NEW YORK–MONTRÉAL–NEW YORK 1200K
Boston-Montreal-Boston (BMB) was the first North American 1200 km brevet, founded in 1988 and run every non-PBP year. When it was announced that BMB would no longer be run after 2006, Laurent Chambard, the RBA of New Jersey Randonneurs at the time who had finished BMB twice, came up with the idea for a 1200 km brevet that would also go up to the vicinity of Montreal, but would start and end in the vicinity of NYC rather than Boston. We are very glad to announce that in August 2020 this idea will finally come to fruition.
BMB, at least in its latest versions, started in a suburb west of Boston and turned around in Huntingdon, 47 miles southwest of Montreal. Similarly, the name of our ride, New York-Montreal-New York, does not accurately describe the geography of the route, but rather the spirit in which it was designed. In order to minimize urban riding, maximize scenery, and not exceed 1200 km by very much, the ride begins and ends in Paramus, a New Jersey suburb 13 miles northwest of Manhattan, and turns around in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a city 25 miles southeast of Montreal.
In some ways, this ride resembles more recent American 1200 km brevets rather than BMB. First, the field limit is considerably smaller than it was for BMB. Second, sleep stops are at designated motels (included in the entry fee), with two riders sharing each room. Third, riding through the night is discouraged. Fourth, it is not an out-and-back route, but a loop, with only about 25 miles of overlap between outbound and inbound routes. The outbound route is mainly through New York State and the inbound route is mainly through the New England states.
The ride passes through five states (in addition to crossing into Canada): New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Day 1 (209 miles)
Due to lodging constraints, this day is much shorter than the first day of the average 1200 km brevet. (On the positive side, this allows a later start, 6 a.m. instead of the usual 4 a.m.) You head northeast through the suburbs towards the Hudson River, which you’ll first encounter in Haverstraw. You’ll be riding parallel to the river, if not in sight of it, for most of the day. After crossing to the east side of the river over the Bear Mountain Bridge, you’ll spend most of the day on this side, going north through the Hudson Valley and the Capital District. 182 miles after your first glimpse of the Hudson, you’ll take leave of it in Glens Falls and finish at a motel near Lake George, at the southeast base of the Adirondack Mountains. There are no long climbs today, but the terrain is rolling and there are very few flat stretches.
Route map: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31256822
Day 2 (232 miles)
The day starts with a climb from Lake George into the Adirondack Mountains, and there is another big climb in the Adirondacks at mile 58, where you’ll reach the highest elevation of the ride, at 1671 feet above sea level. But after mile 100, the route leaves the mountains and the terrain becomes rather flat, and then very flat after reaching Lake Champlain at mile 134. Crossing the border north of Rouses Point, you’ll feel immediately that you’re in another country, with road signs now in French. The route continues north along the west side of the Richelieu River to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, where it crosses the river and heads down the east side. You cross the border into Vermont and then ride along Lake Champlain through Alburg, North Hero, and Grand Isle (which were also on the BMB route). The terrain becomes rolling for the last 10 miles to the sleep stop in Colchester. Although there are more miles today than on the other three days, there is considerably less climbing per mile. On the other hand, the flat roads through Quebec farmland and along Lake Champlain are quite open to the winds, and headwinds can be a challenge.
Route map: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31256833
Day 3 (168 miles)
After passing to the east of Burlington, you’ll ride south along the western edge of the Green Mountains, passing through charming towns and villages on the way, with many spectacular scenic views. One of the controls is a general store that is over 200 years old. At mile 120 of the day, there’s a 4-mile climb on a smooth dirt road from East Arlington to the day’s highest elevation (1476 feet), and then a paved 6-mile descent into Bennington. You’ll cross into Massachusetts, and pass to the west of Mt. Greylock and then through Williamstown on the way to the motel in Pittsfield. This day is the hilliest, in terms of elevation gain per mile. The terrain is mostly rolling, with several longer climbs.
Route map: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31256837
Day 4 (145 miles)
You’ll ride southwest from Pittsfield through the Berkshire Hills, passing through the towns of West Stockbridge and Great Barrington. Then you continue south through the Taconic Mountains into Connecticut and back into New York State. There’s a climb up to Fahnestock State Park, then a long descent to the Hudson River in Cold Spring. From there, you’ll retrace the route from the first day back to Haverstraw, and finally you’ll ride along the lakes of suburban New York and New Jersey to the finish. Most of the terrain today is gently rolling, punctuated by steep rollers and a few longer climbs.
Route map: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31256839