Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Six Gaps of Vermont (er … sort of)

Notices
Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Six Gaps of Vermont (er … sort of)

Old 09-25-19, 09:11 PM
  #1  
dicktill
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 197
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Six Gaps of Vermont (er … sort of)

To any of you that have done any of the Six Gaps of Vermont, a tip of my hat to you.
To any of you that have done all of the Six Gaps of Vermont, my hat is off to you.
To any of you that have done all of the Six Gaps of Vermont in one day (yeah, some folks do), just WOW!
... and if you did them without walking …

I only heard of the Six Gaps of Vermont a bit over a year ago, and when we were on a Northern New England camping trip in the Fall last year, I thought it would be interesting to drive the ~131 mile, ~11-13,000 feet of climbing route in the Chevy camper van. It took the better part of four hours, and the 9600 pound van struggled, especially on Lincoln Gap where it never got out of first gear (only 4.3 miles up, but is advertised as having the steepest continuous paved mile in North America, at 18+%). My wife said: “Why don’t we bring your bike and spend September here next year, and you can try the gaps”. So that’s what we did.

A bit about me: at a scrawny 5’11”/150 pounds, I have never been athletic, but:

1) rode a hilly 160 mile, 7030 foot course in 11:57 (including a mid-ride shower - 10:18 moving)
2) rode up Independence Pass in Colorado (12,095 foot elevation), from opposite sides, on two consecutive days
3) rode a pretty flat 250 miles (not solo, but I didn’t draft – actually set out to just do a double century, but decided to keep going) in 18:32 (15:22 moving)
4) rode a pretty flat solo century in 5:28 (5:19 moving) - was trying/hoping for a 5 hour/20mph century

Trouble is, I did all those 19 years ago, at my cycling peak. Now I’m 37, and dyslexic. I have a serious lack of “legs and lungs”, and am not particularly fast or strong.

I decided to just do the six gaps themselves, one at a time, without the transit sections between them. In fact I only did the downhills on some of them. So I had a whole lot less than the full 131 miles, in fact only about 44 miles are the real gap climbs. I did each gap in the direction that the “official route” takes, but I did them in the order of easiest-to-hardest, rather than the conventional Brandon-Middlebury-Lincoln-Appalachian-Roxbury-Rochester order. The stats below are from my “Ride with GPS” app; max gradient data not presented because this app has been reporting ridiculously high values over the last year or so. Miles, feet of climbing, and moving time/total time shown just up to the gap, not any downhill afterwards if taken.

Tuesday (9/10/19): Brandon Gap from Rochester to Brandon [9.3 miles, 1504 feet, 57.33/81.20 minutes]

Friday (9/13/19): Middlebury Gap from Middlebury to Hancock [10.3 miles, 2025 feet, 76.35/132.85 minutes]

Sunday (9/15/19): Roxbury Gap from Warren to Roxbury, albeit I walked up about 0.15 miles of it; damn! First time I’ve walked a bike up a hill since I was a kid. [4.8 miles, 1566 feet, 47.45/87.87 minutes]

Tuesday (9/17/19): Rochester Gap from Bethel to Rochester [5.8 miles, 1645 feet, 51.58/78.82 minutes]

Thursday (9/19/19): Appalachian Gap from Bristol to Waitsfield [9.8 miles, 2184 feet, 73.18/108.97 minutes]

Wednesday (9/25/19): Lincoln Gap from Warren to Bristol; walked about 0.8 miles near the top but finished the last few hundred feet riding; I brought an angle measuring gauge with me, and I (just) managed up one section that measured about 10* (just under 18%), but was unable to do several sections that measured around 11.5* (close to 21%) – accuracy of measurement probably +/- 1* [4.3 miles, 1588 feet, 43.72/72.40 minutes]

Must also admit to a bit of a cheat: my wife ran a sag car behind me, so I didn't have to carry spare parts and tools, refreshments, etc. She also gave me a much needed push start a few times on both Rochester and Lincoln Gaps, on some of my many, many huff-and-puff stops, where it was just too steep to get going again.

Some of you fitter athletes (@JPPE comes to mind) may want to try this challenging course.

Last edited by dicktill; 09-25-19 at 09:58 PM.
dicktill is online now  
Old 09-26-19, 04:58 AM
  #2  
Greenhil
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Central Vermont
Posts: 196

Bikes: 2018 Kona Rove NRB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 12 Posts
Good going!

I live within a 45’ drive of all those gaps. Like you, I’ve done them individually (4 of them - I’ve yet to do the App. Gap. and will probably give that one a go next month ‘cause im not getting any younger).

While Lincoln Gap is the steepest (the app on my phone kept vibrating to tell me I was stopped - “no, I’m not - I’m just going verrrry slow!”) I found the hardest to be Roxbury Gap from the Roxbury side, I think because it’s a gravel surface and can have washboard and loose stone.

Sometime you should try Mt. Ascutney, which I think rivals the most difficult of the gap climbs. It’s several miles of 12% grade.

For me the least enjoyable part of those climbs is the downhill - and riding the brakes all the way.
Greenhil is offline  
Old 09-26-19, 09:03 AM
  #3  
bruce19
Senior Member
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 6,704

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1010 Post(s)
Liked 236 Times in 149 Posts
I've done most of them but on my Ducati. Hope to get up there with a bicycle one of these days. My son went to UVM.
bruce19 is offline  
Old 09-26-19, 03:56 PM
  #4  
dicktill
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 197
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Greenhil View Post
Good going!

I live within a 45’ drive of all those gaps. Like you, I’ve done them individually (4 of them - I’ve yet to do the App. Gap. and will probably give that one a go next month ‘cause im not getting any younger).

While Lincoln Gap is the steepest (the app on my phone kept vibrating to tell me I was stopped - “no, I’m not - I’m just going verrrry slow!”) I found the hardest to be Roxbury Gap from the Roxbury side, I think because it’s a gravel surface and can have washboard and loose stone.

Sometime you should try Mt. Ascutney, which I think rivals the most difficult of the gap climbs. It’s several miles of 12% grade.

For me the least enjoyable part of those climbs is the downhill - and riding the brakes all the way.
You certainly live in a beautiful area! I used to live in Proctorsville, and miss Vermont ...

Odd coincidence that you mentioned Ascutney: we were there last weekend (between the Appalachian and Lincoln climbs), because that was the hillclimb (automobile racing) weekend. I used to race there in an earlier life, and wanted to meet up with some old friends. I was going to tackle Ascutney back in August 2000 when I was here for a weeklong tour, but it was so hot and humid at the end of tour that I just drove home. Of course we just drove up Ascutney this past Monday, and yes I might tackle it before we go home. However, it is bumpier than ever, so not such a fun ride, and I certainly won't try descending it if I do climb it.

As for the downhills on the Six Gaps, here's my take on them:

1) Brandon Gap: smooth road on both East & West sides, nice for climbing and descending; doing the gap in the reverse direction would be fine.

2) Middlebury Gap: smooth road on both West & East sides, nice for climbing and descending; doing the gap in the reverse direction would be fine.

3) Roxbury Gap: fairly decent road on West side for the climb, but the East side is unpaved, so I descended back the way I came (could get away with that because I wasn't doing the whole loop, and I had a SAG car)

4) Rochester Gap: fairly decent road on the East side for the climb (some recent repaving); after that, the road down is paved , but is badly broken up, naturally just around (after) some curves. Then the section down into Rochester washed out in April(?), and is still closed for construction, although I talked to a couple of cyclists that snuck through on a Sunday. There is a "parallel" detour road, but it is mostly unpaved, bumpy, and slippery after some rain. For these reasons (and because I could), I rode the SAG car down.

5) Appalachian Gap: fairly decent road on the West side for the climb. The East side descent is paved but very bumpy, and I was sorry that I chose to ride down it.

6) Lincoln Gap: fairly decent road on the East side for the climb, mostly recently repaved; there is a short unpaved section, but it is not bad; I did not attempt riding down the West side, as it is unpaved for a very long way, and it was slippery after some rain, and, btw, I understand a cyclist died on the descent last year

Last edited by dicktill; 09-26-19 at 07:16 PM.
dicktill is online now  
Old 09-27-19, 01:48 PM
  #5  
jppe
Let's do a Century
 
jppe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 7,565

Bikes: Cervelo R3 Disc, Pinarello Prince/Campy SR; Cervelo R3/Sram Red; Trek 5900/Duraace, Cervelo P2C/Duraace, Cannondle Tandem/Ultegra, Lynskey GR260 Ultegra

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 400 Post(s)
Liked 150 Times in 83 Posts
How does it compare to Six Gaps in Georgia?

If you rode all of them in in one day how many miles and how much climbing would it be? I think GA is approximately 105 miles and close to 11,000’ of climbing. The steepest climb is Hogpen which is 10% for a few miles.
__________________
Ride your Ride!!
jppe is offline  
Old 09-27-19, 07:38 PM
  #6  
dicktill
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 197
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by jppe View Post
How does it compare to Six Gaps in Georgia?

If you rode all of them in in one day how many miles and how much climbing would it be? I think GA is approximately 105 miles and close to 11,000’ of climbing. The steepest climb is Hogpen which is 10% for a few miles.
I know very little about the Six Gaps of Georgia, but if the steepest climb in the Georgia one is 10%, then the Vermont one is way tougher, with Lincoln Gap supposedly sustaining over 18% for over a mile (and supposedly, the steepest paved mile in North America). I (somewhat crudely) measured about a 11.5* angle (= to almost 21% grade) on the road at several locations. And I struggled walking the bike up through these sections. Here's some links for the Vermont one, but a Google search will bring up lots of others:
https://northeastcycling.com/six-gaps/
https://www.mapmyride.com/us/northfi...oute-130752773
The ride total is about 131 miles, and IIRC I've seen up to 13,000 feet of climbing posted, but the number varies greatly. I have a copy of someone else's Ride with GPS plot, which says 131 miles, 11,924 feet, 18.5% up, and 16.5% down. Our drive from last year in the camper, unfortunately with a few detours for covered bridges and such : ) was 144.9 miles, 13,204 feet, and 18.8% up. As I said, the Ride with GPS grade data from this year's rides (and for about the last year or so) is garbage, i.e., way too high: Rochester at 21.9%, Lincoln at 24.3%, Middlebury at 26.0%, and Roxbury at 26.9%.

Last edited by dicktill; 12-09-19 at 03:11 PM.
dicktill is online now  
Old 09-28-19, 04:35 AM
  #7  
Greenhil
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Central Vermont
Posts: 196

Bikes: 2018 Kona Rove NRB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 12 Posts
The climbing figures I’ve seen for VT’s 6 gap ride vary from about 11,500 to 12,500. Who knows how reliable they are. As for grades, that steep stretch on Lincoln Gap seems to be consistently listed as 24%.

Here’s some more info:

The Gaps | VT Gran Fondo
Greenhil is offline  
Old 09-28-19, 08:16 AM
  #8  
jppe
Let's do a Century
 
jppe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 7,565

Bikes: Cervelo R3 Disc, Pinarello Prince/Campy SR; Cervelo R3/Sram Red; Trek 5900/Duraace, Cervelo P2C/Duraace, Cannondle Tandem/Ultegra, Lynskey GR260 Ultegra

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 400 Post(s)
Liked 150 Times in 83 Posts
Regardless of the accuracy of the numbers it would definitely be a really big day. From my experience of riding upstate NY and a little in Vermont this past July the climbs can get pretty steep. I think I’ve outgrown Doing all those in one day, or maybe just gotten a lot wiser!
__________________
Ride your Ride!!
jppe is offline  
Old 10-01-19, 04:10 PM
  #9  
berner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bristol, R. I.
Posts: 3,716

Bikes: Specialized Secteur, old Peugeot

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 408 Post(s)
Liked 130 Times in 92 Posts
Were I to do such as ride it would be, not merely six gaps but six gasps. In fact, the ride would be my last gasp.
berner is offline  
Old 10-03-19, 01:10 PM
  #10  
dicktill
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 197
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by jppe View Post
Regardless of the accuracy of the numbers it would definitely be a really big day. From my experience of riding upstate NY and a little in Vermont this past July the climbs can get pretty steep. I think I’ve outgrown Doing all those in one day, or maybe just gotten a lot wiser!
@jppe: Sorry for the late reply, been traveling ...

I totally understand your not wanting to do the entire Six Gaps ride in one day! But having followed many of your epic rides, I know you can do better than my "one gap at a time" rides. Here are some different scenarios (all are done clockwise):

1) Complete Six Gaps ride:





2) Three two-gaps rides (good because they are loops -- Brandon-Middlebury, Roxbury-Rochester, and Appalachian-Lincoln -- plus you get to do the long transitions between Rochester & Roxbury, and "Granville Gulf" has a bunch of climbing in it too, but nothing drastic like the gaps):











3) Two three-gap rides (Rochester-Brandon-Middlebury and Lincoln-Appalachian-Roxbury -- not quite as nice unless Mrs. jppe is sagging you so you don't have to ride back to the start):







Good luck, Dick

Last edited by dicktill; 10-03-19 at 01:21 PM.
dicktill is online now  
Likes For dicktill:
Old 10-03-19, 01:19 PM
  #11  
dicktill
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 197
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by berner View Post
Were I to do such as ride it would be, not merely six gaps but six gasps.
Cute word comparison!


Originally Posted by berner View Post
In fact, the ride would be my last gasp.
Let's hope not!
dicktill is online now  
Old 10-03-19, 02:54 PM
  #12  
dicktill
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 197
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Oh, one more graph, and then I'll shut up : )

This is a graph of the six gaps elevation vs. distance; left to right, the heavy lines are: Lincoln, Roxbury, Rochester, Brandon, Middlebury (green), and Appalachian (purple). The lighter lines on the left are the four worst hills near my home. BTW, the first section of Appalachian (before it falls at 5-1/2 miles) is known as "Baby App".

When I showed this graph to my wife, she said: "But they're not much higher." I said: "Yeah, but look at how much lower they start at, how much steeper they rise, and how much longer they are".



Last edited by dicktill; 10-03-19 at 02:58 PM.
dicktill is online now  
Old 10-04-19, 05:31 AM
  #13  
Greenhil
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Central Vermont
Posts: 196

Bikes: 2018 Kona Rove NRB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 12 Posts
If you’re not averse to gravel riding, there are a number of shortcuts that can be taken that provide beautiful scenery and reduce both the overall mileage and the elevation gain.
Greenhil is offline  
Old 10-04-19, 06:58 AM
  #14  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 6,146

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-11, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i5, 2019 Surly ½DT14

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 663 Post(s)
Liked 149 Times in 100 Posts
Make it a hobby: Pass Hunting

https://www.centcols.org/

(French site, you might have to hit 'translate'.)
tcs is offline  
Old 10-04-19, 07:04 AM
  #15  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 6,146

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-11, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i5, 2019 Surly ½DT14

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 663 Post(s)
Liked 149 Times in 100 Posts
Lincoln Gap is the only one that gets a listing in John Summerson's 'Complete Guide to Climbing by Bike'. It is described as 'short but steep' and 'a must-do ride for the serious climber'. He rates the climb at 1.58: category 2 early in a stage or by itself, category 1 late in a long stage.
tcs is offline  
Old 10-04-19, 07:30 AM
  #16  
leob1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Middle of the road, NJ
Posts: 2,997
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 227 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 15 Posts
The only gap I've ever been concerned about in Vermont, is the gap on the Island Line Trail on my way to South Hero for a maple creame.
leob1 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.