Cyclists in the Southern Green Mountains of Vermont are very lucky. The ribbon of little-known forest roads that wind though the Green Mountain National Forest provide some of the most perfect road riding in the state—if you don’t mind a little dirt.
Three miles from our house in Peru, Vermont I can pick up the Danby/Mt. Tabor Road that climbs out of the quiet village of Landgrove to Danby. The dirt road out of the village narrows and the last farms give way to the open Forest Service gate.
In winter I’m here checking snow conditions for x-c skiing, today I’m happy to have a few hours to ride my favorite summer loop. Roundtrip it’s about 56 miles, much of it Colorado-style climbing, nearly half of it dirt.
The gravel road quickly begins to climb along the Utley Brook, past the beaver meadows and maintained wildlife clearings. Bright blue Catamount Trail Signs mark familiar trail crossings and a few miles in I’m approaching the White Rocks National Recreation Area with the Big Branch and Peru Peaks Wilderness on either side of me. A big Western sky and huge billowy clouds provide a breathtaking backdrop. The roadside wildflowers are blooming white and yellow, purple and orange. My bike is perfect, my tires are fast.
With Appalachian Trail and Long Trail trailheads along the way I wonder whom I might encounter, but it’s dead quiet this morning.
Just a few strikingly orange Newt salamanders slowly making their way across the dappled grey road and some mischievous Crows up to no good. The dirt is fast and the perfect canopy of trees provide a tunnel of shade so the climbing and descending is cool. I almost forget that I haven’t seen a car in over an hour. I try to make it last, but before I know it I’ve descended the swooping turns into Danby, cross Route 7 and begin the long gradual climb up to Dorset Mtn. road – another stretch of Vermont cycling heaven.