Boston 600k – June 17th 2023

2023 route ready for download!

600k Ride Information
Start Location:  Parking Lot by Dunkin Donuts/Holiday Inn Express Woburn at 315 Mishawum Rd., Woburn, MA
Start time: 4 am on June 17th
Length: 600k / 375mi
Time Limit: 40 Hours (finish by 8pm June 18th)
Lights & Reflective Gear: Required
Ride Leader: Sarah Bergstrom
Sanctioning: RUSA/ACP
Cue Sheet: See RWGPS
Online Map/GPS: Route map with official cue sheet available.

There is also a version showing detours (not fully scouted) around three of the dirt sections.  See note on dirt below.
Registration: BikeReg

There will be a rider limit of 50 riders on this year’s 600k, with a waitlist available if necessary.  We know this is a PBP year and will try to accommodate as many riders as we can, but we want to make sure everyone has a good experience.

Please note the start location!  We will be starting and finishing at the Holiday Inn Express Woburn (also used for the 400k). There are also several other hotels in the same area for riders coming from out of town.

The Boston 600k will be a repeat of the route used the last two years — the White Mountain Getaway. (There will only be a 600k offered, no 200k option.)  Given the number of riders planning to go straight through, we will be using less of the bike path out of Portland than in past years.

Lodging:  New for 2023!   NER is renting space at the Westbrook Community Center for the overnight.  There will be showers, food, and secure bike storage.  Sleeping accommodations will be floor space in a gymnasium/function room setting.  Riders will be able to send a small duffel bag of gear and a sleeping bag/bedroll to the sleep stop.  (You can include an air mattress/thermarest.)   Gear will be returned to the start (fast riders note: the gear shuttle will probably get back to Woburn around noon).

If you would like a hotel room in Westbrook, there are several within a couple of miles of the community center (including the Days Inn we used in 2021 and 2022 as the sleep stop).   Riders wishing for a hotel room must make their own reservations and we will only take drop bags to the Community Center.

Parking at the start: if you are NOT staying at the Holiday Inn Express and need to park at the start, park in the Anderson Woburn Transportation Center 1.5 miles to the north.  (Address for GPSes: Anderson RTC Overnight Parking Lot, 100 Atlantic Ave, Woburn, MA 01801).  The shopping plaza across the street from the hotel is now enforcing their overnight parking ban and they will ticket/tow; do not park there. Volunteers will likely be able to shuttle riders back to their car at the finish, if needed.

The Holiday Inn Express has confirmed that riders only staying before or after the ride (i.e. just Friday or just Sunday night rather than the whole time) are welcome to leave their cars for the weekend; please give the front desk your license plate number.

Route Description

Have you ever looked at an NER route, and said “what this really needs is another mountain pass?” This was my (Sarah) take on my favorite parts of the old NER Lake Winnepesauke 400k, combined with Kancamagus Pass, and a return via Portland. It’s chock-full of rollers (about 18,000 feet of climbing, comparable to PBP), some beautiful brand-new pavement (and some typical New England potholes, sorry!).   The climbing is front-loaded; the return trip from Portland is along the same route as the 400k and is gentle rollers, a welcome reprieve after the previous days sharp rollers and mountain pass.

The ride starts by weaving its way through the outskirts of Boston on popular club-ride roads towards the New Hampshire border, quickly getting to countryside punctuated by small towns.  There’s a quick Dunkin Donuts control along the way, just to make sure you know you’re in New England.

Just before New Boston, the first real climb of the day will wake up your legs, followed by the first section of dirt on a well-behaved dirt descent and a second paved climb.  New Boston is not a control on this route, but at just under 100k into the route it offers a nice store for a short break before heading up the next quiet rural stretch towards Concord, New Hampshire.  After zipping through Concord, you’ll hit your second small section of dirt, followed by a stairstep climb up alongside a historical Shaker settlement.  After dropping back down this hill, a small general store offers your second control stop in Belmont, New Hampshire; a larger gas station a tenth of a mile off-route offers bathrooms and a larger selection of convenience food.

From here to Lincoln the rollers are constant, but the scenery is the best New England has to offer–hilltop vistas and deciduous trees give way to pines lining mountain valleys as you criss-cross the Pemigewasset River up into the White Mountains.   Fuel up in Lincoln–it’s 35 miles without services, and that 35 miles is the Kancamagus Pass.  This classic climb stretches straight up for 13 miles; then you have a long descent into Conway for your final control before the sleep stop.   (Note: for any riders that want to book their own lodging and want to stop on the early side, there is a hotel in Conway along the route, but official control closing is at 12:20 am, so you’ll need to head out in the dark.  We recommend pushing on but want to make sure people are aware of the options.)

The section from Conway to Portland rolls through remote, quiet farmland and woods; bring good lights to supplement any moonlight along this stretch.  The roads are twisty and pavement quality varies; stay alert and use caution on the descents.  It can also get misty and colder than you’d expect through this section; several riders found it reminiscent of similar moments on PBP.  This section has 51 miles with zero services after Conway for all but the fastest riders; please come prepared for that.   It’s more down than up through here, but it’s far from flat.  When the rollers start to flatten out, you’re approaching greater Portland.

After Westbrook/Portland, the route joins the 400k route for most of the return trip.  You’ll hop on some of the lovely, hard-packed stone dust Eastern Trail, and follow the East Coast Greenway route for a good portion of the day both on and off the bike paths.  Enjoy the gorgeous section down along the Merrimack River by daylight if you’ve only done it by night on the 400k!  Gentle rollers throughout will keep you awake without the steep inclines of the previous day.   Fast riders going through without sleep may have few options for services on day 2; be aware and pack accordingly.

A note on dirt: There are four stretches of dirt on the route.  The first two are on day 1:  a 1.2 mile stretch on Joe English Road, which avoids a sometimes unpleasantly-busy stretch of Rt 12, and a 2.5 mile stretch of dirt road on Old Shaker Road.  Both were found to be in excellent condition on the preride – much smoother than some of the pavement on the ride.  On the second day, there are two more: 3 miles of crushed-stone bike path (usually 11 miles, but only 3 in 2023), which can get a little sandy, and .5 miles of well-packed dirt road (Sheep Rd) on day two. All of the dirt should be passable on skinny tires.  Please also be aware that the bike path can get crowded in good weather with families; use caution and be courteous.  For 2023, there is an official detour route posted that adds about 4 miles total to bypass all of the dirt except for Sheep Rd.  Please note that the detour around Old Shaker Road has not been scouted for closed roads/other hazards.