False Summits

Distance: 41 miles

Elevation gain: 4,969 ft (GPS devices vary)

Road Surface: 83% gravel; 14% asphalt; 3% Class IV

This route starts and ends at the small parking lot for the Barre Town Forest on LittleJohn Road. From there, head up Donahue for a quick asphalt warm-up, then down toward Williamstown and onto Gilbert Road, where the gravel fun begins.

Cross over Chelsea Road (the first of two by that name you’ll encounter today) and follow South Hill Road to Lighthouse Hill Road, which transitions to a very fun Class IV section that is just right for an adventurous gravel bike.

On the far side of this first Class IV section you’ll encounter a series of downward trending gravel roads, including the second Chelsea Road, culminating with an epic descent on Hook Road onto East Randolph Road.

Brook Road will take you up to Beacon Hill Road, the toughest climb of the day. It’s a mile of 10%+ gradient with more false summits than you can probably count. You’re rewarded with a descent that is equally as steep, cascading down into the village of Chelsea.

Next comes Bobbinshop Road, another solid climb, and a series of connectors that will bring you back onto South Hill Road. Keep an eye out for the turn-off onto the next Class IV section here; it’s easy to miss in the middle of a farm. When we were there, ATV trail signs pointed the way.

This Class IV section, straight through a treeline, exits onto Carpenter Road and takes you back over Chelsea Road (the first one) onto Baptist Street. Watch for amazing views on your left here as you pass some farms.

From here it’s a right onto Therriault Hill, a climb not to be underestimated, then down Sugar House Road to Carrier Road, which will feature your last major effort of the day. Wind your way down Lambert and Lowery Roads and you will find LittleJohn Road waiting for you at the finish.