Friday, August 13, 2010

Mt Tabor Rd

Mrs. Hill Junkie and I are spending the weekend at Old Tavern Inn in Grafton, Vermont. A pretty swank place to stay, breakfast and dinner included, thanks to the owner's support of last years BUMPS challenge.

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.


Mookie said...

I'm anxious to see what FS71 is like. I meant to tell you that I hit Kelly Stand back at the beginning of May with no snow to speak of. It had been recently graded and it was like pavement all the way up. I went through Stratton and took Lower Taylor Hill Rd. down to 30 and continued the loop counterclockwise.

What are you going to end up running for gearing at D2R2? Looks like I'm going with 34x28 min. Are you and Pain Cave driving over together? I'll be camping out in the cornfield that night but if you wanted to hit a restaurant the night before let me know. Hopefully the weather is how it's been the last couple days in CT.

Hill Junkie said...

Alex, I'll post on FS71 shortly. Today was fabulous for a mini epic.

I'll probably stick with the 34x32 that is on my cross bike now for D2R2. I don't have any pipe dreams of trying to hang with you guys this year, so I'm going with comfort and safety. After today's ride, I question whether I can even finish D2R2 at any pace. I haven't pinged Dave yet on his plans. I'll let you know if we get there early enough for dinner.

Alex said...

Ha, that's the road where I skied 24hrs last spring. We stayed on the gradual side of things as the steeper bit down to Danby was melted out, but that would have been an awesome descent on skis!