Nomad Three-Day Route Description

Because the Nomad Three-Day route covers about 150 miles, expect to see a lot of different terrain and route conditions.  Here are some details.

Terrain

These percentages are estimates.  Remember that one rider's technical trail is another rider's flowy trail.  Perception is reality and we all live in different realities.  You can read about our tire recommendations.

  • Good pavement:  45%.  The roads bring us through just about everything from small town centers -- for supply replenishment -- to remote quiet roads without a car for miles.  
  • Terrible pavement -- read 'fun':  10%.  OBC tends to search out some of the worst broken pavement roads, in part because there's hardly ever any traffic on them and it gives us a comforting feeling that nature is taking back whats hers.
  • Dirt roads -- mostly fire roads and access roads:  7%.  Some really fun trails that we've scoped out for the Nomad.  Quiet, fast, and always fun.
  • Doubletrack and abandoned dirt trails:  10%.  Doubletrack is a mix between access road and singletrack.  Keep your wits about you and don't ride on the grassy centeridge.  What looks bucolic can often be tricky terrain with hidden dangers in the grass.
  • Singletrack flowy: 25%.  We work to find as much of this kind of riding as we can.  It's not too technical but it will be more 'interesting' than expected when your bike is loaded for bikepacking.
  • Singletrack technical or primitive -- rocky and rooty: 3%.  While OBC enjoys this kind of trail on a mixed-terrain bike, these sectors can be tricky on a loaded bikepacking rig.  So, we've minimized these sectors.  Often, the reason we'll include a short moment of technical riding is because once you get through that, the next sector will have made the technical section well worth it.
  • Hike-a-bike sections and dangerous technical descents:  0.1%.  We work hard to eliminate these areas.  However, once or twice in a 150 mile ride, it can be difficult to avoid 100%.  Rest assured, if there is a hike-a-bike section, it will be followed with -- or prior to -- a fantastic sector of riding.  Be extra careful in these parts -- this is not a race.
This image shows the most technical moment of the entire ride.   Do not be intimidated by this photo!

This image shows the most technical moment of the entire ride.   Do not be intimidated by this photo!

Elevation

This isn't a very climby ride; eastern Massachusetts is relatively flat.  The route has about 65 feet per mile of climbing; this isn't very much.  There are definitely no sustained climbs.  The climbing in this part of the Massachusetts is generally short rolling hills.  The worst of the climbing is a few short punchy climbs.  Read our gearing recommendations.

Overall this route provides riders with an excellent cross section of eastern Massachusetts terrain, roads, and trails.  Bikepacking and camping add to the adventure.  We hope you'll join us!

Nomad Bikepacking Adventure: Ideal Bike Setup

The Nomad Three-Day Bikepacking Adventure Ride demands a thoughtful bikepacking setup.  The event contains a bit of everything that the best rides always seem to offer:  Trails, distance, loaded bike with camping gear, backwoods that require some level of self-sufficiency, and more.  

Getting your bike setup right will make the weekend a lot more fun.  Proper preparation means more pedaling and no mechanicals.

Of course, there are lots of approaches to the ideal bike, with no single right answer for everyone.  The most fundamental focus of the bike is to ensure that it's safe to ride, it gets you safely where you want to go, and that you’ve set it up for optimized durability and comfort.

The route is about 150 miles over three days, so expect to see some of everything.  Overall, the terrain types are:

  • Good pavement:  45%
  • Terrible pavement -- read 'fun':  10%
  • Dirt roads -- mostly fire roads and access roads:  7%
  • Doubletrack and abandoned dirt trails:  10%
  • Singletrack flowy: 25%
  • Singletrack technical -- rocky and rooty: 3%
  • Hike-a-bike sections and dangerous technical descents:  0.1%

Setting up your bike so it handles all this terrain and 30+ lbs of gear is not simple.  Here are some steps toward optimizing your bike for the weekend ahead.

The most balanced and durable bike setup for the Nomad rid is likely to include the following:

Tire Choice 

Weather and trail conditions will affect the ideal choice for the Ride.  Route diversity shows that you'll want to have 25c slicks on some paved sections and 2.5" mountain tires on some of the rooty singletrack sections.  However, since you'll be riding only one set of tires, we expect the following type of tire will be the most versatile and durable:

  • Tire Size:  30c minimum.  40c will be popular.  Bigger than about 43c will make the paved sections seem longer.  It really depends a lot on your riding skill set; as an example, a skilled mountain biker can get away with narrow tires, maybe a 28c to 33c semi knobby, on this route.  For those that spend more time on the road, and are not as technically comfortable, a wider tire 33c to 40c knobby – that provides control, flat protection, and grip – will be well worth the trade-off relative to a narrower tire’s road speed.
  • Tire Tread:  Definitely something.  Knobbies or filetread at least.  A tire that has a bit of a center ridge – for road speed – and knobs on the sides – for offroad control – is the tire that we’ll be riding.  The Clement MSO 40c is a good example of this style of tire.  As stated above, there are some mountain bike trails and some great paved sections on the route.  In the end, you want a tire that works in both extremes – tailored toward being more beneficial to your weakness as a rider.
  • Tire Pressure:  Of course, as with everything, personal preference is the rule.  We recommend riding within about 10-20% of maximum air pressure recommended by the tire manufacturer.  This is primarily because you're carrying bikepacking gear so your bike will be heavier than typcial.  This higher pressure will also help you avoid flats, and you’ll roll faster on the road.  Getting a flat when you’re 50-miles into the ride can be a really frustrating thing.  While your bike will ride a bit stiffer, most people with which we ride tend to trade that for reducing the chance of a flat.

Gearing Setup

A lot of riders are likely to use compact chainrings in the front:  50-34t.  For the rear cassette, we like low gears for grinding up the steep singletrack so we're riding 12-32t cassettes.  There are a few moments on the route that reach a 10+ percent grade, or more, on dirt; these sections are very short, but a 1:1 gear ratio might be appreciated.

One-by systems are becoming more and more popular on OBC rides.  For this ride, a 1x setup will work well because it's bikepacking for having higher gears for fast road sections is less important.

Handlebar Type

Drop bars will be more comfortable on the road sections.  Also, the additional hand positions afforded by drops will be welcome in the fifth hour of the ride.  

If you like to use a 'sweetroll' style bag for bikepacking, some of them work well with drop bars but, in general, we find that rolls work better with flat bars rather than drop bars.

Pedal System

Clipless pedals are required, not just recommended.  If you don't ride clipless you're going to have a very difficult time on this ride.

Sometimes people ask about using road pedals and shoe versus mountain bike shoes and pedals.  We strongly recommend offroad shoes; the trails are tough on road cleats.  Also, since this is a multiday -- and all day -- ride, road shoes are not much fun to walk around in.

Durability

If you don't do long mixed-terrain rides very often, you may be surprised at how tough the trails can be on your bike.  Make sure of the following:

  • Tires are in excellent condition with no cuts or chunks missing -- and with plenty of tread life
  • Brake-pad wear is minimal
  • Cables aren't frayed or binding
  • All bolts are properly tight
  • Chain is reasonable new and oiled - and then wiped dry.  
  • Basically, make sure your bike is tuned-up really well.  It's embarrassing to have something fall off your bike or end your ride early.

That covers the primary aspects of the bikes.  Regarding all the other elements – brake type, wheel choice, mudguards or no – we don’t have strong opinions.  However, please contact us with any specific component questions.

What does your bikepacking setup look like?

We look forward to seeing you on the Nomad ride!

Dusk to Dawn Ride: BORRAX Approved

This Year's Dusk to Dawn Ride has made the list of BORRAX Qualifying Events.  In fact, we're honored to be the first listed event of the season.  We're humbled to be in the excellent company of great rides including D2R2, the Irreverent Road Ride, the Pemi-Baker Adventure Ronde, and four others.

The B & Off Road Randonneur Exemplar award recognizes "cyclists who challenge themselves to do hard things, specifically to finish the long dirt road cycling courses in New England."  Developed by Carl Ring -- of Pemi-Baker Adventure Ronde fame -- the BORRAX requires that riders complete at least four of the seven events in the challenging series.

Get the series started off right by registering for the Dusk to Dawn Ride on June 24 and 25.  We think the D2D is the most unusual ride of the series and a great way to begin the BORRAX season!  Why is Dutodari unusual when compared to the other rides on the list?  Here are a few reasons:

  • Riding all night
  • 85% of the dirt is singletrack rather than dirt roads
  • Average time per mile; most riders will complete the 90-miles in about 9-12 hours.  There's a 60-mile version, too.
  • 3:00 am fire and barbecue dinner -- really dinfast or brinner depending on when you arrive at the fire stop
  • Lots of onroute support -- and sag wagon available.  Push your limits in a safe environment.

Join us on the D2D -- sign up as a team or ride indy -- you won't regret it.  And you'll learn something about yourself -- and what it takes to earn the BORRAX Award!

As a special offer to D2D registrants, the first 10 riders that sign up for the BORRAX get $10 off registration for the Pemi-Baker Adventure Ronde!

Learn more about the BORRAX Award at Pedaling Squares

Why We Ride Dusk to Dawn: Evening Sounds

"Shhhh.  You hear that?"

It didn't need to be said; we hear it.  The frogs.  They're making a racket.  They always seem to after the sun goes down.  They're in the distance so we can hear non-frog communications, too.

We just rolled out of the wooded trail into an unkempt grassy field.  We four, on the Dusk to Dawn ride.  We've stopped to take in the visual.  A partial moon low in the sky, the moonbeams show the rough treeline in the distance.  The sky is cloudy and that makes the landscape glow.  But what's most consuming, right now, are the sounds.

The tall grass whispers to us that there's a slight breeze tonight.  The air feels good and smells of summer.  This all calms the scene.

It's so quiet we can hear critters slowly eating the fallen leaves.  So much life, hidden from our eyes -- but not our ears.

A teammate's slightly labored breathing rises in the soundscape.  We had been picking up the pace because the Dutodari dinner-breakfast is calling to us.  It's only about four miles away; we can almost smell the burgers.  The growling of someone's stomach gets our group to chuckle, breaking the evening trance.

We stop ourselves, and listen to the almost silence once more.  The call of promised food is too strong.  It's time to roll through the next dirt sector.  Onward to the Dusk to Dawn meal.

We look forward to seeing everyone there.

This is why we ride.

Manehan Weather is Always Perfect

Since most of our bike rides are mixed-terrain weather is a concern. OBC is always careful about protecting the trails in wet weather.  We don't want our rides to get rained out but sometimes, like the OBC Diverged Ride this year, it happens and we're forced to reschedule.

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For this weekend's Maneha 250, the weather looks awesome.  High 60's and clear -- no plans for rain.  However...

If we do find any weather, the Manehan Road route is rideable in any conditions.  Before you say, "I didn't sign up for a road ride."  We guarantee that you'll see plenty of amazing dirt on the Manehan Road Route.  We're really excited about how it's come together.  Lots of varied dirt roads and some very memorable terrain.  The difference between the mixed-terrain and the road route is that the roads are not protected or sensitive to water. 

Register.  We promise that you won't be disappointed.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend for the ride of the year.