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beginning-cooperation between the state and the Vermont Mountain Bike Association has culminated in a massive I MBA-sanctioned Ride Center initiative that promises 50-plus miles of Grade-A New England singletrack. The new network, which the town has already kicked down $10,000 to start planning, will extend the Town Loops south to nearby Little River State Park, and north toward the base of Stowe Mountain Resort. New trail construction should begin next spring, with a best-case-scenario completion date set for 2013.

Don't feel like scrapping for local trail knowledge? Riders looking to splurge can treat themselves to a stay at the Trapp Family Lodge, which offers a full-service bike shop, an on-call guide and an ever-growing 2.5-mile singletrack loop.

WATERBURY AWAITS While Stowe has the hotels, the dirt jump park and the mushrooming trail network, nearby Waterbury, just 10 miles down the road, has a classic trail network all its own.

Trails including Joe's, Rastaman and Burning Spear have always had rock spines and natural terrain to work with, but they weren't always sustainable-or legal. Now the trails are 100 percent legal, 100 percent signed, and, thanks to a $10,000 maintenance grant from the state, they're near bulletproof. There are only 15 miles of trails, but this isn't West Coast cruising; it's earn-every-pedal-stroke New England riding, complete with roots, rocks and leaf-strewn trails. Those 15 miles will leave most riders severely cooked.

WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE Head west 30 miles and check out the Hinesburg Town Forest, an artfully built (and exceedingly well-signed) 18-plus-mile singletrack network that has a little bit of everything. The scenic hour-and-a-half drive east to the Kingdom Trails might seem like a haul, but the 100-mile trail network is worth it.

When rains come, head 30 miles south to the Millstone trails in Barre, where 50 miles of singletrack carved out of old quarry land await. Its rocky substrate drains water better than anywhere else during Mud Season. Millstone offers epic views, extensive bridgework and, best of all, it's naturally air-conditicned, thanks to granite crannies that trap snow all summer long. —Chris Lesser

BEST TIME TO GO: June to November

EATS: Go for pizza and brews at Rimrock's Mountain Tavern (802-253-9593), across the street from iRide. Or order a "Shed Burger" at the Shed Restaurant and Brewery (802-253-4364), and don't forget to grab a half-gallon growler of Shed Mountain Ale while you're there.

SHOP SUPPORT: iRide in Stowe (802-253-1947, iridevt.com); AJ's Ski and Sport, also in Stowe (800-226-6257, ajssportinggoods.com); and Five Hills Bikes in Waterbury Center (802-244-7330, fivehillsbikes.com).

LODGING: There are 3,500 rooms for rent in the immediate area, from four-star resorts to chain motels near the highway. The Town Loops run through the grounds of the Golden Eagle Resort (800-626-1010, goldeneagleresort.com), or, for the ultimate ride-in/ride-out accommodations, check out the 96-room Trapp Family Lodge (800-826-7000, trappfamily.com).

TRAIL INFO: Maps of Stowe-proper trails are still scarce, but a trail-head listing is available at all local shops, as well as the Stowe Area Association in town. Check out the Vermont Mountain Bike Association at vmba.org for statewide singletrack information.

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