The sun was shining and the heat didn’t let up on the over six hundred riders who participated in this year’s Vermont Overland Grand Prix. Organized by Peter Vollers, a former national champion cyclist and founder of Killington Mountain School’s Cycling Team, the ride covers 49 miles of dirt roads, seven sections of “Vermont pavé, and 5,600 feet of legitimate climbing. The ride starts and finishes at Pomfret’s Suicide Six ski area, and has garnered a cult following among cycling’s elite and those who love a real challenge.
This year’s finishers put KMS in the limelight, as the overall winner and second place finisher are both graduates of the school. Ansel Dickey and Brendan Rhim (Norwich) took first and second, respectively, and gave spectators a great show right up until the sprint finish.
“The Overland is probably the most fun and surprisingly hard races I do all year,” Dickey shared. “The gravel scene has exploded in the past three years, and races like The Overland, Rasputitsa, and Dirty Kansa are leading the way. To be able to take the win in my hometown (Woodstock) was really special. There is something just so cool about racing on the dirt roads of Vermont. The scenery, landscape, and road diversity makes it like no other bike racing event. And with bike companies like Cannondale innovating new gravel-specific bikes like the Slate, we can now ride faster than ever. I’m really grateful to be a part of this unique scene from the start and I can’t wait to see where it leads.”
Dickey and Rhim are friends and former teammates (Cal Giant Cycling) and have a long history of training and racing together. The two flew into the finish, navigating the challenging course in just under two and a half hours, a route that takes most roughly four hours to complete. The excited crowd gathered at the ski area cheered and rang cowbells as the two appeared up over the grassy trail and into the chute. All rivalry was left on the course, with Rhim and Dickey hugging, smiling, and congratulating one another on the podium, and staying on to watch as many of their cycling friends came through the finish behind them, some slightly muddy, and even a few somewhat bloody, but all were smiling!
Vollers’ Overland has cemented itself as one of the most fun, scenic, challenging, and epic gravel races around, and the field is sure to continue growing each year for this awesome event. KMS congratulates Ansel and Brendan for their outstanding fitness and riding; the school is very proud of you both!