Grafton is a very mountainous area. A few main paved roads link up the villages around here, but most back roads are dirt and go up. Cathy is not exactly the hillclimb fiend I am. In fact, it might be better to call her the Anti-Hill Junkie instead of Mrs. Hill Junkie. She's heard enough BS from me over the years about how easy the climb is going to be, or it's just like some other really easy climb. We'll, I finally found a climb we both can enjoy, but not necessarily together.
Mt Tabor Rd, also known as Forest Service Road #10 in the Green Mountains, connects Londonderry with Danby. It rises some 1500ft from the Danby side and a little less from Londonderry. We parked in Londonderry today. The plan was I would ride with Cathy until we got to FS10, then take off, go over the top and all the way down the other side, then back up and over again and try to beat Cathy back to the car. Cathy would turn around at the top and not descend any of the other side.
A few miles of pavement got us started. Then it was dirt the rest of the way. I like these narrow lane-and-a-half seasonal roads. The gravel was in decent shape. I was riding my Ridley 'cross bike with 35mm knobbies, Cathy was on her commuter bike with wide city slicks. It is 5.5 miles up east side of FS10. I big-ringed most of it. Great tempo workout. Didn't see a single car on the way up. The other side down to Danby rolls a bit before it really takes off downward. The lower couple miles are paved and near 10% grade. I hadn't climbed that side before and failed to realize how long it would take me to get back to top. I had no chance of scooping Cathy up on the return.
Looking down the Big Branch Valley on Danby side
Came close though. Cathy had reached the car just a few minutes before I did. The double hump took me nearly 2.5hrs to cover the 37 miles and 4000+ feet of climbing. Cathy thought that was a reasonable climb. No traffic and quite gradual. Earlier I had contemplated taking Cathy all the way over the other side. She would have hated me the rest of the weekend. The lower couple miles are a spanker, as shown below.
After dinner, we took a walking stroll through town and over to the Grafton Ponds trails. Looks like primo XC ski network, and some fairly technical MTB trails cris-crossing the network too. Have to check those out some other time when properly equipped. Next up will be a 70+ mile ride south of here, hitting the dirt Kelly Stand pass and FS71, another long, dirt, seasonal road I've yet to ride. Call it D2R2/Pikes Peak/Ironcross practice.