Explore the Course
Each year the course’s four gaps are drawn from a selection of seven gaps; Appalachian Gap, Lincoln Gap, Roxbury Gap, Moretown Gap, Rochester Gap, Middlebury Gap, and Brandon Gap. The popular 6-gap ride includes all but Moretown Gap. Depending on road construction projects, which have been many, the course will vary from year to year creating a unique ride each time.
The 2021 Gran course will again push the limits with 9 – 10 K+ feet of climbing ~100+ miles and 2 challenging mountain gaps. The course will include an ascent of Middlebury Gap and Lincoln Gap. The course begins in the village of Bristol, Vermont, and heads east towards Lincoln. Climbing, albeit light, to begin with, starts just 1.5 miles in. You’ll climb up towards the center of Lincoln and then on towards Ripton and the first mountain climb, Middlebury Gap. From Middlebury Gap, you’ll descend into Hancock and then climb out of the valley heading north towards Warren and the turn to Lincoln Gap; this is where the real challenge begins.
With a 24% maximum grade and an average grade of 15%, the east side of Lincoln Gap is reported to be the steepest paved mile in the U.S., according to Bicycling Magazine (June 2008) and now one of the world’s steepest climbs by Global Cycling Network (GCN).
Although Lincoln Gap has often been singled out for its unique status, other gaps in the selection are well worthy of notice. For example, Appalachian Gap, Roxbury Gap, Rochester Gap, and Middlebury Gap all include sections with impressive grades, some a steeper grade than Lincoln Gap’s 24% while the remaining all topping 15%; Appalachian(26%), Roxbury(16%), Rochester(17%), Brandon(18%), Moretown(17.6%), and Middlebury(27.8%).
Lincoln Gap Named in top 9 Steepest Climbs in the World
Depending on the course you choose and on your level of fitness and aggression, you should expect to be in the saddle for 5 to 12 hours. Refueling stops will be available at intervals of about 25 miles. In addition, mechanical/sag support is provided by local mechanics at Frog Hollow Bikes.
Sounds challenging? You betcha! How about the Medio? The Medio distance of 65 miles traverses the Middlebury Gap from both sides in an over-and-back loop with a challenging 5.4K’ of climbing. If that sounds like too much for your palate, try the Piccolo: 40 miles and 2.7K’ of climbing with no gaps to climb but, don’t expect a walk in the park on this one.
2021 Course Highlights!*
- Sustained grades of 20% to 24% on Lincoln Gap–the steepest paved mile in the U.S.
- Gran Fondo, Medio, and Piccolo Fondo routes include stretches of iconic Vermont dirt roads. They are hard-packed and easily traversed: Approximately 10-20% of each course.
- Start/finish in Bristol, Vermont a the Bristol Rec Club.
- Rest stops spaced at approximately every 25-mile marker – all stocked with water, Hammer Nutrition, food, first aid supplies.
- Country stores and bathrooms along the way in Bristol, East Middlebury, Middlebury, Warren, Ripton, Lincoln, Salisbury, and Hancock.
- Mechanical and “sag” support vans.
Gran Fondo Course*
- Distance – ~100 miles
- Max Elevation – 2,556 ft
- Max Grade – 24%
- 9K – 10K ft (3566 m) of climbing
- Gravel surface – ~27 mi
Climbs – 2 Gaps
- Middlebury (west to east) 2,123 ft
- Lincoln (east to west) 2,415 ft
Medio Fondo Course*
- Distance – ~65 miles
- Max Elevation – ~2,555 ft
- ~5.4K ft of climbing
- Gravel Surface – ~13 mi
Climbs – 2 Gaps
- Middlebury Gap (west to east)
- Middlebury Gap (east to west)
Piccolo Fondo Course*
- Distance – ~40 miles (~60 km)
- Start Elevation – ~449 ft
- Max Elevation – ~1,863 ft
- Max Grade – 12.6%
- ~2,700 ft (867.5 m) of climbing
- Gravel surface – ~9 mi
*all route details are subject to change at any time.
**Dependant on the final course route