Plymouth-Tyson Loop – 44 miles on Elevation Challenge

posted in: Bike | 0

Rode the 44 mile loop yesterday. I’d like to think that the distance to my house from the Green in Woodstock gives me another mile, so let’s call it 45 miles.

When I set out I considered taking an alternate route leaving Woodstock that would avoid some of the narrow sections of Route 4 in the first three miles. That would involve College Hill from the center of town and 2.5 miles of dirt road to the Lincoln Covered Bridge in West Woodstock. It is a good alternate, but I decided to stick to the tarmac. Aside from the occasional motorist that was just a little too close, the ride on Route 4 was uneventful. If you do choose to ride Route 4 with two or more cyclists, make sure you are in single file and hug the side of the road. It’s common sense but some folks forget.

On Route 100a headed south, there are markers painted on the road for the Killington Stage Race in May that help you guage the length of the climb. Soon after turning onto Route 100a, you will come across the white paint that says KSR, KOM, 9k, meaning it is 9k from that point to the King of the Mountains intermediate sprint. Every kilometer is marked in descending order, so you know how far you have to go to the top of the gentle climb. It makes it go by really easily.

The same is not true for the climb from Route 100 in Tyson up the Tyson-Reading road. It is a pretty steep pitch around bends in the road – not switchbacks, but bends – that seems to go on forever. I tried to stay in a high gear on the lower pitches, but quickly resorted to my lower gears and just spun up the hill. After a brief peak and descent pass the state pond on the right, the road climbs again and is just as unforgiving as the first climb. But it is all worth it with the steep descent into the small village of South Reading and then the rolling descent into Felchville/Reading.

Riding on Route 106 north to Woodstock was a good reminder that the wind is a lot stronger in the afternoon – and that was when I was riding. Regrettably, it was a headwind that greeted me on the 13 miles north to Woodstock, making it feel like my brakes were stuck. The short climb up Reading Hill is always a challenge, but it is over pretty quickly and then the road is pretty much downhill all the way to Woodstock. Without a headwind you can cruise all the way. Yesterday afternoon was not a cruiser.

Overall the road conditions are very good. The only places to really watch your line are coming down Reading Hill, and then from South Woodstock into town. There are some pretty nasty cracks in the tarmac that you will want to avoid.

With yesterday’s ride, I have just the longest ride left to do this summer to get my Elevation Challenge sticker for the car. That one is 53 miles. Thinking of combining it with a hike up Ascutney so I can get the hiking sticker too. That would be an epic day.

Leave a Reply