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.
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.
You can definitely expect your legs to be exhausted when you hit the bottom. If you’re not a seasoned mountain biker you’ll definitely have to be walking your bike along the way for at least part of the journey. Even many experienced bikers find that they can only make it so far before having to push the bike to get to the top.
This is the most popular gap by far, and if you can conquer it you’ll definitely have bragging rights for years to come. It’s just about impossible to stay in the saddle during this ride. You can expect to sweat with every pore of your body even though the trees form a canopy over the narrow road.
Of the six gaps, this one connects Waitsfield to Lincoln, and you’ll definitely appreciate this one since it features a magnificent display of waterfalls. Although it’s a hard slope that required some decent training and preparation and includes an 18% grade rising up 1200 feet, it’s a gorgeous ride and worth every minute of it.
The road is paved all the way up and down but you may find a lot of cracks and potholes as you make your descent. You’ll remember this one for its waterfalls and it’s a great place to get off your bike when you need to take a break to bask in the glory of nature and remind yourself why you’re putting your body through all of this.
Like all of the other gaps here, the Roxbury will seem easy once you’ve completed the Lincoln. This one climbs more than 1,300 feet and a lot of it will be on gravel and dirt roads. You’ll still suffer from this trip but it’s an exciting journey with some paved and some dirt roads to keep you in the mountain biking “zone”.
This route is a lot harder than it looks with 13% to 15% grades and a 2-mile final section that rises 1,000 feet. You’ll find the paved road nice and smooth on your way to Randolph, but once you reach the area you may notice a change from pavement to dirt during the last part of your journey.
If you’re attempting this one as the final leg of your ride you may find it brutally hard, just like Whiteface, after challenging the others.
This is an easier cycling experience and you’ll be so thankful to get a break from the others for a while. The grade is only 6% to 8% on a paved road. There are beautiful mountain cliffs in this part of Six Gaps and the perfect backdrop for a picture.
There are racing events held at the Brandon that you may want to take part in if you’re looking for a mild ascent that follows a smooth path.
In Middlebury, there is an annual cycling road race that’s taking place here on Labor Day weekend that you may consider if you like routes that start off immediately with a 13% grade to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping. You’ll rise 800 feet but it offers a great descent down. There is a country store at the bottom that you can visit to replenish your water supply before starting the trek.
The Vermont Six Gaps is truly an adventure and one that you should experience at least once in your life as a true mountain cyclist. If you’re coming from out of town you’ll find many other New England biking routes around that shouldn’t be missed, just like the Mount Washington Uphill Ride. Take a cycling holiday to make the most of Vermont’s natural architecture – you’ll definitely want to come back for more.