Thursday Night Suffer Fest Bike Ride and Running Series

Date: Sep 13 2018

Whatever you do, don't come to this group gravel ride and run at Bolton on Thursday nights.  It's called the Suffer Fest because that's exactly what it is.  Grueling, relentless uphill, week after week.

The Bolton Valley Access Road has a special kind of notoriety in Vermont's road biking circles.  It climbs just shy of 2000 vertical feet in 4.5 miles with surprisingly few reprieves along the way.  And for the hearty corps of mountain bikers that have kept the handful of downhill mountain bike trails from getting overgrown during the past decade, they know how brutal the climb is to get to the top - above and beyond where the access road stops. 

For Summer 2018, Bolton Valley has combined both of these nightmarish climbs into one soul-crushing gravel ride that repeats week after week at 5:30 every Thursday night from July 12th through September 27th.  The only consolation is that following each ride, Bolton Valley will be hosting its weekly unique Vermont Beer Pairing Pop-Up Dinner series at the Village Cafe, featuring a totally different menu of local and regional food selections paired with a different featured local brew each week.

Riders can choose their weapon, whether it's a mountain bike, off-road bike, cyclo-cross set-up or a beach cruiser. Not into biking but really enjoy suffering? No worries, we'll have a separate group of runners headed out each night as well. But the course remains the same.  Suffer Fest Riders will park at the Sugar Shack parking lot about a third of the way up the access road.  From there, they'll climb about a half-mile of pavement before turning to climb up "Broadway" - the 2-mile long Nordic trail/double track that climbs about a thousand vertical feet up the other side of the valley and re-emerges behind the main Base Lodge at the mountain. Runners will meet in the main base area and will be shuttled down to the starting point.

The course continues up around the pavilion in front of the lodge, past the rider/runner emergency checkpoint, where participants will have the option to quaff a complimentary water before continuing up the alpine ski trails "work road" double track that climbs for another 900 vertical feet to the summit of the Vista Chairlift in about a mile and a half.

Only the strong will survive.  And nobody will blame you if you don't make it past the emergency checkpoint.  But one thing is sure.  If you want to get in shape for gravel grinder rides or running events this fall, there's no better way to kick your butt into shape than subjecting it to a weekly Thursday night suffer fest at Bolton Valley.  Bolton's own Adam DesLauriers will buy a pint of that evening's featured brew for anyone managing to make it the entire ride without dabbing a toe between the Sugar Shack and the Ski Patrol shack at the top of Vista. 

But please... for your own sake, don't try it.  It's a horrible, awful climb by anyone's standards.  See you there!


  • Participants park in the main base area at Bolton Valley and ride down the Access Rd. to meet at the Sugar Shack mid-way on the Access Rd. starting at 5pm. There will be a shuttle from the main base area to the Sugar Shack for runners at 5pm.
  • Participants are welcome to use the Sports Center to shower after the event and then attend the VT Beer Pairing Pop-Up Series at the Village Café. Towels are available for $1.