textbook old VT farmsteads everywhere
I think its official. In 2015 if I'm going to VT to do something rad its going to be RAD. Best in years, ideal conditions rad. Camel's Hump could have been a fluke but this is proof of concept. I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD! #jinxed
This was another new to me event (not sure how long its been going on...at least 2 years that I know of). A shortish little loop in the Woodstock VT area with no shortage of climbing. A stop at a sugar shack at about the midpoint with I'd say 85% gravel/dirt 10% pavement and 5% Class 4 snow shredding.
when you are riding a loop and starting a climb with a Dead End sign you are in good shape
frozen mud aftermath
I'd say a good ratio to denote a 'climby' route is 1000ft per 10mi. Thats what we get in my area with all the punchy dirt climbs. This ride was closer to 2000ft per 10mi which is fairly ridiculous. But that kind of terrain is ideal for riding these roads this time of year. Hills drain well, flat roads not so much. Roads were in great shape for this time of year, just a bit soft and greasy. Enough to get you real dirty but very rideable.
Climbing starts almost immediately heading out of town. Pavement quickly turns to gravel and its game on. Up, down, up, down. It was a big group, 150+ but things spread out reasonably quick and the roads were very lightly traveled in that area, I probably only saw 10 cars all day. Course was well marked, easy to follow and they had some support Land Rovers creeping around the course for support.
Eric topping out on the first climb
Very friendly atmosphere. Lots of folks stopping to take pics and passing riders always asking folks stopped if everything was good and if anything was needed. Even had locals out in their yards on the nice Spring day cheering us on as we went by.
The Class 4 sections were great. First one was a slight uphill to a slight downhill with packed out jeep wheel wells to ride in. Snow, ice and mud the whole way. It was tricky but fully doable even on a CX bike. Second one was a descent in deep mashed potato snow. We got into a rut and just out-rigger'd the whole thing. I guess that counts as 'rideable'(?) It certainly was fun.
entrance to 2nd Class 4 section
Sugar shack stop was great. They had all kinds of goodies to eat. The best of which were these little yogurt / granola parfaits with maple syrup to dump all over them. Very niiiiiice. We didn't linger too long as to not cool down too much, plus we had the hardest climb of the day still to come. And it was a doozy. .9 mi at 12% average with a headwall in the middle that had me cutting the slope just to keep from falling over. Luckily after that it was a predominantly downhill cruise back into town.
mini maple museum
And to cap off a great event we got $1 off beer coupons for Worthy Kitchen so we stopped and stuffed our faces with some serious VT 'fast food'.
Again this is one of those events where if you like riding bikes of any kind (there were CX, MTB and Fat bikes in attendance) you should check this one out. Great way to kick off the season.