What is the Vermont Super 8 Grand Depart?
It's a self-supported bikepacking adventure that takes place at the end of September. Most riders start and finish in Montpelier. The course is self-navigated using GPS devices, and the ride is entirely self-supported. Riders are provided with a route and a list of resources, but they otherwise must carry their own gear and make their own camping arrangements. The course features many extremely rugged roads and trails, and it covers very hilly terrain.
VT Super 8 FKT's (Fastest Known Times) as of November 2022 (dd:hh:mm):
Full 8 individual self-supported overall: Logan Kasper / 2:23:16 / 2021 ITT
Full 8 individual self-supported female: Tatianna Wawrzynski / 7:00:10 / 2022 GD
South Lobe individual self-supported overall: Logan Kasper / 1:17:25 / 2021 ITT
South Lobe individual self-supported female: Paige Redman / 2:16:42 / 2022 ITT
North Lobe individual self-supported overall: Logan Kasper / 0:22:18 / 2021 ITT
North Lobe individual self-supported female: Devan Pensinger / 1:17:42 / 2022 GD
What exactly is the Self-Supported riding standard?
Read about it here.
Finish time details
Riders had three mileage options for the figure 8 loop that starts and ends in Montpelier. Those riding the Full 8 also recieve finish times for the individual loops that comprise the Full 8, the North Lobe and the South Lobe. Time spent in Montpelier does not count towards an individual lobe time, but does count towards the Full 8 time. "SCR" stands for "scratched," which means the rider did not finish. The times of riders who bypass significant sections of the course but otherwise continue riding get marked with an asterisk (*). Riders who begin with the intent to complete the full 8 but only complete one lobe receive a finish time for that lobe but a "SCR" for the Full 8.
Unless otherwise noted, riders use geared bikes, ride as individuals (rather than teams), and Full 8 riders start with the South Lobe. The course is subject to change each year for myriad reasons; it is the intent of the route stewards to keep the overall difficulty of the Super 8 course roughly equivalent from year to year, as mileage, elevation, terrain, and other factors change.
The 2023 Grand Depart of the Vermont Super 8 will be held starting on a Friday in late September. Finalized .gpx file is not yet released. Further details TBD.
To register for the 2023 Grand Depart, send a Letter of Intent to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no entry fee. Please include the following in your letter:
Your intended mileage option (375 mi. south lobe, 280 mi. north lobe, or 655 mi. full 8).
Your mailing address.
Your understanding that this ride is fully self-supported, that you acknowledge resupply and any support services (food, medical, etc.) are your sole responsibility. Please also include your agreement to abide by our self-supported standard. If you're interested in a different standard such as "self-sufficient," please reach out about this.
Your plan for getting to/from Montpelier. Some notes:
Traditionally we accept GD riders starting at any point along the route, including Brattleboro or Derby Line, because of the potential added convenience and decreased carbon footprint. If this interests you then please mention it in your LOI.
We encourage any riders traveling from out of state to carpool or take a train (Amtrak's Vermonter line goes to Montpelier). If you will be flying from out of state to participate, please include a plan to purchase carbon offsets or otherwise offset the carbon footprint of your flight. Please reach out with further questions on this.
Your previous bikepacking experience (if any!). Previous experience is not required. The Super 8 is a very challenging route, but novice riders have successfully taken it on in the past. If you are new to bikepacking, feel free to include questions in your LOI, and we'll do our best to direct you to helpful resources.
The 2022 Grand Depart of the Vermont Super 8 saw 37 riders line up on September 23, 2022. Many riders chose to register for satellite tracking with Trackleaders -- you can few and replay the satellite tracking map here.
Finish times for the 2022 Grand Depart
This year, the south lobe saw some detours due to logging and bridge construction, and the north lobe saw major reroutes due to trail construction and input from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. As a result, the North Lobe is 15 miles longer, but features fewer sections of hike-a-bike.
2021 Ride Reports:
Full 8, Grand Depart:
South Lobe, Grand Depart:
North Lobe, Grand Depart:
Full 8 ITT
South Lobe ITT
Photo courtesy of Corey Hendrickson
The 2020 Grand Depart saw a COVID-cautious turnout. Some riders attempted a new "self-sufficient" standard, meaning they bought no resupply and entered no buildings during their rides. Results are posted below in dd:hh:mm format.
In 2019 we hosted a Grand Depart of the Super 8. Riders had 3 mileage options. The event was registered on Trackleaders.com and can be replayed here. Results are posted below in dd:hh:mm format.
In 2018, the Super 8 was undergoing major developments. Payton MacDonald took on an ITT of the perimeter route as part of his "Sonic 8" project.
In 2017, we hosted a "choose your own adventure" Grand Depart. The Super 8 was more of a network than a definitive loop. All 4 riders camped together for the first two nights, then continued on their separate ways.
Brian Oley rode a plus-tire drop bar mtb and explored a lot of singletrack in Central VT. He stayed out for ~10 days.
Daniel Jordan rode most of the Super 8 perimeter on a drop bar mtb. 8 days.
Eric Azriel rode a fat tire mtb and stayed out for 3-4 days.
Kris Dennan rode a gravel bike and joined for 3 days.
In 2015, Calvin Decker rode the XVT in 38 hours. You can read about his ride here: