Mount Equinox Skyline Drive

Mount Equinox, VT – This course climbs Skyline Drive to the summit of Equinox Mountain. Bikes have not been allowed on this private auto road for many years. The Gear Up for Lyme race in 2004 was the first chance for hillclimbers to test their mettle on this beast.

They say the road to Equinox Mountain’s summit has a short 28% grade section, but when I raced this mountain, I never had the impression that any stretch was steeper than 15, perhaps 16%.

The climb has one brief, fast descent the prevents it from being a truly monotonic climb. For the last few years, a $500 cash prime has been offered for the first ride to pass the one-mile mark. $500 for a mile? How hard could that be? Oh, to collect the prize, you must also finish the race within a cutoff window.

The view from the summit is spectacular. Mt Equinox is steep and one of the highest peaks around, so great views abound from several vantage points, especially from the open ridgeline leading to the summit. The road is smoothly paved, tollbooth to the summit. Unfortunately, like Mt Washington, cyclists are not allowed to ride their bikes back down.

Six Gaps

The Six Gaps Bicycle Hill Climb Vermont

Whether you’re up to the challenge of your life or are just looking for a smaller one, you’ll find it all here in Vermont’s Green Mountains.

The Vermont Six Gaps is a ride that you can accomplish in one day or you can decide to do different parts of it instead. Most of it is paved and it has become extremely popular for bike enthusiasts from around the nation.

The air is fresh and crisp in this part of the country with spectacular mountain views and breathtaking scenery at every turn. Here is a brief description of the six various gaps.

You can check out various magazines and brochures about the area and the climb (though some are so complicated that you must really be good at understanding English grammar), but to truly appreciate them, you don’t need magazines, you’ll need to travel here yourself and ride these roads.

Lincoln

This is the big one. This is the gap that separates the highly skilled cyclists from the beginners. This is among the most challenging climbing trails in America and includes a 16% grade section that’s lasting for over a mile.

It is more than 4 miles long with an elevation spanning up to 1,800 feet with a sustained grade of 24% rearing its head at one point along the route.

Whiteface Mountain Biking

Whiteface Mountain, NY. Whiteface Mountain is located just outside of Lake Placid. Whiteface is second only to Mt Washington in vertical gain. The view from the top is quite spectacular.

Prior to 2012, the course started at the four-corners in Wilmington and climbed monotonically 3500ft in 8mi. Now the race starts at the Whiteface Mtn ski area and adds three miles, mostly downhill before the actual climb starts.

The climb does not deviate much from the 8% grade. This doesn’t mean it is easier than the 12% climbs reviewed here, it means you just go faster. Most riders will not need radical gearing to conquer Whiteface, but a compact crank with an up-sized cassette will still be needed for most.

The climb kicks off with about 9% grade for the first three miles. It flattens some around the toll booth area, then resumes 9% grade for the next three miles before tapering off again. Whiteface provides an exhilarating descent, but the road surface continues to deteriorate. The long straight-aways between turns draw you into adrenaline-pumping speed.

You must watch out for huge frost heaves though. You can no longer hit those at speed without consequences. Serious injuries have occurred. With state budgets the way they are, it could be some time before the summit road is repaired. Also use extreme care when overtaking slower riders, who may unexpectedly swerve to dodge frost heaves.