The myth of 20 miles. Dirt in the Driftless.
20 miles, that's the magic number. That's the number that so many riders have been conditioned to look for. It's the ever nagging question. How many miles of trail is there? It determines whether or not some will travel for the expierence. The problem with the 20 mile methodology is that it is a very single dimensional way to look at trails. There is so much more that goes into the experience of riding than how many miles you can hammer out in 3 hours.
That view you see above- guys/gals with the 20 mile methodology don't get to see that. They don't get to jump in the lake after getting burnt out on climbs that can put a strong rider to shame. They don't get to roll out of their campsite on bike and ride some of the most unquie topography in Wisconsin. They miss out on a whole lot of beauty. I don't think most people do this on purpose, it just happens. 20 miles is just the number. It's the number magazines tell them is good, or it's the number of miles people have been led to believe they "need" to have a good time, or it's just an easy number to market. Either way, the topography, easy access to singletrack, dark fertile soils, inversions in the valley, and the sheer beauty of the Driftless is something I wish upon everyone.
Don't get me wrong, every year you'll see shop guys/gals, Vernon Trails crew members, and community members pitching in to build new trail, more trail. But more than building miles of trail we all want to build an experience. Yeah, we'll have 20 miles of continuous singletrack soon. In the mean time we'll focus on creating a better experience for everyone.
The experience can be unique to the individual and the situation. Mom and Dad can easily play with the Kids at Hubbard Hills right on the edge of Viroqua, close to commerce, places to stay, and good places to eat. All this within 6 blocks of the trail head. For the guy looking to bust out serious miles you can still start in town too. We'll set you on the PertNear 20 course. Pertnear 20 miles of riding with a road connector for a few, sure to challenge strong riders. If you're not burnt out after that and want something a little more backcountry you can always make the jaunt to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. Boasting 24 miles of bike trail, its not all perfectly manicured or all singletrack for that matter but if your one to complain about being on 8,600 acers of some of the most beautiful land in Vernon county then this place might not be for you yet. I haven't even covered some of the other treasures of the area yet... I'll leave that for another day.
If you are curious about the trails or current projects in Vernon county check out www.vernontrails.com as well as the trails page on our own website. As always you can stop in the shop for some locally roasted coffee and some local advice on where to play (we get super excited about that stuff!)
Take time to explore. You might not have to go as far as you think.