Yesterday I rode the 35 mile route in the Elevation Challenge – Biking Edition that is a double loop through Barnard, Vermont. While I have ridden the route several times over the years, I was taken back by the phenomenal view from the ridge on North Road. Just before the big descent to Route 107 in Bethel, the view opens up to the Green Mountains to the North. It is a breathtaking panorama. A couple of years ago I was riding the same route with the weekly Start House group. When we crested the hill at the same spot on North Road, Peter Vollers, the de facto leader of the group, spread his arms and said “Hey guys! This is why we live here.” True, true.
The ride from the intersection of Routes 12 and 107 back to Barnard is affectionately known as “the Grind.” It is one of those sections of a ride where you think you should be in a higher gear, but you can’t. There is no killer hill on the route, it is just a continuous uphill for about 5 miles. I have found that when you reach Silver Lake and the Barnard General Store you discover another gear. Maybe that is because it is flat for 50 yards, or maybe it is because you know the worst climbing is over. Just another mile or two until the crest of the hill at The Ledges (where there are regular moose sightings) and then a rolling descent down into Woodstock.
The Grind truly is a grind, but if you pace yourself it is an easy climb – just long. And the view from North Road…wow. Definitely worth it.