Is the Formidable Pavé Ride the Toughest Ride?

The question of the day is, "how can Overland boast that the Formidable is the toughtest ride in Massachetts?"  Good question.  And it is a bit of a bold statement that is out of character with Overland.  But, that's what we wanted to create with this project -- the toughest one-day event possible.  We'd had requests for an event like this, and it felt like a good challenge.

So, how do we define the parameters?  For this challenge, it was faily simple.  We could think of only a few restrictions:

  1. Location:  Within the borders of Massachusetts.
  2. Terrain Type:  100% pavement.
  3. Time-Frame:  Single day ride.
  4. Structured, legal, and safe:  Organized, supported, sanctioned, and insured.

Given these parameters, why do we think we've created the toughest ride?

  • Distance:  This is typically the first measuring stick for toughness.  The full Formidable is 163 miles.  There is only one other single day ride we know that's longer:  the NER 300k ride that is 193 miles.  So, the NER ride is 18% longer.
  • Total Ascent:  We offer just over 10,200 feet of climbing for the Full Formidable.  The NER 300k has 11,000 feet of climbing.  So the NER ride does have 10% more total feet, and that is tougher for sure.  
  • Climbing Per Mile:  The Formidable averages 61 feet per mile.  The 300k NER ride averages 58 feet per mile.  This means the Formidable provides 5% tougher climbing per mile.  We believe that more flatter miles is easier than fewer steeper miles.  Of course, that's a bit of a subjective measure.
  • Cutoff Time:  We have a minimum pace requirement.  Randonneur rides -- like the NER rides -- have cutoff times, too, but the Formidable's is a much higher pace; about 25% tougher than the NER 300k.
  • Timed Segment Challenges:  In order to keep the pressure on, we have segments throughout the ride that we've designed to crack those riders that push during those segments.  
  • Point-to-Point:  You can't really bail during this ride.  Once you've passed the half-way point it's "easier" to finish than to head home.  Of course, we do have a support vehicle that most randonneur rides don't, but that's doesn't take much pressure off.

To summarize, although there is one ride in Massachusetts that is a bit longer with a bit more climbing, the Formidable requires a much faster sustained pace, you have to be committed to completing pretty early in the ride, and we're pushing people to ride segments at hard pace.

We think we've created the toughest ride.  Join us and find out for yourself.

Of course, we've probably missed a tough ride or two.  What ride in Massachusetts do you think is toughest?