Cycling century season rolling into New England
One hundred miles in the saddle. Fill up the water bottles, pack up the gels and energy bars, and get ready to roll. The century season is about to explode.
The long recreational rides provide a chance to check out new sights, such as mountain views, coastal scenes, a covered bridge or a rumbling river. Centuries offer challenging hills, quiet roads and the camaraderie of fellow riders.
The rides often include lengths of 25, 50, 62, 75, 100 and 125 miles. The 100-mile ride is called a century, the 62-miler is called a metric century because it is 100 kilometers and the 125-mile ride is called a double metric because it is 200 kilometers.
There are also several Gran Fondos through the summer and fall. Gran Fondo's are recreational rides that are usually timed to add a competitive element be in full course timing or timed sections typically climbs. These events are popular in Europe and growing across the States.
Find the ride that is right for you. Remember to eat solid foods such as bananas, apples, fig bars and bagels, or energy bars and gels; drink plenty of water or energy drinks; and know your pace. These organized rides usually provide some food and water at rest stops along the route.
There are many century rides throughout New England over the next two or three months.
Aug. 13 — Quiet Corner Cycling Classic
The ride, which benefits Camp Quinebaug, starts at the Camp Quinebaug, 54 Taos Drive, Danielson, Connecticut. Routes include 25 and 50-mile options, both marked. The bike ride travels through rolling hills in Northeastern Connecticut. Hosted by The Friends of Camp Quinebaug and Quinebaug Velo Cycling Club. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. 50-milers should be on road by 8:30 a.m. there is a rest stop at the South Killingly fire station. Early registration is $30, same-day is $40. For more information, visit www.campquinebaug.com/#!cycling-classic/xl4z8
Aug. 20 — Blazing Saddles Century
The ride offers several options, including 50, 62, and 100 miles. Blazing Saddles, presented by North Shore Cyclists, travels through the rural towns of Boston’s North Shore and southern New Hampshire. The terrain includes rolling hills, long sunny flats, and rural roads. The 100-mile route has two rest stops, at approximately 50 and 75 miles, plus a water stop at 25 miles. Other routes have one rest stop. The ride starts at Triton Regional High School, 112 Elm St, Byfield. For more information, http://nscyc.org/content/blazing-saddles-century
Aug. 20 — The Steeple Chase Bike Tour
Sponsored by Perception Programs, Windham Area Interfaith Ministry and Windham No Freeze Project, the ride starts at Eastern Connecticut State University Athletic Complex, Mansfield City Road in Mansfield, Connecticut. The tour travels through Northeastern Connecticut. Ride options include 20, 35, 50, 62.5 and 100 miles. Registration is $75, which includes free T-shirt. There are rest stops at area faith communities.
For more information, visit www.steeplechasebiketour.org
Aug. 27 — NVP Apple Country Century
The ride through a region of apple orchards offers lengths of 50, 75 and 100 miles, all of which start at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School at 390 Lincoln Road in Sudbury. The ride is presented by Nashoba Valley Pedalers. The routes travel mostly quiet back roads through Massachusetts; the 100-mile route goes into New Hampshire. The terrain is rolling and the routes are arrowed. There are two food and water stops on the 100 and 75 routes, one on the 50 mile route.
For more information, visit http://www.applecountrycentury.org/
Sept. 10 — Three Notch Century
The 100-mile ride, which traverses three mountain passes, starts at the North Conway Grand Hotel in North Conway, New Hampshire. The century travels over the Kancamagus Pass, Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch, and back to the hotel. There is also a 40-mile ride. The century costs $150 and starts at 7 a.m.; and the 40-miler costs $75 and begins at 9 a.m. For more information, visit www.threenotchcentury.org
Sept. 11 — Fall Century Souhegan River Tour: Sponsored by the Charles River Wheelmen, the ride starts in Littleton; register for the exact location and route. Ride options are 100, 62 and 50 miles. All rides go through Groton, Pepperell and Dunstable. The century route travels on back roads to Lunenberg then north along the Souhegan River to Wilton, New Hampshire and back through Brookline, New Hampshire. Registration is $15 for CRW members, $25 for non-members. For more information, visit www.crw.org
Sept. 11 — Connecticut Valley Century (COVAC)
The benefit ride, which starts at the Hatfield Pavilion on Billings Way in Hatfield, is presented by the Rotary Club of Amherst and hosted by the Franklin-Hampshire Freewheelers, offers 25-, 50-, 75- and 100-mile options. Considered relatively flat, the route follows the west bank of the Connecticut River to Brattleboro, Vermont, goes into New Hampshire, then back along the east bank of the river past farmland and a waterfall. Fee includes post-ride baked potato and a beverage. For more information, visit www.http://covacride.org/
Sept. 17 — Loon Echo Trek
The trek, presented by Loon Echo Land Trust, starts at Shawnee Peak Ski Area in Bridgton, Maine. Bike 25, 50, 80 or 100 miles through the scenic hills and valleys of western Maine. Registration is $80. https://trek2016blog.wordpress.com/
Sept. 18 — BikeFest Tour of the Valley
The ride, presented by Northampton Cycling Club, includes 8-, 25-, 43-, 72- and 104-mile routes through the Pioneer Valley. The tour starts at Look Park in Florence. The long rides feature a dramatic climb through Bardwell’s Ferry after crossing Bardwell’s Ferry steel bridge. The Shelburne Falls scenic overlook above famed Glacial Potholes. Proceeds benefit the Northampton Cycling Club and JAM Fund. There are rest stops every 25 miles, and post-ride barbecue and music. For more information http://bikefest.nohobikeclub.org/
Sept. 24-25 — The Seacoast Century
This two-day event, sponsored by the Granite State Wheelmen, offers several ride options for the weekend. Cyclists can ride one or two days. The ride, primarily along the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine seacoast, can be completed in one or two days. Ride options of 25, 50, 63 and 100 miles are offered. The ride starts at Hampton Beach State Park on Ocean Boulevard in Hampton, New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.granitestatewheelmen.org.
Oct. 2 — The Ashford Metric Century
This fundraiser, organized by the Nerac Earth Cycling group, offers 100, 65, 25 and 10 miles rides and travels quiet rolling hills in Ashford, Eastford and Woodstock, Connecticut. The metric century includes about 5,000 feet of elevation gain and the 25-mile route has more than 2,000. There are several rest stops. Receive free baked potato with fixings and apple crisp with ice cream after the ride. The ride starts at Ashford Elementary School on Route 89 in Ashford, Conn. For more information, visit http://ashfordmetriccentury.wordpress.com/.
Oct. 2 — Gran Fondo New England
Details of the Gran Fondo have yet to be released, but the ride starts at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, Connecticut. The event is part of the KMC Cyclo-cross Festival, which had been previously held at Roger Williams Park in Providence but the event moved to Thompson this year. Stay tuned for details.
Oct. 9 — Great River Ride
This century ride has been called “gorgeous but grueling,” and event organizers say it is the most challenging century in New England. The event, sponsored by New Horizons Sports bike shop, offers rides of 125, 111, 85, 62 and 35 miles. Held during foliage season, the century is actually 110 miles and passes along hilltops of the Eastern Berkshires, and has a 25-mile (mostly) downhill run to the finish. The rides begin at the Sons of Erin Pavilion on Williams Street in Westfield. For more information, visit www.newhorizonsbikes.com.
2016 U.S. Century Ride Calendar
Please visit our growing and comprehensive Century Ride calendar for the whole of the USA - http://www.granfondoguide.com/Events/CenturyRides/NorthAmerica