CRW Fall Century Ride – A New England Classic

One of my favorite century rides is the CRW Fall Century ride. The Charles River Wheelmen designed a difficult, but beautiful route for this ride, which takes place each September. This year’s ride is on Sunday, September 19th.

This route was the basis for one of the chapters in my book, the Souhegan River Classic. Here’s an excerpt which describes the ride:

Based on the popular Fall Century Ride of the Charles River Wheelmen, the Souhegan River Classic is a challenging century — virtually all of the route’s 5,500 feet of climbing are crammed into the first 62 miles. Painful, but beautiful, the Souhegan River Classic takes you through the best cycling roads of North-Central Massachusetts to the best cycling roads of South Central New Hampshire. Be sure that you are in good shape and pack well, as food and water stops are few and far between.

It is a tough ride, but so worth it. The ride starts in Central Massachusetts, in Acton, and follows a super scenic route through Groton and Lunenburge and up into New Hampshire. Here are some more photos from along the route.

Note that pre-registration is required this year and the ride is limited to 500 riders. All the details are on the CRW web site.

Fall Century Pre-Ride Meeting
Pre-Ride Meeting
Pausing on a country road
Pausing on a country road

If you’ve not yet done your first century ride, or one this hard, check out James Wannop’s eBook on how to train for a century ride (affiliate link). It’s perhaps the most comprehensive guide dedicated exclusively to tackling a century ride. All the details about his book can be found on his website

Pan Mass Challenge Weekend

A Massachusetts institution, the Pan Mass Challenge rolls off this weekend. Now with 9 routes and both U.S. Senators participating, the event is in its 31st year. The goal this year: to raise $31 million for cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. 5,200 riders will hit the roads this Saturday and Sunday, chances are you know one of them. Read more at and support your local PMC rider.

Photo credit: lockwood

Ciclismo Classico Film Festival (free!)

Lots of neat little events to track down for bike week… just stumbled across this one:

To Celebrate Bike Week please bring a friend and join the entire Ciclismo Gang of family and friends for a relaxing and FREE evening of good food and cycling films from Ciclismo Classico tour as well as the top favorites from The Boston Cycling Film Festival.

FREE raffle for all participants

What: Ciclismo Classico Film Festival. Food. Raffle and much more!
Where: The Capitol Theatre
204 Mass Ave, Arlington MA
When: May 20th from 6:00-9:00
How much? FREE

List of Films (tentative):

  1. The No Gasoline Tour (Michigan musician Peter Mulvey bikes to all his gigs)
  2. Round Up (from Lynette Chiang – folding bicycle relay)
  3. Another New Bike (2008 winner – A crazy adolescent chase, misunderstandings and a twist of an ending
  4. Guerilla Mechanics (surreptitious bike mechanics descend on abandoned bikes in the city)
  5. Inside Ragbrai (the most famous cross state ride from a unique filmmaker)
  6. Someone Faster (a cycling tweaker with one goal in mind)
  7. I Fell (a mountain biker documents an accident)
  8. Gelato Diet by Ciclismo guest Patria Lanfranchi
  9. Piedmont: Land of Barolo & Truffles by Ciclismo guest Chuck Brazell
  10. Bike Across Italy by Ciclismo guest Carlton Reid

Photo credit: hellochris

Guilt-fueled Riding

Usually a great workout is rewarded with a small treat. Maybe a scoop of ice cream, a slice of pizza, or a beer. Ok, maybe a bowl of ice cream, a few slices of pizza or a few beers.

Today the order was reversed. The tasty afterglow of my visit to Kane’s Donughts in Saugus (see previous post), home of the “world’s largest coffee roll” and delicious doughnuts, soon gave way to guilty motivation to get on the bike. Fortunately, it was a beautiful sunny, warm day to burn those extra calories.

Photo credit: Pink Sherbert Photography

Featured Ride: Mount Greylock Challenge

Climb it because it is there. When you summit Mount Greylock, you will be reaching the highest point in all of Massachusetts, where you can enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of the Berkshires. Unclip and climb the Veterans War Memorial at the summit to fully soak it all in. This challenging ride will bring you from Pittsfield to the summit in the first third of the ride. After completing the brake-burning descent (which requires great care and patience), you’ll head over to Williamstown, a quaint town that is home to Williams College. The second half of the route takes you south through the valley, giving you a rest and a chance to appreciate the mountain range from a different perspective while climbing back toward Pittsfield at a more moderate pace. Plan to do the ride during the spring or summer as the Mount Greylock Scenic Byway is accessible only from mid-May through mid-October. Get more details, turn-by-turn directions, and map in the book Road Biking Massachusetts (affiliate link).

The New England Velodrome Becomes The Northeast Velodrome

Back in March, there were some sudden changes made at the New England Velodrome, which many simply described as a hostile takeover of sorts. The message sent out by Tony Eberhardt was posted in many places and generated a lot of curiosity. Subsequently, Cyclocross Magazine did a two part story which interviewed the parties involved. Here’s Part 1 – the interview with the folks from the Cycle Loft. Here’s Part 2 – the interview with Tony.

So, now the track appears to be up and running under a new name – The Northeast Velodrome.

Photo credit: Incase

Enjoy A Colonial Ride This Saturday

The Nashoba Valley Pedalers are hosting a “Colonial Ramble” with modest distance options (10, 21, or 33) and a modest pace (“no need to race through this relaxing ride”), though there will be some hills. The ride starts in Acton and travels through Concord, Westford and Carlisle. Great cycling country. A great way to start your season, if you haven’t begun to ramp up yet.

Photo Credit: Gregory Leaf

Bay State Bike Week: May 17th to 21st

Massachusetts is promoting cycling through a series of events taking place across the state during “Bay State Bike Week.” The effort is being spearheaded by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and MassBike. The City of Boston is running some events in the city, ending with its first “Bike Friday” of the season on May 21st.  There seems to be a lot going on for bike week, but you’ll need to dig around the above web sites a bit to figure out what you might want to participate in, as there doesn’t seem to be a central web site with all the events/details.

Photo Credit: John E. Lester

The Magic Number: 100

The “century” ride. 100 miles on-bike in a single day. Quite alluring.

There’s something about riding to that big, round, 3-digit number of miles with a simple mechanical device that it totally human-powered. It’s a feat. It’s a great goal.

Completing a century ride is a satisfying accomplishment, and a rite of passage for new cyclists. And, once achieved, is a recurring milestone in each subsequent cycling season. So, when will you ride your first century? Or your first century this year?

Three classics are provided by the Charles River Wheelmen, in the Spring, Summer, and Fall:

CRW Spring Century

CRW Climb To The Clouds

CRW Fall Century

Enjoy the ride.

Photo Credit: bp6316

Look at nothing. See everything.

You’re barreling down the road at 25MPH, pedaling hard. You’re putting out a good effort, trying to keep smooth, steady pedal strokes. Efficiency is key. You focus on it, and your breathing.

Six inches in front of you is another rider doing the same. Keeping your efforts in sync is critical, not only to be efficient now, but also to be safe.

And, of course, there is another rider just six inches off of your back wheel. Doing the same. Trying to keep smooth and steady.

You’re all barreling down a public road, with potholes, traffic, broken glass, pedestrians, and other hazards. So, where do you focus your attention, visually?

“Look at nothing. See everything.”

If you stare at the back wheel in front of you, you may become distracted and miss an upcoming hazard. If you look around for hazards, you may not notice a slight adjustment of the bike in front of you. A subtle slowdown that could cause wheels to touch, or a bit of a speed up that could open up a gap.

You’ve got to somehow take it all in (at once) yet be aware of each individual detail. Peripheral vision becomes part of your primary vision. You discover a delicate balance, soaking it all in, aware of the details. Focused on them without lingering. Seeing each without focusing on any exclusively.

You’re looking at nothing, yet seeing everything. Zen vision can be very handy for cyclists.

Photo Credit: Tony the Misfit