Vermont Gran Fondo Returns Once More to Scale Four GapsBy Sue Hoxie
New England’s Most Challenging One-Day Ride Is Ready to Build on 2014 Success
Addison County, Vermont – March 23, 2015 — The Vermont Gran Fondo, the Green Mountain State’s own quadruple-gap century bike ride, returns on Saturday, June 13, after last year’s successful debut.
Some 180 cyclists took part in the first Vermont Gran Fondo, with most participants choosing the Gran route: ascents of the Lincoln, Appalachian, Middlebury and Brandon gaps, the circuit of climbs known among locals as “the LAMB,” where both the views and climbs can be counted on to take your breath away.
Once again, the Gran route will ascend 10,600 feet over 103 miles. The eastern slope of Lincoln Gap features a 24% grade, making it what’s reputed to be the steepest one-mile stretch of paved road in the country.
Two additional routes—loops designated as Medio and Piccolo—will be marked for riders who would prefer to tackle two gaps rather than four. The Medio will cover 69 miles, with 7,300 feet of climbing over the Appalachian and Lincoln gaps, while the Piccolo will ascend 4,100 feet over the Brandon and Middlebury gaps to cover 44 miles.
Afterward, all riders will be treated to a celebration at Lincoln Peak Vineyard in New Haven, Vt., where the “Peak Fondo” vibe will include food, drink, music and international camaraderie. Admission to the après ride party is free with registration; cost to friends, family members and supporters is $10 each.
Tour de France veteran and Cannondale Garmin rider Ted King fell in love with cycling as an undergraduate at Middlebury College, and the Vermont Gran Fondo features the very roads, gaps and scenery that left him smitten.
“The riding in the heart of the Green Mountains is some of the most amazing you’ll find anywhere on the planet,” said King. “The spectacular 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—they all leave me pining for Vermont when I’m riding the world over.”
Added Jessie Donavan, the professional triathlete from Shelburne, Vt., who has won Lake Placid, South Africa and Mont Tremblant Ironman titles and joined the Vermont Gran Fondo peloton last year: “The Vermont Gran Fondo is one of the most challenging and well-run events I’ve been a part of. Riding all four Vermont gaps in one day should be on every cyclist’s and triathlete’s bucket list.”
With Yankee magazine having declared cycling in Addison County as tops in New England region, and the LAMB delivering what Bicycling magazine calls the state’s “Best Bike Ride,” the Vermont Gran Fondo supplies participants with the very best of the best. No wonder Outside magazine touted the event as “a full-blown party.”
“Riding the Medio route last year was everything I hoped it would be—great people, spectacular scenery and punishing hills,” said Steve McKibben, a recreational rider from Lakeville, Conn. “There was a real sense of camaraderie. I’m looking forward to coming back to ride the Gran.”
There is a modest fee to ride in the Vermont Gran Fondo of $100 for Gran and Medio riders and $75 for Piccolo riders. Rates increase by $25 on June 1st. All three routes are supported by mechanics from local bike shops and bicycle-touring companies. There are also multiple rest stops en route, fully stocked with thirst-quenching and protein-packed foods and liquids. With their entry fee, riders also receive professional ride-day photography; a handsomely designed T-shirt; and entry to the après ride party at Lincoln Peak Vineyard. Ride jerseys and shorts may be purchased at additional cost.
For more information and to register, go to www.VermontGranFondo.com.
The Vermont Gran Fondo wouldn’t be possible without founding sponsors VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, bMighty2 and the Addison Independent; and event sponsors Better Middlebury Partnership, Discovery Bicycle Tours, Middlebury Fitness , Vermont Hard Cider Company and the Addison County Chamber of Commerce. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.
About the Vermont Gran Fondo Organizers
The Vermont Gran Fondo is produced by Cycle Addison County, Inc., an organization chartered to support cycling in the region through programming, education, infrastructure and equipment. Its members include cycling enthusiasts and athletically inclined tourism and business development representatives.
For more information go to www.VermontGranFondo.com.