hastack-routeSo, yesterday was a beautiful day and Nate and I decided to ride the Haystack Permanent 100K route.

What’s a Permanent?  It’s a route, basically.  Technically speaking, it’s a official route, established by RUSA, which you can complete on your own (in contrast to a brevet, which happens on a certain day) in a certain time limit, for “credit” by RUSA.  You don’t win anything, but you can get a medal or earn points toward an award, or towards riding one of the major events such as Paris-Brest-Paris.  Here are some permanents in MA.  Read all about randonneuring on RUSA’s page.

Click on the picture above to check out (or download) the full route.  It is 100K (62 miles), with about 3200 feet of climbing The loop starts and ends at Ride Studio Café in Lexington.  RSC is about 10 miles from me, so our day was looking to be about 80 miles.

We cruised up to RSC from Cambridge on the Minuteman bike trail and then headed out from there.  Once you’re out of town, the terrain starts to roll right away.  There were no steep nor sustained climbs on this route, but it was consistently up and down.  The route wound through suburban neighborhoods, and past many farms (we definitely saw some horses and sheep).  The destination at about the halfway mark is the MIT Haystack Observatory.  According to Paolo…

It was pretty wild indeed.  Here’s what we saw.

The first sight on entering the observatory campus.  GIANT SPHERE.
The first sight on entering the observatory campus. GIANT SPHERE. The Westford Radio Telescope.
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Apparently this is the Millstone Hill Radar. Enormous, and kind of rusty.
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The climb up to the Haystack Radio Telescope and its awesome geodesic dome

There were many more sights along the route, it was really beautiful.  At 70 degrees and sunny, it was a great day to ride.  Unfortunately, Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Café, our potential lunch stop, had already closed down (seems it has actually moved to Woburn), so we had to settle for Subway and gas station convenience store food. We rode a very moderate, all-day pace.  Despite that, by the end, my legs were pretty spent and I REALLY wanted a beer.  Shower beer.  Mmmmm.

So, the Haystack 100K Permanent Populaire?  A+++ would ride again.  Maybe this is the start of Monster Truck Adventure Team…  Just kidding.