“In that first year, we had hoped 50 people would show up for this.” - Heidi Myers
Heidi had to yell to reach above the din of the David Bowie cover band playing in the Burke Mountain Hotel ballroom against a backdrop of bike industry brand tents and would-be Rasputitsa riders. “I can’t believe it keeps getting bigger,” she added. Bigger than ever with 1300 riders this year, the 2018 incarnation of Rasputitsa was the largest yet, proving the event has grown into day with its own gravity. It’s an unofficial opening of the riding season, held in a place more suitable, particularly this year, to light cross country skiing than pedaling. What draws people is the chance at a riding experience completely wed to a locale: it is impossible to separate Rasputitsa from the gnarled roads of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom or to close out the day as a participant without respect for just how unrelenting 40 miles of muck and trouble are when mixed with drop bar bikes and high expectations.

From 350 to 1300 riders, the opening kilometers of the event are as competitive any other. Photo: Meg McMahon

Riders navigate one of the snow-covered sections mid-race infamously known as Cyberia. Photo: Meg McMahon

They were also hungry pot holes. Hungry for flesh and water bottles. The Sarlacc pit of dirt roads.

- 2018 Race winner and Velocio rider, Kevin Bouchard-Hall

The course is comprised of 40 miles of dirt roads and jeep tracks of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. Photo: Meg McMahon

RASPUTITSA in all her glory (Long, snowy running section not included. That was not “glorious”.)

- Velocio rider, Ted King via twitter post-Rasputitsa
Ted wearing the ES Jacket
Kevin wearing the ES Longsleeve // Wind Vest

Laura wearing ES Jacket // Thermal Fly Bib Short // Thermal Leg Warmer // Powerwool base layer Photo: Meg McMahon

You can’t let go of your focus. It’s a course that doesn’t give much relief.

- Laura King in the finish chute

The Rasputitsa is about participation, community and breaking through the doldrums on unfriendly winter. It's also about giving your all (as was clearly the case with the toddler pictured at the post-event fire pit.). Photo: Meg McMahon