The time trial course begins at Stark Mountain Bike Works at the corner of Routes 17 and 100 and rises 1600 vertical feet over 6.2 miles to finish at the intersection of the Long Trail at the summit of the Appalachian Gap.
The road, originally named the McCullough Turnpike when built in the 1950s, is currently the highest paved road in Vermont kept open year-round, topping out at 2,356 feet. The road wasn’t constructed using the high-tech survey methods available today; instead, the bed was laid out following the natural contours of the terrain. With an average pitch of roughly 10 percent over the last 2½ miles, the climb is steeper (if shorter) than most climbs in the Tour de France. But steepness alone isn’t everything. The numerous changes in pitch and direction are really what make the App Gap climb a challenging and exhilarating ride, both physically and mentally.
Who Can Participate?
Cyclists and Unicyclists of all ages and abilities with any type of bicycle are invited to tackle the challenge of racing to the top of the Appalachian Gap. In keeping with the spirit of its namesake, the late Allen Clark, the Hill Climb is a celebration of cycling as a sport for people of all ages and physical abilities, with any type of bicycle. Clark was a Mad River Valley cycling enthusiast and a regular bike-shop customer who didn’t take up the sport until he was in his sixties. He went on to log between 2,000 and 3,500 miles a year, well into his 70s, riding in all weather and in every month of the year. His favorite bike was a Bianchi hybrid, fully rigged with racks and a huge storage trunk. The bike weighed more than 40 pounds — more than twice the weight of a typical racing bike.
The Ap Gap climb was one of Clark’s favorite rides, as it is for almost every cyclist in the Mad River Valley. The climb can be difficult and even downright painful, but getting to the top is always extraordinarily rewarding. Regardless of what level rider you might be, riding the Gap is the ultimate fitness reality check. That’s why local riders come back to the Gap again and again, in a kind of love/hate relationship.
Prizes will be awarded for both men and women, 15 years and over. Junior riders, under age 15, will finish at Mad River Glen.
- Under 15