. First of all, they are carved into the hills and valleys of one of the most beautiful areas in Southern New England. There are great views and landscapes to take in at almost every turn. These trails would be a pleasure to ride anywhere, but getting to ride them in this impressively lovely location is a real bonus.

    Secondly, these trails serve up the longest sustained single track climbs, and the longest sustained single track descents in MA. The run up to the top of Berkshire east is an epic ride in an of itself (no lie, for those of you looking to build up to crushing the climbs at epic races like the VT 50 or the Wilderness 101, the climb to the top of Berkshire East and up Zoar and the Warfield House will give you the mettle to excel!

    The long, dedicated DH descent from the Top of the B'East is a turny, techy, long thrill ride that makes the solid climb up very worth it!

    The Trails on the Warfield House and Zoar Outdoor side, boast similar, challenging, impressive sustained climbs, as well as thrilling prolonged descents...plus a ton of just great crisscrossing, unique and fun singletrack to link the whole thing together.

    Truthfully, These trails all started out pretty rough and raw and took some real hard work (and hard riding) to work them in (which is just the reality of working with the terrain up this way!). But now, the trails...all 30 miles of them, are riding wonderfully.

    I believe Harold is organizing a monster all day Epic ride of these trails (and Hawley!) for Oct 20th or so. Navigating around this system isn't too hard, and there are online maps, and new signage going up all the time. But the best way is getting a local tour on one of Harold's thursday night rides or just getting a hold of a local.

    Oh, and if you do come up, be sure to buy a beer and some good food in the Warfield House Restaurant after your ride!

    Don't let the Fall end without checking out these trails.
    Last edited by SuperbMan; 09-04-2012 at 07:06 AM.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a good time. I appreciate your description of the ride and would be up for checking it out. I think word of mouth takes a little bit of time to spread throughout the biking community. There's also a lot of competition this time of year given that if you live in Boston these trails are almost 3 hours away, which is not much different than places like Kingdom Trails. With that said I'd personally love to check it out, is there maps available? Where do we park and how do you find the trail head?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnar602 View Post
    r given that if you live in Boston these trails are almost 3 hours away, which is not much different than places like Kingdom Trails. With that said I'd personally love to check it out, is there maps available? Where do we park and how do you find the trail head?
    2 hours flat from 128 and 2 outside of rush hours.

    Maps at
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/95775438/CT...nal_7_5_12.jpg
    and
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/95775438/CT...nal_7_5_12.jpg

    Parking at Berkshire East or Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort - if you want to start with a long climb, at the Warfield House to start your ride mid-mountain.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hado_pv View Post
    2 hours flat from 128 and 2 outside of rush hours.

    Maps at
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/95775438/CT...nal_7_5_12.jpg
    and
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/95775438/CT...nal_7_5_12.jpg

    Parking at Berkshire East or Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort - if you want to start with a long climb, at the Warfield House to start your ride mid-mountain.
    Sounds good, if the weather holds maybe I'll head out Sunday. I don't mind a nice climb. Thanks for the info, looking forward to checking it out!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperbMan View Post
    It's funny, but you'd think there would be more of a buzz about The newest and most expansive, destination-worthy, trail project in all of New England. Well, I'm here to kick the bee hive.
    Then I'll kick the beehive right back - you're the first person besides Harold from whom I've heard something positive. My personal experience disagrees strongly with yours - those trails suck. That's the reason there's no buzz.

    Gobs and gobs of potential if any skilled trailbuilder wanted to get out there.

  6. #6
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    C'mon, man-let's keep thinly-veiled ad hominem attacks to off-line face to face confrontations.

    Smelly, you know I know good trails from bad, and allowing some margin for personal preferences, I'm saying the trail system has evolved into an excellent destination to ride.

    I think the earliest iterations of these trails were raw and unfinished and perhaps launched on a the public a bit too soon (and in truth, I held off from riding them because of that longer than I might have-in fact, I down right avoided them until late this spring)-but now, as of Sept 5, 2012 the trails, as a whole, are excellent---and still evolving and improving.

    And there are plenty of others who think so (not to clog this thread with too many local references but...ask the Top riders at the Werks and the Guy who Built Earl's trails what he thinks of the Charlemont trails-as he's up there nearly every weekend riding you might have to come to Berkshire East to get his opinion). Ask the veteran Hill Town riders of Ashfield, hawley and Worthington lore.

    Or just ask me...they are great trails, pretty epic in length, scale and effort. And I had nothing, zero, zip to do with building these trails (actually, that is untruue, I did a trail work day at Zoar on a Trail that I have still never ridden).

    Caveat: They are a lot more fun with gears...even for topflight SS riders like yourself. Yes doable with one gear (better be an easy one, though), but actually enjoyable with 9 or more.

    I love B-street, it's a unique vision now spanning two generations of inspired, hard working trail builders. I love Robinson, it's one unique individual's carefully crafted turny paradise, I love the DAR, it's the Rocky XC vision of two elder MTBing statesmen around here. You damn well know I love Wendell because it's the best ()---I know what the cream of the crop is, I love them all because they reflect the specific taste of each one's respective creator wedding his vision to a particular landscape.

    The Charlemont Trails belong on this list as three different creative groups have forged a great riding area among three differing but conjoined Mountains.

    You know I'd be personally happy to guide you (well, ride behind you and try to steer you in the right direction anyway) to these trails in order to get you to give them a second chance.

    Or, come out at the end of October and join the Hilltown Hard Cores on their long Epic riding all of these trails and Hawley Combined (I don't think, even with two months training I could pull that off, but I know you could, and, I think if you put personal issues with one trail builder aside, you'd really enjoy that ride).

    Liam

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by smelly View Post
    My personal experience disagrees strongly with yours - those trails suck.
    It was only a small matter of time before negativity would flow from this forum -- par for the course.

    Trails never suck, people do.

    These trails are awesome -- especially that Moose trail to Billy's Way -- no matter how you get there.

    And -- btw -- these trails kick ass on a SS.

  8. #8
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    A1- I make plenty of positive posts - in this case, I disagree with what Liam said and I'm saying so.

    Lots of trails suck. There are gobs of places I don't ride my mountain bike because the trails suck. And if you know a thing or two about what constitutes a well-built trail, you know even more trails that suck. I think these trails ride like garbage, and from a textbook definition of how to build trails, they're poorly built. Corners too tight and poorly placed, poor benching technique, poor use of terrain, poor placement...hell, if anyone wants a tour of how to NOT build trail, Charlemont is the place. Based on my personal experience, I strongly discourage anyone from making the drive out there. Your experience may vary.

    By the way, there's lots of positive stuff about this project - the idea of it and the generous landowners and individuals who really want to make this happen. The execution hasn't been very good. That's all.

  9. #9
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    I've got to respond to this attack from Smelly.

    His opinion had some valid points when he formed it, on a single visit during the holiday season last winter. He and a few of his friends were given a tour of some of the Charlemont Trails on a mild day when the frost was coming out of the ground. Conditions that day were at best slimy.

    At that time, though a few trail segments were well established and complete, many of the trails they rode were barely rough raked lines through the woods, others had spots where the off camber areas were marked for further benching, there were even quite a few thigh high sapling stumps waiting the visit of the Pulaski crew; clearly a work in progress. We opened them to expert riders, even led the "Whole Enchilada Ride" a few weekends earlier, in the hopes of eliciting comments and feedback. Many of the riders we gave these tours to provided that feedback - positive and negative - at that time and especially at early work sessions this past spring and summer. ALL of that feedback was considered and most of the recommendations implemented, often during the spring I'd be riding to a spot that needed work and find that the trail gremlins had already done what needed. Together we opened up many corners, re-routed a few steeps, smoothed hundreds of dips and bermed a few turns that were positioned by compromise between geography and fun. Some of that work still remains to be done, but week by week we're continuing to address troublesome spots.

    But, that isn't all. During his tour, they didn't cross the valley to the Berkshire East side so they missed the trails A1 recommended. He's similarly unaware of, or ignoring, the thousands of hours donated to this project, building new trail segments and making the improvements I mentioned above, between the time of his visit and the current vibe Liam expressed in his OP

    I urge you not to let one man's personal attacks keep you from one of the best riding areas around. No longer do you need to travel to VT for long hills and technical skills work. It's here, as Liam said, ask many of the local riders for a tour.

    On the off chance anyone wants to, today Bruce and I are riding from Zoar at 2:00, come see first hand what's here.

    Harold
    Last edited by hado_pv; 09-06-2012 at 06:06 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hado_pv View Post
    I've got to respond to this attack from Smelly.

    I urge you not to let one man's personal attacks keep you from one of the best riding areas around. No longer do you need to travel to VT for long hills and technical skills work. It's here, as Liam said, ask many of the local riders for a tour.


    Harold
    Oh man -- I stand by the trails and the efforts and people that make them. His posts make me want to ride there MORE!

  11. #11
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    Thanks for posting - I'm gonna make the trip out there. Any recommended loops?

  12. #12
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    Evenin' all,

    Berkshires resident here planning a weekend trip to pass judgement on the new trail system. I'm curious about the climbing... should I find some gears or deal with the usual ss sufferfest?

    (I currently get by on most everything with a 32x20x29 sled.)

    Thanks!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TroutBum View Post
    Evenin' all,

    Berkshires resident here planning a weekend trip to pass judgement on the new trail system. I'm curious about the climbing... should I find some gears or deal with the usual ss sufferfest?

    (I currently get by on most everything with a 32x20x29 sled.)

    Thanks!
    Climbs are long, some of the climbing turns are pretty steep. You'll be happiest as close to 1-1 as you can get. If your gearing works for climbing Pittsfield's Turner/HawnWee etc. you'll be ok. Beat, but OK.

    Mountain Bike Ride Profile | 10miles near Charlemont | Times and Records | Strava this was today's ride on the Berkshire East Side, pretty representative of the elevation profiles you'll see on any of the 3 peaks. Don't try to follow this ride exactly, we included a trail section that was just rough raked this morning up to the New Snowmaking Pond - bench crews will be out in the next few week to make it "rideable"
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AuntieAPE View Post
    Thanks for posting - I'm gonna make the trip out there. Any recommended loops?
    What are you looking for? How long and hard? There are a couple of stand-bys we hit pretty frequently. One is looping all the Berkshire East stuff - climbing Bozrah to Wilderness to Hawks mid-way up then crossing to Silver Doe. From the top, cross E Stranged Moose and descend Billy's Way. Somewhere between 1:30 and 2:00 for that.

    Another loop that has less sustained climbing, but more rocky technical is to do All the Warfield Summit stuff. Park at Warfield House, hit the Connector, TV Tower, Get Smart, Lost and Happy Days - probably 1:15 to 1:30. To lengthen that, loop back onto the Connector and take it all the way to Zoar's West Side enjoy that long tight downhill, then climb back up to Warfield by King Phillips or head over to the Riddell Ridge trails for 2 hours more riding.

    If its raining, add at least 20 minutes to these times - the roots and rocks get slick making the climbing a LOT slower.
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  15. #15
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    As much as I hate to add flames to the fire here I have to agree with smelly, but only to a point. Now let me explain.

    A buddy and I trekked out their from Boston earlier this summer [mid July to be exact]. We rode both the North and South sides. Launched from the Warfield House Inn on the North side and from the Berkshire East Base Lodge on the South side.

    On the North side we really, really enjoyed Red Zone, Sweet 16, and Upper West Side. Unfortunately, that was about it. A ton of the other trails just lacked flow, took bizarre routes and really just weren't fun to ride. Add in the ridiculous amounts of off-camber climbs / descents and poor signage and we were done with the North side. All told, we did 9.0 miles and 2770ft of climbing.

    The South side offered a ton of promise solely due to Billy's World. The bad part was getting to Billy's World. The climb to the top of the mountain was flat out bad. The trails meandered, were unfinished in places, ended abruptly in other places, had zero flow and zero signage. If you like to hike-a-bike, hit this side. Billy's World, however, was awesome. Not worth the climb up, shuttle yourselves up in cars if you can, but fun as hell. If more trails existed on the mountain side like Billy's World, it would be a great destination. Unfortunately, in July, these didn't exist. All told on the South side was 6.5 miles and 2229ft of climbing.

    Now I get what smelly is getting at. He makes some valid points. I, however, wouldn't call the trails shitty. I would say they are in their infancy. Look, the trails are new. They aren't going to be like Kingdom, Highland, Waterbury, VT, or other well established trail systems. They are going to be loose, have some flow problems and just be bad until riders ride them and figure it out. I say get out their and check them out. You might really dig them. I for one applaud the effort people are putting in out their. It is nice to see such a trail system in MA come together. Hopefully, one day, it WILL be a destination spot.
    -jk
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  16. #16
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    Sinister, some of your points are valid, just as some of Smelly's were valid in January - most of what he rode were the trails you described as your favorites - West Side, Red Zone...

    We've been working hard on the B East side climbs since we first raked them out in June and July. There are still some rough spots, pending re-routes etc, but there's been a ton of work done in the 6-8 weeks since your visit.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinister View Post
    A ton of the other trails just lacked flow, took bizarre routes and really just weren't fun to ride. Add in the ridiculous amounts of off-camber climbs / descents and poor signage and we were done with the North side.
    Yup. That's pretty much sums up my experiences in Charlemont.

    As a result of all this hullabaloo, a couple of us went up there to check out these trails again. A few band-aids have been put on the bullet wounds, but I maintain my claim.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TroutBum View Post
    Evenin' all,

    Berkshires resident here planning a weekend trip to pass judgement on the new trail system. I'm curious about the climbing... should I find some gears or deal with the usual ss sufferfest?

    (I currently get by on most everything with a 32x20x29 sled.)
    32-21 gave me no problems anywhere.

  19. #19
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    Well,

    We had 21 riders of very diverse ability for the 2nd Thursday Beer, Burger and Bikes Ride at Charlemont last night.

    We actually got a chance to Shuttle to the Top of B'East (thanks Bruce Lessels and Harold!) and Start the ride on E. Strange Moose (excellent, excellent trail). and then rip down Billy's World...we all had our lights on by the time we got to Billy's, that's a very different trail in the Dark.

    The Stronger Group climbed up the Druid Ridge area and then finished the ride on Sweet 16 (amazing, interesting trail), to Red Zone (a long, narrow, switch back descent) and then to the Brook Trail...now I rode the brook trail back in April, and I thought it was a 'questionable trail' back then, but a lot of man hours have gone into that trail and have really got it going in the right direction...very fun to ride, still needs a few more improvements, but the lumber has been purchased and is on the trail waiting to be built (thanks to the Federal Trail Grants!).

    All in all, this is a great place to ride: We sampled two of the longest single track descents in MA (Billy's World, and the Three Trail descent from the top of sweet 16 on the Warfield House side) and Slogged it up one pretty stiff (but soul-cleansing) climb with people who's skills ranged from expert to 'hard working' beginner. Beers and Burgers at the very welcoming Warfield House capped off a great night ride.

    My thoughts after last night's social ride on the Charlemont Trail System:

    1. The notion that this area is still evolving and needs polish as well as expansion is mostly fair, but there are a lot of great, polished trails already there--and the work is being done on other trails. It is really already a great place to ride. And it will get better (more signage on its way!).

    2. It'll never, ever be an 'easy' place to ride and even with several years of more hard work, it will always appeal more to experts and fit intermediate riders. That is just the nature of the terrain/ hills in that area. Which is fine by me....It's why I like skiing Mad River Glen, because it just is what it is.

    3. As I said earlier, this is a beautiful area to ride (or walk)--every time we hit an open field or a mountain top, you are greeted with some of the best views in Southern New England, last night the sky was absolutely bursting with stars (and the weather has been great)...Beautiful areas are always a plus on a bike ride.

    I'm still pretty high on this area. I guess I get that it isn't for everybody, but it is for a lot of people. Come check it out.

  20. #20
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    Reading over everyones comments in this thread, it sounds like these trails are quite labor intensive to ride which would explain the mixed reviews. Sounds like they'd really appeal to a certain type of rider looking for a butt whooping. Nearly 3k feet of climbing over 9 miles is no joke and very rare in this area...add in the fact that they're new, un-ridden in trails and you've got yourself a suffer fest! That said, it sounds like an awesome place to train and I can't wait to check out the new trail system!!

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    Fairly good observations, JSumner13.

    Though, there isn't 3000ft of climbing over 9 miles, nor is their 2200ft of climbing on the berkshire East side (unless you climbed it twice!). Riding both sides, I've done 16 miles with about 3000ft-3500ft of climbing. It's still no joke, and depending on the route the climbing is strenuous, but all doable without 'hike a bike.'

    Sinister's altimeter was off that day (berkshire East only has 1000ft vertical, the climb meanders but it is mostly up, and the trail on top has no sustained climbs). Starting at the war field house side is not as high as the top of berkshire east and you start up 500 feet if you park at the warfield house.

    But, yeah, sustained, sometimes challenging climbs are part of the Charlemont experience...and so are sustained descents. An yes, it is a very good place to train (I'd say, if this was your main training area, you'd be a pretty bad ass climber on a mountain bike).

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    I'm pretty familiar with western ma, where exactly is charlemont? Inlaws in longmedow and brother -in -law in sunderland.

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    LOngmeadow is far, Sunderland is about 30 minutes. Head North on I 91 from Sunderland, take exit 26 (Greenfield) for RTe 2 west. Drive 15 minutes to Charlemont ...trails on the left and right.

    Roughly, it is the northwestern part of the Pioneer Valley.

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    WELL. I have been waiting for the right time to chime in on this one and the time is now. I too rode these trails in January and was shocked at how bad they were. I was waiting to get out there and give them another shot and today I got the chance to do just that. Five of us rode CTS today and after 26 miles here is what I have to say:

    WOW. These trails are pretty bad! Too many BAD corners to count. All of which suck the speed flow and fun right out of the trail. A lot of wet areas that should have been avoided and a ton of off camber, below tree, sillyness. Trails that are still relatively new are already 5ft below where they were built. Don't get me wrong, we all had a good time today, but it was because we were riding our bikes with good people on a perfect day, not because the trails were good. Yeah this place has the climbing, the views and tons of potential. But as for now, that is it. The way in which the trails were built seems as if it was rushed. What should have been built was 10-12 miles of good trails on great terrain bust instead sloppy trails were cut and left unfinished, only to move on to the next poorly built trail.

    Bottom line this place needs a lot of work. Time to stop building new stuff and start fixing what you have. A buzz might begin, if the trails were a little more fun to ride. As for now, I think most who ride wont leave wanting to come back. On that note, we rode from 9-3 and saw not a single person... not on the trails, not at Berkshire East, Warfield House or at Zoar. Just sayin'... on a day like today where are the people?! Not riding CTS...
    Last edited by WHITEFOOT; 09-23-2012 at 06:16 PM.

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    I didn't see anyone at wendell today, either and in truth, I see fewer and fewer people on the trails (except those I am riding with) than I used to.

    I think that there are so many riding spots now in the region that folks don't travel much to ride ( I ride 90% of the time within 2 miles of my front door these days, and that didn't used to be the case). Which, I guess, is great, but I miss running into people from time to time.

    As for the CTS, I like them, tight corners and all. But I get that others might not. Oh, well. Dan, Was the Warfield house open?
    Last edited by SuperbMan; 09-23-2012 at 07:40 PM.

  26. #26
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    So glad those that the local NEMBA chapter paid to learn about trail building and leading volunteer crews couldn't find time to attend any of the dozens of volunteer work days in Charlemont, yet find plenty of time to insult the inprocess work of thousands of volunteer hours in a public forum.

    Just the way to get more people involved in trail work.
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  27. #27
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    Before you get all sanctimonious on us, let me point out that we do tons of work elsewhere and I've never seen you help out at any of those places. Anyway, given how well you and I get along, why would you want to spend a day with me?

    For the record, NEMBA never paid to send whitefoot to trail school. He's just learned everything thing through hundreds of hours of labor. You went a bunch of times and never learned a thing - as evidence by the trails you build - trails below trees, corners too tight, running through seasonally wet areas, poor benching technique. I'm thinking I should get up there with a camera and provide examples.

  28. #28
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    Nice how you think I'm the only one working on trails in Charlemont, I've contributed at most 15% of the total build hours in the project, and not more than 30% of the design/flagging. Though I'm pretty sure a work party consisting of just the two of us would be a tad prickly, I'm pretty sure if you presented yourself, willing to work, to Jon or Bruce, they'd show you where they need the work. I'll condition that by saying with every attack on the CTS system they're probably less willing to put up with your crap even though you know something about building/designing/modifying trails.

    As to your other point, I've only spent a handful of spring clean-up days at Batchelor Street and Earls and a few work days at Robinson, but that's probably nearly equal the number of ride days I've ever spent at those places. As we start talking Wendell, Hawley, Deerfield, Charlemont or other places I regularly ride, the hours riding vs trail work stay about equal though the absolute number gets a bit larger...

    Sorry if I confused Whitefoot with whatever anonymous forum identity was currently in your group and sent to the Trail School in Pittsfield.
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  29. #29
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    I've ridden lots of trails, both east and west, and live for fast, turny, long descents and I think Billy's World ranks right up there with the best of them.

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    Yikes.

  31. #31
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    This is one of the worst/disrespectful threads I've ever seen on MTBR. On the local forum none the less. Jeez guys, we're all here to talk about having fun riding bikes with folks who share the common interest, plain and simple.....let's not lose sight of that. Last time I checked riding bikes was fun....if it's not, you're doing it wrong.

  32. #32
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    Yeah !! !! ! !

  33. #33
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    I'll be attending the Whole Enchilada ride after which I'll be able to give my opinion on the trails. If they're anything like the trails Harold has built at Wendell then they don't suck.
    Last edited by Blue Sugar; 09-28-2012 at 09:41 AM.
    I am not repeating myself I am not repeating myself!

  34. #34
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    There's always one ass crack on every forum.
    I am not repeating myself I am not repeating myself!

  35. #35
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    Spent a few hours starting to prep the Trails for the Whole Enchilada. The leaf blower runs for 2:30 on a tank of gas... Sweet 16, Game Trail and all the Warfield Summit Trails are clear.
    http://facebook.com/CharlemontTrails
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  36. #36
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    Hi all.

    So we are clear, this is Jon Schaefer from Berkshire East. If you want to hate somebody for this trail system, please pick on me directly and not the volunteers who are doing their best, despite have zero stake in my community. For those of you who don't know, I am an owner of the 50% of the land that CTS sits, builder of many of its trails, and someone who rides here 3-4 days a week, because of that let me give you my two cents.

    First of all, my phone number is 413.339.6618 x305. I am available, at work, most days and would be particularly interested in speaking, in a friendly way, to the folks who find it so easy to poke holes into what I, and a bunch others, are trying to accomplish, which is to provide free, advertised, public trail access, in a town that doesn't currently have it.

    I accept that we might have 'opened' trails to early, that we put out a map too soon, and that some sections are incomplete. I apologize, but that cat is out of the bag and I don't think that work we have done is worth the vengeful posting in this forum. At the same time, what would you have had us to do? Maybe more importantly, why is so controversial that some trails weren't quite complete when you first rode them?

    Let me tell you. If you want to get a good evisceration, take your free time, commit your land, find other land owners, and build some trails. You will learn that you are an ******* for doing things too quickly, not finishing a couple of corners, that your trail system should disappear, and that maybe it would good if you did as well.

    Its depressing to be drug down into this rabbits hole of a forum, and I wish I'd never clicked on the link, but since I have I'd like to say that we have largely accomplished what we set out to do, which was to...

    1) Build a great trail system. Not the best trail system in the world, but the best we can build.
    2) Expose locals to fun sport we all love. There is a group of local kids who never would have ridden but are now riding most nights.
    3) Bring business to town. This was accomplished the first time a rider bought a cup of coffee at the local gas station.
    4) Have fun.

    Unfortunately, item 4 for me, is no longer really happening because of the insanely virulent posting, personal attack emails I have received, rumors, negative facebook comments etc. You might of think that I was a bank robber. How blind was I to think that by building some trails we might engender some good will in community?

    In spite of this, I will continue to work on the trail system that I believe will ultimately be a recreational cornerstone for my small town in WMass.

    I welcome anyone to come to my land and lend a hand. I am not hiding a thing, you have my number, you know where I work, come find me and when you show up, I've got a McCloud for you, and we can take care of those controversial corners together.

    Please remember that we are trying to have fun, bring kids to the sport, provide folks with a free place to ride and not take things so seriously.

    PS I'd take a day of riding up here vs anywhere else within a couple hour drive... See you on the trails.

  37. #37
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    I typically do not respond to forum threads but this is an exception. My wife and I rode the CTS 10/21. We are from SE Mass so it was a bit of a hike to get there but we wanted to check it out. We rode the upper parts of the north side including the red zone trail. It is pretty obvious this is a new trail system but one with unlimited potential. Why can't people be appreciative of the efforts to date, recognize the trail system is new and just be o.k. with that? If you think you have something constructive to offer in terms of your time or trail building knowledge than help out. Pretty simple. I for one applaud the owners of the land for both granting access rights to the public to ride on private property for free and for the back breaking effort to cut a trail system. I bet most of these detractors complain when they have to mow their own lawn! If you want the mountain bike equivalent of groomed corduroy buy a rode bike. Otherwise be appreciative and feel fortunate that there are people whose generosity and effort provide you with more and more choices for riding destinations. We will be back and look forward to seeing the trails mature into a true mountain bike destination and throwing back a few beers to help the local economy.

  38. #38
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    I'm sorry I missed the big ride yesterday! With such a huge discrepancy of opinions on the trails, I really need to sample them myself and see what's causing people to have such strong reactions either for or against the CTS.

  39. #39
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    I rode there yesterday and the trails kicked my ass. Yeah, some of the trails are better than others, but I appreciate the fact that they are there at all. In fact, I've just lived here in Mass. 3 years and am really happy with the huge variety of places we have to ride here. Thanks to everyone who is making CTS and all the other trails happen.

  40. #40
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    There are haters, but then there are emails like this I received yesterday...

    Hi Harold,

    Awesome location, terrain and single track! The route marking was extremely well done also.

    Talk about a great training ride. The trails were super challenging but very rideable.

    It all added up to a wonderful event. Kathy and I had a blast.

    Thanks so much for a job well done!

    We’re looking forward to a return trip next year.
    http://facebook.com/CharlemontTrails
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  41. #41
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    I haven't ridden there yet but I'm sure the trails aren't as terrible as some people say (it's hard for me to imagine bad singletrack). But I also doubt they are the utopia that some on other side claim (I've been let down by trails claiming to be "better or as good as KT" before). The only way to find out is to go ride them for yourself!

  42. #42
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    As the guy who started this thread, it may be time to respond again. I have to admit, I was pretty shocked at the acerbic vitriol heaped on these trails (and by proxy, their trail builders as well). To hear that Mr. Schaefer is getting 'angry' emails, is just beyond the pale!

    First off, I'm not sure anyone has claimed them to be a Utopia nor has it been compared to KT (fwiw, KT ain't a riding Utopia either), but I will stand by my claim that this is a great place to ride. Yes, it demands either a high baseline of fitness or a good amount of no-complainin' mountain biker 'grit' to make the most of it. But to me, those sort of trail systems are the best trail systems. These trails are exciting, challenging and beautiful. They have a bit of an 'old-school' aesthetic, serving up some slow-handling segments and tighter than average lines here and there--which, I like.

    But when I read some of the spiteful posts, and hear that letters and emails have been sent to the trailbuilders, I begin to wonder what happened to this sport? People act like they're in a restaurant ordering from a menu...Have people really come to see every place they ride (for free, with no effort required on their part) as a customer-service driven corporate restaurant where they can sneer at the food if it isn't exactly what they ordered, demand to see the manager and be guaranteed their money back and their asses kissed (sorry, I once spent 3 long months working as a waiter in a Ruby Tuesdsay!)?


    These trails will challenge many, tax most, and please more--I am grateful, that B'East, Zoar, and The Warfield House, their respective owners and trail crews have endeavored to carve an impressive riding area into the steep, rocky and lovely hills of the Upper Deerfield Valley.
    Last edited by SuperbMan; 10-23-2012 at 09:52 AM.

  43. #43
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    Veterens day

    I really need to get up there. A nice group ride on Veterens day would be cool, no?
    “People fear death even more than pain. It's strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death." JM

  44. #44
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    The people that cry about the corners here remind of the people that only ski/ride corduroy.

    Many people I respect really dig these trails; and the 4-5 times I have ridden them have been a privilege.

    I usually only heckle haters in here, because I get a kick out of it. But lately I am thinking it is important to let others know how much ANY land access means to MTN bikers. What if someone is thinking about offering their land, or administrative pull to further other mountain bike projects is lurking in here and sees all this in-fighting and thinks "EFF-IT." Then, the whole community loses. LAME.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauldotcom View Post
    I really need to get up there. A nice group ride on Veterens day would be cool, no?
    I'm up for a veterans Monday ride, say noon @ Warfield House. 3 hours or so.
    http://facebook.com/CharlemontTrails
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  46. #46
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    H.,

    Are you going to Post up that Veterans ride on the PV Website?

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperbMan View Post
    H.,

    Are you going to Post up that Veterans ride on the PV Website?
    I'll post this after I know if Sandy's going to mess things up. 3 days of high winds could make a brush clearing day more pressing than a ride :-(
    http://facebook.com/CharlemontTrails
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  48. #48
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    Well, Sandy came and went leaving lots of small branches, but not much substantial damage to the trails in this area.

    Veterans Day Ride - Noon Monday 11/12/12. We'll ride from Berkshire East's main parking lot, be out 3-4 hours? Steady intermediate pace - we'll start out climbing, descend a bit, climb some more - lather, rinse, repeat!
    http://facebook.com/CharlemontTrails
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  49. #49
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    Wow...the negative assessments are just flat wrong! These trails rock only one year in! They totally break the Kingdom Trails mold (which frankly have become excessively boring!) The Berkshire East side of the valley has amazing single track. A single track climb that lasts for ~45 minutes. Moose, on top of the mountain has great flow, challenging natural terrain, and a rewarding view. After Moose, you get to drop down an epic downhill, Billy's World -- I have not descended such a great downhill since riding Utah. The trails ride big, big climbs, long downhills.

    I don't want to psycho analyse the negative feedback too much. I can see how people would walk away frustrated after only one ride up there, and want to blame the trails....These trails are just so bold and different from the statuesque....very well suited for the new 29er full suspension bikes out on the market. Keep going CTS, you guys are building legend!

    My recommend if you are visiting for the first time
    - Link up with a local guide.
    - A 29er, full suspension, with a good set of knobby trail tires
    - Bring your legs, be prepared to climb.
    - Bring your nuts be prepared for some gnarly downhills!

  50. #50
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    That's an interesting assessment of the CTS. I can't comment, since I haven't ridden there in many, many months.

    The only thing I will say is that most of the "less than encouraging" comments are not coming from beginner riders who lack ability or fitness and are frustrated by the challenge, but rather by very strong, technically skilled cyclists who have ridden all over and know what makes a trail fun to ride.

    Hopefully I will get a chance to formulate my own opinion on the trails soon!

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