Start Location: Hanscom Civil Airport, Bedford, MA
300k Start Time: 6am
200k Start Time: 9am (Note later 200k start time.)
Length: 311k / 193mi or 211k / 131mi
Time Limit: 20 Hours (300k) or 13.5 Hours (200k)
Ride Leader: Jake Kassen
Lighting: Lights & reflective gear required for BOTH distances.
Controls: Harvard, MA; Ashburnham, MA; Northfield, MA; Sunderland, MA, Petersham, MA (200k skips Northfield and Sunderland.)
Cue Sheet 300k: Preliminary 2016 300k Cue Sheet [Updated 5-9-16]
Cue Sheet 200k: Preliminary 2016 200k Cue Sheet [Updated 5-9-16]
Registration: Register Online via BikeReg
GPS File: See below for Ride with GPS Links
2017 Event Information Updates:
300k Information 2017:
300k starts at 6am. Same route as previous years is currently planned. New control location in Sunderland.
200k Information 2017:
The 200k version of this ride will start at 9am so 200k riders get to sleep in a bit longer. Since most 200k riders will finish after dark, lighting and reflective gear is required on the 200k. 200k starters have until 10:30pm to finish.
Lighting and Reflective Gear: Sunset is at 8:05pm. All riders (both distances) finishing after 7:30pm MUST BE WEARING REFLECTIVE GEAR AND LIGHTS. Riders will be checked at the start to ensure they start regulation safety gear and must use said gear starting with sundown.
Controls: NER supported control in Petersham. Other locations are at local merchant where water and snacks can be purchused.
Dirt & Pavement Conditions: No dirt on the 200k. 0.3 mile of hardpacked dirt on the 300k. Most roads are in reasonable condition (For Massachusetts) with a few short but notable sections of horrible pavement as marked on the cue sheet.
The 200k follows the 300k route for the first ~60 miles. At this point it head South to Petersham whereupon it rejoins the 300k return leg to Hanscom. The 200k route is an excellent choice for those wanting a shorter and but still challenging ride. Lights & Reflective gear are required on both distances!
Leg 1 (200k & 300k): Hanscom to Harvard, MA (22 miles): This short section should go by quickly in the early morning as riders pass though the quiet suburbs of western Boston on flat and gently rolling terrain. Not much of note in this section outside of scenic farms and expensive houses. Don’t spend much time at the dunkin’ donuts as you’ll have better places to stop later on.
Leg 2 (200k & 300k): To Ashburnham, MA (30 miles): You’ll encounter a few hills along this section as you stay in the north western MA suburbs. Some of the pavement in this section isn’t very good so pay attention. The control is an interesting connivence store / Pizzeria in a residential lakefront area. Try not to waste time with a game of mini-golf. Please buy something from Tweedo’s if you ask to use their bathroom and be very kind to their staff as they have been very helpful and supportive of our events.
Leg 3 (200k): To Petersham, MA. You’ll continue with the 300k route for the first 8 miles after the Tweedo’s control but then turn south and head straight to Petersham on rolling terrain. Highlights from this section is one of Massachusetts finest independent cheese makers and passing though downtown Tempelton.
Leg 3 (300k): To Northfield, MA (35 miles) OK, now the hills have arrived in ernest. The scenery in the section is really enjoyable — you’ll pass the Tully campground and Dam plus a bunch of interesting sites on quiet roads. There is an information control in the parking lot of the IGA Supermarket in Northfield; a signature/receipt is optional.
Leg 4 (300k): To Sunderland, MA (21 miles) This section is mostly flat to give riders a mid-ride break. You’re on the western side of the CT river now riding in farmland and though MA’s industrial past. The bridge to Turners Falls has reopened with a huge bike lane! While on the bridge look to the right to see the old mill and waterway. Neat stuff! Once in Turner’s Falls there are abundant services if needed but don’t stop for too long. You’ll take the rail-trail over the river which should be a good break from the cars. River road is a terrific low traffic, good pavement, mostly flat section along the river.
Leg 5 (300k Only): To Petersham, MA (30 miles) This is one of my favorite sections of the ride. You’ll stay on the quiet backroads of central west MA as you head northeast. You’ll leave the river when turning onto Foster’s Rd but the dirt section here is short and in good shape. If you are building up time and need a break consider a stop at the Leverett Co-Op. If it is too hot you can even jump in the water at Lake Minola Park! Rt. 122 is generally low traffic but has 45-50 mph speed limits and a narrow shoulder so please ride single file. In Petersham we’ll have another fully supported control but the Petersham Country Store has reopened! Riders who want “real” food are encouraged to stop into the store.
Important: Most 300k riders and many 200k riders will arrive at the Petersham control shortly before or at sundown. You must start using your lights and reflective gear at this point; failure to do so will result in disqualification.
Leg 6 (200k and 300k): To Hanscom Field (56 miles): This is the longest section so leave some energy. The first 30 miles include some short but steep rollers. You’ll spend 16 miles on Rt. 62 so you can take a short break from careful navigation until Sterling. Rt. 62 is a state road NER used to use frequently on older brevets and it’s still one of my favorite numbered roads due to the farms and lower levels of traffic. There is an ice cream stand 10 miles into the route and more comprehensive services in Stealing. From Stealing back to Hanscom is similar to the outbound on the MA100k. In the last 25 miles you’ll be back to the quiet wealthy suburbs as the hills slowly flatten out.
Below are links to the Preliminary legs for the 300k route:
Leg 1: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1112008
Leg 2: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2260295
Leg 3: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2260810
Leg 4: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2260324
Leg 5: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/4812825
Leg 6: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2264067
Legs for the 200k Route:
So why should you ride the 300k?
- Passes through enjoyable central west towns of Northfield, Sunderland, Leverett and fabeled New Salem, MA.
- All scenic back roads
- Lots climbing and a few great views.
- Most controls are small stores.
- Gorgeous rural MA scenery.
- Takes the newly opened train bridge to bike path out of Turner’s Falls, MA
Previous 300k Ride Reports
- Jesse Marrow’s Ride Report from 2014
Lots of nice pictures in this report.
- Sara Huston’s 300k (2013) Ride Report
- This ride report refers to the 2013 version which goes to Northfield and Sunderland, MA.
- Gary Shaffer’s 300k (2012) Ride Report
- This ride report refers to the 2012 version of the 300k which heads out to Warwick & Wendell, MA. In 2012 riders experienced unrelenting rain and cold throughout the entire ride. This was a difficult event for even the strongest of riders.
- Cris Conception’s 300k ride reports from 2006 and 2007.
- More of Cris’s ride reports can be found here.
- Jake Kassen’s 300k ride report from 2006.
- More of Jake’s ride reports can be found here.
- Massimiliano Poletto’s 300k report from 2003 and 2004 and 2005.
- Max has lots of randonneuring stories on his website.
- Coming In From the Cold: The Boston 300k by Bruce Ingle.
- Editor’s Note: 2002 was a cold, wet running of the 300k. Bruce’s ride is not typical.
- Pamela Blalock’s ride report from 2002.
- If you read Bruce’s 2002 report then you should also read Pamela’s. Pamela and John Bayley have a wealth of randonneuring info on their website.
- Mike Beganyi’s 2006 report.
- More of Mike’s reports are here.
- Kris Kjellquist’s 300k ride reports from 2005 and 2006.
If you’d like to see your ride report listed here, please send the text or a link to the NER webmaster.