It was supposed to be a breakfast ride. 28 miles to Vergennes. Brekkie. 25 miles back. Joe arrives an hour late and suggests “how about a ride through Smugglers Notch?”
That’s different. But why not? Our route was about 85 miles, and included the climb out of Jeffersonville through the notch, and down into Stowe. It’s no Lincoln Gap, with a sustained 20% grade, but it ain’t shabby, as it climbs more than 1,700 ft in 8 miles. The steepest part comes as you approach the top (or descend from it!) It’s curvy, dark, and on a pleasant Saturday, hardly isolated as lines of cars and motorcycles hit the pass. The road narrows, the yellow center line disappears, and for a good quarter mile each side of the crest you’ve got about a lane and a half to accommodate bikes and cars in both directions as the road creeps its way around huge boulders. Steep inclines, blind corners, narrow lanes, and oncoming traffic help keep the adrenaline up.
It was a momentary relief to top out. Then I started down and worried that I wouldn’t be able to control the decent for the first few hundred yards (remember those cars coming from each direction, beeping at each curve). It was a nice ride down, although with traffic I had to brake/body brake frequently and didn’t get above 45 mph.
After a few tacos at Frida’s in Stowe, we slogged into the wind back to Burlington. A classic ride, and a good day for it. But next week, I want breakfast. And right now, I want a nap.