Vermont Gran Fondo Offers New Routes and a Festival
The climbing will be no less challenging, the views every bit as breath-taking.
Established in 2014 as the Green Mountains’ premier cycling event, named one of the U.S.’s Top 10 “Must-Do” Gran Fondos for 2016, the 3rd edition of this iconic event takes place on June 4th 2016.
Previous editions have challenged cyclists from all over the US, Canada and internationally, with the daunting “LAMB” ride - the Lincoln, Appalachian, Middlebury and Brandon gaps in succession.
This year, the Green Mountain State’s premier cycling event will mix things up this summer!
Planned repaving on Routes 125 and 73 will reduce sections of the Middlebury and Brandon gaps to gravel, so organizers have twinned the Roxbury Gap and the Moretown Mountain with the Appalachian and Lincoln gaps.
“We have too much respect for the Vermont Gran Fondo’s many friends and their finely-tuned equipment to ask them to bike over rugged surfaces,” says event director Sue Hoxie. “So we decided to make a virtue of necessity and give riders a chance to scale two new Green Mountain summits. And they’ll still be ascending Lincoln Gap. Indeed, for Gran riders, a full day of cycling will culminate in that legendary climb.”
The Gran Fondo route will make for a challenging quadruple-gap ride with 105 miles and more than 10,000 feet of climbing. The final ascent will take cyclists up the eastern slope of Lincoln Gap, with 24% grade that’s purported to be the steepest paved mile in the U.S.!
The Gran route will also lead riders through five covered bridges (in Waitsfield, Warren and Northfield) to give the event that Classic New England feel.
The very well-stocked feed stations will be atop the App and Lincoln gaps and the new route features lots of country stores along the way in Starksboro, Lincoln, Warren, Waitsfield and Northfield.
Roughly 10% of the planned Gran route will cover iconic Vermont dirt roads, which are hard-packed and easily navigable by road cycling bicycles.
The ever popular Medio Fondo will remain unchanged from last year, with 6,800 feet of climbing over 64 miles, including the Appalachian and Lincoln gaps.
Piccolo riders will enjoy a route entirely within Addison County, home to what Yankee magazine has called “the best road cycling in New England”, covering 43 miles and rising 3,700 feet as they go from Middlebury to Bristol and Lincoln, then back again.
To minimize the time gap between first and last finishers, Gran and Medio riders will start at 9 a.m. and Piccolos at 11 a.m. The fee is $110 for the Gran distance, $100 for Medio riders and $75 for Piccolo riders. Rates increase on February 1st and again on May 16th so early entry is advised.
Riders on all three routes will be superbly supported by mechanics and SAG wagons from local bike shops and bicycle-touring companies.
All entrants are invited to pick up their registration packets and receive a complimentary bike check at Woodchuck Cider House from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 3rd or the morning of the ride starting at 7 a.m. With registration, participants also receive professional ride-day photography; custom-designed cycling socks; and entry to the après-ride party. Vermont Gran Fondo cycling jerseys and shorts may be purchased at additional cost.
Ted King, a professional road racing cyclist, Tour de France veteran and Middlebury College graduate, knows the L.A.M.B. ride well, previously commented “As a freshman at Middlebury College, I watched my brother win a collegiate national championship finishing atop the App Gap. Middlebury is the epi-center of where I found and fell in love with cycling - for obvious reasons. The riding there in the heart of the Green Mountains is some of the most amazing as you’ll find anywhere on the planet. The spectacularly 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 all leave me pining for Vermont’s riding when I’m riding the world over!”
According to Strava - when it comes to climbing, Vermont came out on top with a climbing average of 1,460 feet followed by Colorado’s 1,307 feet and California’s 1,297 feet in 2015.
For more information and to register, go to www.VermontGranFondo.com.