Tour de Heifer set for June 5


BRATTLEBORO >> Registration is now open for the sixth annual Tour de Heifer, Vermont's most challenging dirt road cycling event, with 15, 30 and 60-mile routes.

The Tour is organized as a fundraiser for Strolling of the Heifers, and takes place on Sunday of Strolling of the Heifers Weekend, June 5.

The 60-mile and 30-mile challenge routes follow dirt roads with minimal pavement. Both entail significant elevation change — nearly 7,000 feet for the 60-miler, and over 3,000 feet for the 30-miler.

All of the routes begin and end at Lilac Ridge Farm in West Brattleboro, and feature incredible views, farm and woodland terrain and New England villages, including one with a covered bridge.

The Tour also offers a less challenging, but still hilly 15-mile country ride with paved hills and a scenic riverside dirt road section. This is an out-and-back ride to the Green River Bridge, and is suitable for cyclists of moderate ability.

The 60-mile ride has two short woods road sections. Both the 30 and 60-mile challenges are loop rides with shortcuts available for bailing out, or creating a hybrid ride of intermediate length.

For families and people who love to walk, the Tour also offers a three-mile guided hike to the top of nearby Round Mountain.

The tour is part of the annual Strolling of the Heifers Weekend, which takes place June 3-5 in Brattleboro. The centerpieces of the weekend are the world-famous Strolling of the Heifers Parade and the Slow Living Expo, both on Saturday, June 4. The Tour is made possible through sponsorship from Stroll Weekend Key Sponsor Merchants Bank; many other sponsors and donors of food and services, and the support of area cycling shops including Burrows Specialized Sports, West Hill Shop, Brattleboro Bike Shop, and Bicycles Unlimited.

Proceeds from the Tour de Heifer will support the Stroll's new Windham Grows program, a virtual as well as physical business hatchery focused on the food and agriculture sector in Southeastern Vermont. In collaboration with state and regional partners, Windham Grows will build the food and agriculture business sector in Windham County by connecting startup and early-stage businesses with critical services, resources and financing.

All of the Tour de Heifer routes include substantial stretches of dirt roads. Use of mountain bikes, cross-bikes, or road bikes fitted with 28mm knobby tires are recommended. No highway travel is involved in any of the routes.

All of the rides include a great, farm-fresh lunch served at Lilac Ridge Farm. For the 60-milers, there are snacks midway at the Green River bridge.

New this year, the Tour chef, Tristan Toleno of Entera Catering and Rigani Pizza, is bringing his ferociously hot wood-fired oven, and will be cooking up pizzas from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pizza toppings include Vermont Smoke & Cure meats, Rigani homemade sausage with local pork, and Lilac Ridge Farm spring veggies. Also on the menu: Against the Grain Gourmet gluten-free pizza, Lilac Ridge greens salads with Drew's All-Natural Vermont-made dressings and much more.

Upon returning to Lilac Ridge, riders will also be entertained by the duo Alan Greenleaf and the Doctor, with their perennial favorite, "The Heifers are Coming to Town!"

The routes are:

Heifer Classic 60+ mile Ride: A very challenging ride for experienced riders, which starts at 8 a.m. (Slower riders are encouraged to start as early as 7 a.m.) This route has nearly 7,000 feet of elevation gain, and minimal pavement.

The 30-mile Green River Challenge: A challenging ride for experienced riders, starting at 9 a.m. It has about 3,300 feet of elevation gain, and minimal pavement.

The 15-mile Family Ride: This is an out-and-back ride, starting at 10 a.m., designed for families with moderately experienced cyclists. It includes about 1,250 feet of elevation gain over a mix of rolling paved roads and nearly level dirt roads along the Green River.

For walkers: 3-mile Road and Trail Stroll: The guided hike starts at 10:30 a.m., from Lilac Ridge Farm to the top of nearby Round Mountain, and then back via Ames Hill Road and Abbot Road. The climb to the summit is about 750 vertical feet and is rewarded by scenic vistas to the east, across the town of Brattleboro to Mt. Wantastiquet and Mt. Monadnock.

Registration and information: Riders and hikers may register for the Tour at Early bird rates are in effect through May 15, and range from $25 to $45 for adults. Children 16 and under riding on any route, $15. Higher rates will be in effect after May 15 and on the day of the event.

If you have any questions, contact the Tour Coordinator, Hanna Thurber, by email at or by phone at 802-380-0502.


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