WARREN, Vt. — Frankly, I was a little surprised it took as long as it did – about 30 miles into the Grateful Gravel ride, staged by Vermont’s Mad River Riders at the end of July – before we were forced to dismount and hike-a-bike over a section of steep dirt road. This stretch, in West Berlin, was washed away by erosion.
Given the record-setting rainfall only a couple weeks prior, the 63 miles of dirt and gravel roads that make up the challenging, “Fire on the Mountain” course (one that started and finished at Sugarbush Mount Ellen) were in surprisingly decent condition.
Not everywhere was as fortunate. The National Weather Service deemed damage caused by the “Great Vermont Flood of July 2023” as rivaling — and in some areas exceeding — Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.
At Montpelier, July’s rainfall set an all-time monthly record in excess of 12 inches, while 48-hour rainfall in nearby Calais alone totaled more than nine inches over two days (July 10-11). One of the hardest-hit areas was Ludlow, where the community is still recovering from widespread damage that flooding caused to property and infrastructure.