On Saturday, May 2, 2015 Liz and I rode a 50 mile loop from her parents’ house in Pomfret, VT. From the end of the driveway we slowly descended the dirt road that took us past a small farm populated by a friendly group of brown cows and a trio of donkeys.

Brown Cows

Before rolling North on Pomfret Road we had to drop down into Woodstock for a few provisions at the town’s main grocery store. The short segment between Teago General Store, which sits at the intersection of Stage Road and Pomfret Road, and when Pomfret Road intersects Barnard Road was absolutely beautiful. Not only did a wild gaggle of kids playing lacrosse provide ample entertainment, but the road was absolutely pristine. Unfortunately, the last very short segment down Barnard Road into Woodstock was littered with broken pavement.

After grabbing a few bars we rode back up Barnard and on to Pomfret Road. We made a quick stop at Suicide Six to check the conditions before riding up the first climb of the day.

Suicide Six

Towards the end the road banks slowly right and finishes with a pair of stark white buildings on either side. After a short segment the road opens to a short straight descent surrounded by beautiful farmland. The road veers right into a small collection of houses known as Hewitts Corners and then you need to keep an eye out to take the first left to continue onto Howe Hill Road past an old rusty sign for 89. The road flattened out as we passed a gaggle of horses before quickly kicking up again for another little climb. The pair of climbs on our way to the White River were by far the most difficult parts of the ride and noticeably higher grade than along Route 12.

After passing over the top of second hill we cruised down towards the White River and Route 89. The roads were in noticeably worse condition and the hill bottoms out at a stop sign immediately after a very short single lane tunnel. At the end of Howe Hill Road we turned left and traveled northwest along River Road until we reached the small town of South Royalton. After a shooting a few hoops and checking the map we rolled across the town common and under the train tracks to Worthy Burger.

Basketball hiatus

It was our second time at a Worthy establishment that weekend, but we kept it light since we were in the middle of the ride.

Truffle fries
Pickled veggies

After lunch we crossed the White River and road along Route 14 into North Royalton where we took a left onto Route 107, which crossed back over a fork of the river and under Interstate 89. A few miles later we entered Bethel, where we turned left onto Route 107 towards Route 12. That took us over a beautiful bridge, which was our last time traveling over the White River that day. After leaving Worthy Burger the roads got progressively larger and busier, but not horrible considering the short time we spent on them.

Route 107 took us to Route 12, which is part of the route of the 2015 Long Trail Century. Any alternate route used last year can be taken along North Road, but we decided to go with the official route. The long ascent of the largest climb of the Harpoon route is categorized as a 2, but certainly doesn’t feel like it. The long and gentle ascent is very manageable and only kicks up a little on the way into Barnard, where we stopped to check out the Silver Lake State Park and Barnard General Store.

Silver Lake State Park

After a nice break we cruised past some Lamas and finished the remainder of the climb, which was equally manageable as the part that led to Barnard. The descent into Woodstock was fantastic. The roads were in mixed condition, but I vividly remember one right hand bend that took us into an especially green and lush meadow overseen by a big red barn with a leaning silo. We road Route 12 until the intersection with Pomfret Road and got to enjoy the incredibly smooth roads past The Pomfret School once more.

Bartlett Brook Road

We really earned our dinner with the final ascent up the dirt and gravel road to Liz’s parents’ house. Not only was it a solid climb, but the parts of the road heavily covered by trees consisted of a thick mud that really liked to grab hold of our tires. The finish was hard, but made the whole adventure worthwhile.

Bartlett Brook finish