Vermont Gran Fondo To Debut With Quadruple-Gap Century
June 14 event to traverse Green Mountains, Champlain Valley, with four climbs
Middlebury, Vt.—The Vermont Gran Fondo, which makes its debut in the Green Mountains on Saturday, June 14, will be a fusion of things that beg to be mashed up.
Century rides have long been the rage among avid cyclists, and quadruple-gap rides are enjoying a spate of recent popularity. Vermont’s first stand-alone Gran Fondo will feature a quadruple-gap century—104 miles of riding, including the summits of the Lincoln, Appalachian, Middlebury and Brandon gaps.
Those four mountain passes—known among locals as “the LAMB”—have a regional reputation for ascents and views equally likely to take your breath away. The eastern slope of Lincoln Gap features 24% grade, making it what’s believed to be the steepest stretch of paved road in the country.
With Yankee magazine’s 2011 Best of New England having named cycling in Addison County, Vt., as tops in the region, and the LAMB delivering what Bicycling magazine a year later called the state’s “Best Bike Ride,” the Vermont Gran Fondo will supply participants with the very best of the best. No wonder Outside, in a “Summer Escapes” roundup in its June 2014 issue, touts the event as “a full-blown party.”
“The riding in the heart of the Green Mountains is some of the most amazing you’ll find anywhere on the planet,” says Ted King, the Tour de France veteran who fell in love with the sport as an undergraduate at nearby Middlebury College. “The spectacular sinuous roads, the iconic New England scenery, the rolling hills with just the right mix of pavement and dirt, as well as the notorious gap climbs—they all leave me pining for Vermont when I’m riding the world over.”
The Gran Fondo route will include some 10,000 feet of climbing. Loops of Medio (69 miles, 7,300 feet over two gaps) and Piccolo (46 miles, 3,000 feet over two gaps) difficulty will also be offered to accommodate a range of abilities.
To celebrate the inaugural Vermont Gran Fondo, the Addison County shire town of Middlebury will host a cultural festival in the days leading up to the ride.
Middlebury Cyclefest 2014 will include an appearance by Wall Street Journal reporter Reed Albergotti, co-author of Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever. He’ll be in conversation with Sports Illustrated senior writer Alexander Wolff. The event, sponsored by The Vermont Book Shop, will take place on Thursday, June 12, at 7 p.m. at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Association. Admission is free.
Alex Gibney’s documentary The Armstrong Lie will screen the next evening, at 7 p.m. at Middlebury’s Marquis Theatre, with admission free to Gran Fondo registrants. The cost to others will be $5.
Also on June 13th, between 5 and 7 p.m., stores and restaurants will host the monthly renewal of the Middlebury Arts Walk. Local artists will decorate and display a dozen junk bicycles, donated by Local Motion/Bike Recycle Vermont, around downtown.
Throughout June, Middlebury’s award-winning localvore pizzeria, American Flatbread in the Marble Works, will exhibit the 2013 Tour de Lead Graffiti, the 23 stages of last summer’s Tour de France as interpreted through letterpress broadsides by the Lead Graffiti printmaking collective of Newark, Del.
Proceeds from the Vermont Gran Fondo will be plowed back into the sport through the event’s organizers, Cycle Addison County, a non-profit chartered to support cycling in the region through programming, education, infrastructure and equipment.
For more information and to register, go to VermontGranFondo.com