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KING’S TOUR OF THE QUABBIN
2018 
Frequently Asked Questions
 
Q: What time do we start? And where the heck is Rutland? I need directions.
 
Q: I heard that the double metric actually has less climbing than the century. True or false?
A: False. The double has the most climbing. (Before 2015, the 100-miler had the most elevation gain, at least according to Routeslip.com data in 2007.) But now, according to RideWithGPS.com, the numbers are:
 
100 miles --  7,186 feet of climbing
125 miles --  8,086 feet of climbing
65 miles --  4,685 feet of climbing
 
Q: Can I start riding earlier than the listed time?
A: Sure. Check-in opens at 6:45 a.m. and you can start riding anytime after you check in. But be aware that you might reach the rest stop(s) before our volunteers, water and snacks are there. You can start late, too, but be advised that the janitor needs to start cleaning the restrooms at 5:00, and the school will be locked up at 6:00 p.m., and the volunteers and the food will be gone shortly after that.
 
Q: My buddy is a procrastinator and might miss the deadline to register online. Can he/she still do the ride?
A: Yes. Riders can sign up at the start. Preregistration saves you $5 and helps our crew get the right amount of food and drink. And look, it got you all this important info to read BEFORE the ride. Preregistration is open until 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 11.
 
Q: I signed up a while ago and can’t find the confirmation e-mail. What should I do?
A: Not to worry. We’ll have your name on the pre-registration list and you just need to check in at the registration table. Pre-reg saves you precious seconds and some fumbling at the table when you’ve got your hands full with cue sheets, bananas, and so forth.
 
Q: I signed up for the century but I might change my mind and ride the shorter (or longer) route. Is that OK? When do I have to decide?
A: It’s no problem to change routes. We just ask that when you reach the next rest stop, you inform the staff which distance you signed up for, and which route you changed to, just in case we need to send out a search party. All three routes are the same up to mile 38, where the metric century retraces back to Ware and the longer routes go up to the Quabbin tower and exit the park farther west. The two longer routes diverge at mile 54. Also, you MUST check off your name at the finish and indicate which route you actually rode.
 
Q: Will there be cue sheets? Or should I print out the ones I found online?
A:  Please use the 2018 cue sheets that will be given out at the start. If you are doing the double metric, you MUST also take the WHITE cue sheet for the century. Not because we doubt your ability to go the distance, but because the double metric cues take up both sides of the page and thus did not leave room for other crucial info -- specifically, the inset map that shows you which roads to take within the Quabbin reservation, where we are not allowed to paint arrows. We will put down chalk arrows in there Sunday morning, but they tend to wear off quickly. Every year we have someone who never looks at the inset map and messes up on that part of the route and thus a) comes up short on mileage and b) misses some scenic highlights.
 
Q: Can I get the routes onto my GPS or smartphone?
A: The 2018 routes are shown here:
 
     Metric
 
     Century
 
     Double Metric
     https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27760566
    
 
If you know how to get those maps onto your device, go for it. Don't ask us for instructions. Be very careful to load the right link(s) -- the URLs for the century and the double metric are only one digit different (century ends in 56, and double ends in 66). And please take cue sheets with you anyway -- the printed cues correspond better to the wheels-on-the-ground point of view, as opposed to a computerized map reader. 
 
Q: I’m familiar with last year’s route. What are the changes?
A: We have no changes this year, unless a road gets dug up or something in the last few days before the ride. A few things to know:
 
  • The metric route now includes quaint Oakham Center. Total mileage is 65.
     
  • The double metric does NOT have an extra rest stop in Orange anymore. It's a long distance from the Pelham rest stop (mile 54)  to the Petersham rest stop (mile 99), so riders are advised to carry cash for food/beverage at Leverett Village Co-op (mile 72).
     
  • The double metric avoids some bumpiness in Athol and takes a different approach to Petersham than it did in 2015 and earlier. The route goes into Petersham via Route 32, not Route 122, so it doesn't rejoin the century until the Petersham rest stop at mile 99.
 
Q: I loved last year's ride! Are the highlights still the same?
A: Yes. In addition to the Quabbin Reservoir itself, you'll see plenty of lush forest, bucolic countryside and quaint New England towns.
 
  • First rest stop for all routes is Hardwick Winery (mile 26), not Gate 43.
     
  • All routes go into the Quabbin Reservation, for stunning views of the reservoir from Goodnough Dike (pronounced GOOD-now). (Ahem, that's the first dam, not the Winsor Dam where the visitor center is and where the longer routes exit the park. We know some of you have skipped Goodnough Dike in the past.) 
     
  • The metric route diverges from the longer routes at mile 38, after Goodnough Dike. The metric route retraces back to Route 9 and downtown Ware, while the longer routes go up to the Quabbin tower and then exit the park farther west, at Winsor Dam.
     
  • The metric route goes through the Gilbertville Covered Bridge. 
     
  • Century and double metric riders will stay together at Routes 9 & 202 in Belchertown, both heading up Route 202. The second rest stop is about 6 miles up Route 202 in Pelham, at mile 54.
     
  • Century and double metric diverge just after the Pelham rest stop, with the double metric heading into Shutesbury on an epic downhill. From the Pelham rest stop, century riders continue north on Route 202.
     
  • The century and double metric avoid retracing Route 122 in Rutland near the end. After climbing Coldbrook Road to Oakham Center and then descending to North Brookfield, riders will cross Route 148 and head for Browning Pond in Spencer, then return to Rutland via pleasant Pleasantdale Road.
 
Q: Which arrows do I follow?
A: Big orange arrows, next to a "C" for Century, "M" for Metric or "D" for Double Metric. You will see "DCM" until mile 37.7, then just "M" or "DC" or "CD." Then, for the century, just "C," and then "DC" again and finally "DCM" again.
  There are long stretches with no turns and no confirmation arrows. We don't waste paint!
 
Q: What’s the pace?
A: You decide. It’s not a race. Usually there are lots of riders and the pack fairly quickly breaks up into several small clusters. So even if you don’t have a riding buddy, you’re likely to find someone else going your pace.
 
Q: What if it rains?
A: Everybody gets wet. We can’t muster all the volunteers for a rain date, so we deal with Mother Nature as best we can. This webcam shows conditions at the Quabbin Vistior's Center (mile 41 on the long routes), but of course the weather may be different elsewhere in the vast territory that our ride covers, and may change in a minute.
 
Q: How many rest stops are there? At what mile marker(s)?
A: All three routes have a rest stop at mile 26 at Hardwick Winery (on the left, but it's not a busy road). The metric century has a second rest stop, at mile 47 in New Braintree. The cue sheet also describes a lovely place to buy food shortly before that on the metric, about half a mile off the route: Rose 32 bakery and café. The two longer routes have a second rest stop in Pelham at mile 54.  The double metric riders can buy food at Leverett Village Co-op at mile 72, where there are bathrooms and picnic tables, or possibly Wendell Country Store at mile 77. The next stop for both long routes is in Petersham, at mile 75 on the century, which is mile 99 on the double metric.  Here's a shout-out to the East Quabbin Land Trust, which was instrumental in reopening the Petersham Country Store in 2014.
 
Q: What kind of food and drink will there be?
A: We’ll have bagels at the start. At the rest stops we’ll have Gatorade and water, and bananas, Fig Newtons, granola bars, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, that sort of thing. We hear Steve's popular ham & cheese roll-ups will be offered at the Pelham rest stop, which is on the longer routes. We expect to have a limited amount of gluten-free snacks. If you’re fussy, BYO. At the finish we’ll have watermelon and some salty snacks.
 
Q: Will my cellphone work out there?
A: Probably not. Maybe in certain places. Better to have it than not. The cue sheets will have phone numbers for our support crew, and they don't all use the same carrier.
 
Q: If I’m really tired or hurting, is there a shortcut?
A: Only near the very end of the longer routes. At mile 87 on the century, or mile 111 on the double metric, you could skip the right turn from Route 122 onto Coldbrook Road in Oakham. Just stay on Route 122 and in a couple of miles you'll pick up the "M" arrows for the last 4 miles or so back to Naquag School. You’ll miss the nice shady, quiet climb into Oakham Center, and the ups and downs to Browning Pond, but you’ll shave about 8 miles from the day's total.
 
Q: Can I shower and change clothes at the finish?
A: Shower, no -- unless you bring a sun shower and can wash up in the parking lot without committing indecent exposure. But the bathrooms in the Naquag School will be open until 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. (Ahem: One year someone made a mess in there with talcum powder and splashed water, and the janitor was not happy. Please be considerate.)
 
Q: Can you recommend a restaurant on our way home?
A: Rutland is in the boonies and there aren’t many places on the way to I-190 or I-290. We suggest Val’s Restaurant at 75 Reservoir St. (Route 31) in the center of Holden: Turn right from Route 122A onto Route 31 at the light at the Mobil station, and Val’s will be in a little plaza on your right. It's casual -- shorts and T-shirt are fine. Or The Harvest Grille at 1 Princeton St. (on your left as you head south on Route 122A) in the Jefferson section of Holden. 
  If you're heading north or west via Barre, you can eat at Stone Cow Brewery, 500B West St. (Route 122), Barre. They typically have BBQ on the weekends in addition to pizza, burgers, fries, salads, and so forth. Just drive the bike route until mile 12.7 and instead of turning left onto Old Hardwick Road, watch for the Stone Cow on your right.
 
Q: Why is it called the King’s Tour?
A: Dick Avery, the rider from Seven Hills Wheelmen who started this ride in 1989 or so, is nicknamed the King. Actually, the Pole King, from his days installing and climbing telephone poles for the phone company.
 
Q: My question isn’t answered here or at www.sevenhillswheelmen.org/centuries.htm. Who can I hassle?
A: See Frank, Steve, John B., Lynne, or any of the other Seven Hills Wheelmen volunteers at the ride start. We don’t recommend that you call or e-mail between now and ride day, as yours truly is straight out with other work, and our crew is very busy getting everything ready for the ride.
 
Q: What does MassBike ride partner mean? How does this help me, and how can I help out?
A: MassBike and the King's Tour of the Quabbin are ride partners. This means that a portion of your registration fee helps MassBike, a statewide advocacy coalition that works for better bicycling across Massachusetts. It also means that during online registration, you can join MassBike at a discount. Remember, when it comes to creating and maintaining a bicycle-friendly environment, bicyclists will count if we can be counted.
 
Q: The Quabbin Reservoir is amazing. Where can I learn more about it?
A: The visitor center next to Winsor Dam is a good start. Even if you can only stop for five minutes during the bike ride, it's worth poking your head in the front door to see the display on where the water goes. The Friends of Quabbin website offers lots of info, pictures and resources, including a book list.
 
Q: Seven Hills Wheelmen is great! What other events do you have?
A: The George Street Bike Challenge for Major Taylor is Sunday, July 22, 2018, in Worcester, presented by Seven Hills Wheelmen and Barney's Bicycle. See how fast you can pedal up a short, steep hill that was a proving ground for 1899 world cycling champion Major Taylor, aka "the Worcester Whirlwind." One rider at a time against the clock. Proceeds benefit the Major Taylor Association. We're giving away an SE Bikes Big Flyer 29" street bike  from Barney's and lots of other prizes in the George Street raffle.
 Volunteers are still needed for George Street -- talk to Lynne at the start/finish of the Quabbin ride if you can help on July 22.

 
 
 

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