LAMB Road Bike Ride in Vermont
By Mike Boisvert.
Nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains of Vermont is a cluster of mountain pass roads. The area lies just north of Rutland and Killington, and all but a few miles of this ride is paved. This ride continues to grow in popularity. Many groups and individuals set out to finish this ride each year. It is truly an epic ride, one that rivals the toughest one-day organized rides in the mountains out west. There’s great scenery out here, from open lush grazing valleys, rushing mountain streams, and vistas from several of the gap summits.
Six Gaps Features:
- Approx. 132 miles riding distance
- Approx. 11,700 feet of climbing*
- Six major climbs ranging in 1300 to over 1900 feet net gain
- One moderate 500 foot climb through Granville Gulf
- Sustained grades of 20% to 24% on Lincoln Gap
- True loop – no backtracking or revisiting earlier points
- Can bail-out after 2 or 4 gaps
- Nice views from many of the gaps
This ride will take a lot out of you. There are many country stores and gas stations on the main north-south corridors along the ride for re-fueling, so you will not need to take two gallons of fluids with you. There is at least one country store at the bottom of each gap. Plan on a full day on the road for the full 132 mile, 14,500 foot ride. Time in the saddle will depend on fitness level and how aggressively you tackle this ride. Expect to spend 7.5 to 8.5 hours in the saddle. Total elapsed time for the ride ranged 9 to 11 hours. The pace has ranged from large group going moderate on climbs and conversational between gaps to small group attacking climbs with fast paceline between gaps.
Mile 1: The LAMB [LIncoln, Appalachian, Middlebury and Brandon Gaps] starts in Rochester with 20 pleasant miles north on Route 100. Mile 21: The mother of all climbs, Lincoln Gap. The climb starts paved, then gravel where it’s not very steep. But beware when the pavement starts again. It gets nasty steep, and stays that way all the rest of the way to the top. The top mile averages close to 20% grade, with some sections at 24%! You'll probably be walking up at some point. Mile 45: App Gap, a 10-mile long slog with a 15 percent grade under a cliff. Probably the second hardest to climb. This gap offers the nicest views from the top. The road stage of the Green Mountain Stage Race ends at the top of this gap, and you feel like you’re climbing Alpe d’Huez seeing race fan graffiti and km to go markers painted on the road. Mile 73: Hard choice. Four flat miles to the car [a two-gapper known as the LAMB Chop] or continue the death march over Brandon and Midd Gaps? Brandon Gap is the easiest of the gaps to climb. Middlebury's mile-long 15 percent will have you weaving across the road. Middlebury descends into Hancock with country stores at junction with Rt 100. Mile 80: Sparkling Lake Dunmore. Jump in and let your body sizzle. Mile 97: The last five-mile pull ending in a 12 percent grade, then 10 [mostly downhill miles to the car.
If it's not the hardest 10 hours in the saddle, it's close. For the truly demented, add Roxbury and Rochester Gaps for 20 more miles of pain.
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