The Central Vermont Cycling Tour Gets Vertical to Support Vermont’s East-West Trail
Pavel Cherkasov, training for the Olympics and Tour de France, set out to design a training route in Central Vermont to get the most elevation bang for the buck. After moving here from the Dolomite region in Italy, he and his wife, Jennifer, developed a 60-mile route that climbs 6,100 feet, traversing the capital region’s quiet, but steep, dirt roads. They named it the Vermont Eco Tour, and it ran for several years in the early 2000s and benefited international at-risk youth.
This awesome ride lives on, thanks to the annual Central Vermont Cycling Tour. With this tour, you can trace Cherkasov’s grueling climb, while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the farms, fields, old houses, streams, and forests of the capital region. Today, the ride benefits the Cross Vermont Trail Association, a group that manages an east-to-west biking route across Vermont. The Cross Vermont Trail encompasses a patchwork of other trails, including former railroad beds, bike paths, and dirt roads (see box for more details).
The tour begins and ends at Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, offering plenty of parking, restrooms, and of course, the Morse’s world-famous maple cremees. All tours travel in a counterclockwise direction. For the long tour, you ride to Adamant, where you’ll find a feed station in front of the Adamant Co-op. Continue past the Old West Church, east to Woodbury, and at the junction of Dog Pond Road and County Road, you turn back toward the west. In Maple Corner, you have another food stop, then go to Worcester, where you’ll encounter a healthy climb up Minister Brook Road. After going through Middlesex, you’ll find your third and final feed stop on Culver Hill Road. And then … get ready. It is a steep and steady climb up Horn of the Moon Road and North Street before you link up with Cummings Road, to County Road, and then back to Morse Farm. The medium tour begins the same as the long tour, but essentially cuts off the easternmost portion of the long tour, eliminating the visit to Woodbury. The short tour goes to Adamant, and it’s there that you begin your westerly ride from Haggett Road to North Street, again linking with Cummings Road back to County Road.
There are several reasons why this is a great tour.
- There’s something for every rider. The 60-mile tour has a timed option for serious cyclists, but the 33-mile and 15-mile routes are not timed. Last year, there were several families on the 15-mile tour, and it was great to see budding cyclists ride alongside experienced riders. And the “budding” cyclists passed some of the adult riders.
- The food is great. The rest stops along the way had a delicious hodgepodge of electrolytes and carbs, including fresh fruits, trail mix, cheese, and chocolate.
- The scenery is beautiful. Riding by farms, next to horses, by meadows, alongside streams … you’ll experience some ILOVERMONT moments.
- The post-party is super fun. Raffle prizes, a cookout, beer … need we say more?
- The ride honors cycling enthusiast Dave Blumenthal, who was instrumental in developing the tour. Dave passed away in a tragic cycling accident in 2010.
So if you’re ready to feel the burn, eat great food, and help raise money for the Cross Vermont Trail, you can sign up at www.centralvtcyclingtour.org.
Where the Money Goes
The purpose of this event is to raise funds and awareness for the Cross Vermont Trail Association’s trail projects in the Capital Region of Central Vermont.
In the next five years, the CVTA will build two miles of shared-use path and a 200-foot bicycle pedestrian bridge across the Winooski River in East Montpelier. The trail will connect three Capital Region towns and establish a safe route to school for students of U-32 High School.
The Cross Vermont Trail Association has raised $1 million in federal funds for this project, but needs to raise $250,000 in local funds and labor to complete funding.
—from the Central Vermont Cycling Tour website
Choose Your Own Adventure
- The Long Tour 59.7 miles, 92 percent gravel/dirt, more than 6,100 feet of climbing, three feed stations. Competitive timed option.
- The Medium Tour 32.7 miles, 83 percent gravel/dirt, 3,000 feet of climbing, three feed stations.
- The Short Tour 14.6 miles, 88 percent gravel/dirt; more appropriate for families with children, 1,000 feet of climbing, one feed station.
What kind of bike? Organizers recommend a mountain bike, a cyclocross bike, or hybrid. Some people ride these roads on road bicycles, but with heavy touring wheels (32 spokes) and large tires (25 to 28 mm). Expect potholes and loose gravel on the hard-packed dirt roads.
Cost: $50/adult; $80/family (household); $25 junior (13–17); free/children 12 and under.