May 11th, 2024 – Fifty Barn 300k & Royal Athols 200k

Ride Information

Start/Finish Location: 300 Baker Ave Extension, Concord, MA (See below for specifics)
300k Start Time:5am
200k Start Time: 7am
Length: 300k / 190mi or 205k / ~128mi
Time Limit: 20 Hours (300k) or 13.5 Hours (200k)
Ride Leader: Jake Kassen
Lighting: Lights & reflective gear required for BOTH distances.
300k Controls: Hardwick, Amherst, Northfield, Winchendon, Concord
200k Controls: Ashburnham, North Orange, Petersham, Concord
Sanctioning: ACP & RUSA
300k Map, Track, and Cue: (Cue updates 4-26-24)
200k Map, Track, and Cue: (Minor updates 5-6-24)
Registration:  BikeReg via RUSA Membership Check System

Important: For this event we are using the “eBrevet” smartphone application as a way of tracking riders. Riders do not need to use this application but is strongly encouraged for those who will have a smartphone with them on the ride. App installation and usage info.

Back for 2024! For the 300k, the route is a 190 mile clockwise loop around the Quabbin. It includes some favorite peaceful and rural roads through Rutland, Hardwick, and Ware that were used in prior years but this time riders will visit in the early morning. The middle of the route is pancake flat as riders pass approx 50 barns in the Connecticut River Valley after an early lunch in Amherst. From Northfield eastbound the hills return but fewer steep rollers. The last few miles will be on the newly opened rail-trail over Rt 2. There is about 2 miles of flat dirt roads over three short sections. Pavement on the road is generally worse than normal for Massachusetts (which is saying something) so if deciding between two bikes, ride the one with the wider tires.

Changes for 2024: The route now skips Amherst center and instead stays on rail trails longer to a shopping center with a Dunkin, CVS, and Supermarket. For those interested in Amherst Center, it’s a detour which only adds about a mile.

For the 200k, the route uses a few new roads on the way to Winchendon, MA. The first control is the famous Tweedo’s on a revised route though Lunenburg. From Ashburnham the route heads West around the Tully Dam and then south to Petersham, home Jake’s favorite sandwich in MA, The TLT. The route back to Concord is similar to that of the 2017 300k and Williamstown 600k. No dirt but an ample amount of poor quality pavement as the route makes a point of staying on the smallest backroads. Note that the first leg to Tweedo’s features some very steep climbs on very bad pavement around Ashby.

Parking/Start Location: 300 Baker Ave Extension parking lot. Park in the northwest corner lot, beyond the Residence Inn hotel. The hotel is the finish location and riders should book accommodations on their own if they’d like to spend the night before heading home. (Note: This and other nearby hotels fill up quickly.)

300 Baker Ave Extension Map – Click to enlarge

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: All controls are stores where riders can buy supplies. Should you expect a staffed secret control? If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret.

Eight Fifty Barn Photos

Picture of bike next to big bike sculpture
Big Bike, Little Bike. Photo by Charles Coldwell
Bike tree next to road
Photo by Charles Coldwell
Overlooking Field Photo
Photo by Charles Coldwell
Photo of trees next to road
Photo by Charles Coldwell
Photo of tobacco leaf barn
There are 49 more of them. Photo by Charles Coldwell
Picture of small waterfall
Photo by Charles Coldwell
Picture of iced cream stand
Creamie! Photo by Charles Coldwell
Picture of bike in Northfield
Photo by Charles Coldwell

Photos from Prior 300k Events

Amherst, MA
Northfield, MA
Anyone know the story behind this house in Lunenburg?
Wildflowers in Bloom
You’re at the top of a climb when you see this.
One of several farm stands off Williamsville Road in Hubardstron.
Be Alert! (But for what?) This is a chicken coop owned by the Country Hen (local egg producer) which the 200k passes.
Headed into Princeton
Calm waters in Harvard
Riders come across this maze of short trees on Gilbert Rd about 7 miles after leaving Petersham. This is one of the few sites which is more interesting to see via satellite. (Click the photo for a link to Google Satellite for this site.)
Rider and NER Board Member Emily O’Brien stops on the Tully Dam on the 300k
Petersham Gazebo Control (200k)
Quabbin (via one of the Fishing Sites)


Previous 300k Ride Reports

Emily O’Brien’s Fifty Barn Pre-Ride Report, May 2023

Jesse Marrow’s Ride Report from 2014 and 2017

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.