With start-finish at the Stratton Mountain Resort, the VT Monster Gravel Grinder offers three-course options spanning 100 miles, 78, and 48 miles. Details behind the new 100-mile course are forthcoming. However, the 78-mile course comes with 70% gravel and several Class IV sections, including the Devil’s Staircase. The total elevation gain is a mighty 8,500 Feet. Strambecco rates VP Monster as one of New England’s best Gravel Grinder events.
Don’t be fooled by the VT Monster Gravel Grinder 48-mile route; it still packs a punch. After a few rollers and a scenic downhill to Jamaica, the course makes a sharp right turn onto the day’s first big climb. There is one challenging class IV section on Mowery Road with a steep and loose descent and a stiff climb that may require a dismount to get over. Then a decent bringing you to the river and joining the long course on the West River Trail and the Devil’s Staircase. From there, both courses are together up to the finish.
There is very limited route marking and signage on the courses. Where there is signage, it will be more to call out dangerous or important course features than provide directions. If you do not have the course loaded on a bike computer that does navigation, you will not be able to find your way on the course. If you are using your mobile phone for navigation, you will need to download the course and maps to your phone. Cell service is poor to non-existent on much of the course, so live mapping will not work well, if at all.
As the route descriptions indicate, there are limited class IV sections, so 700c 38mm or wider tires are recommended. The course designer recently rode both courses with 40mm Maxxis Rambler’s at 38 psi and thought that was perfect for the day. Fast-rolling when needed but plenty of give and traction when the course demanded it. Obviously, tire choice is very individual, and you should ride with whatever you are most comfortable with. There will be four support vehicles on the courses to provide limited support with minor mechanical and tire issues. Plan ahead and get your bike serviced before you come up to ride. Because the courses are long and riders will be very spread out, support is not guaranteed. Please ensure you have everything you need to fix flats and minor repairs on your bike. It is recommended that you ride in groups of 2 or more and check in with riders who may be stopped along the side of the road.
Note there will be bailout routes for the long routes. The bailout option is the same as the long course until mile 53.5. At that point, it turns right on RT 30 and joins the B2VT course and riders on a mostly paved road back to Stratton. It cuts 12 miles off the 78-mile-long course but also cuts over 2000 feet of climbing. You must load this course on your bike computer just in case you need it. At mile 58.5, there is a B2VT Rest stop at the Jamaica Fire House to refuel.
The Stratton Mountain Resort location of the event offers plentiful overnight options and activities for the whole family, along with a great mountain vibe. Make it a great family getaway for the Father’s Day weekend!! Streamline Events, a premier producer of gravel, tri, and open-water swimming events throughout New England, produce VT Monster.