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Turkey Afterburner | November 2020

We’re thrilled to once again serve as the venue for the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA)—Southeastern Massachusetts Chapter’s annual Turkey Afterburner.

This tradition typically brings the area’s most passionate mountain bikers together for a post-Thanksgiving ride. But due to current health and safety protocols, it’s going to look a little different this year: Instead of gathering for a one-day event, riders will celebrate the sport and support Hale’s youth programs throughout the entire month of November.

All riders are required to comply with Hale’s Visitor Guidelines and COVID-19 Policy. Hale’s trails are multi-use; please be mindful of people who are walking and hiking. Also note that Hale programs continue to operate, particularly during business hours on weekdays. Kindly avoid program areas during those times and remember to walk bikes through parking lots and other heavily trafficked spaces (including fields and trails near Powissett Lodge, Cat Rock, Trading Post, and the Simches Family Center).

Routes

Kids (Short)
Kids (Long)
Intermediate (Flow)
Advanced Intermediate (Mixed Bag)
Expert (Super Technical)

A Word from SEMASS NEMBA

Hale’s expansive trail network allowed us to identify five fun routes for mountain bikers of all ages and abilities. We found quite a few new twists and turns. There’s a short route and a long route for kids; a flowy route for intermediate riders who don’t like tech; and a “mixed bag” route for advanced intermediates who like to mix flowy single track with a little tech. There’s also a super technical route for experts. Riders are sure to have a great time, and they’ll feel good about supporting a local nonprofit that’s working hard to steward land and offer creative outdoor academic and recreational programs amidst the pandemic.

Founded in 1918, Hale is a private, nonprofit education organization that manages 1,137 acres of adventure in Westwood and Dover, Massachusetts. Its flagship programs include Hale Day Camp, Hale Summer Club, School & Professional Programs, Hale Outdoor Learning Adventures, and Intrepid Academy at Hale. Currently, Hale is also offering a Remote Learning Program for students from Westwood Public Schools and a variety of Youth Clubs for children and teens throughout Greater Boston.

Hale has deep roots in the mountain biking community. Its Oak Hill trail network was specifically designed for the sport and offers a variety of steeps, sends, and shortcuts. A new pump track and jump line near Hale Day Camp offers kids an amazing introduction to MTB. And with 20 miles of trails that crisscross every corner of its expansive property, there’s no shortage of terrain for riders of all ages and abilities.

All proceeds from this event will support Hale’s property and programs.

When and Where

When: November 1–30, 2020

Address: 80 Carby Street, Westwood, MA 02090

Parking: Cat Rock Parking Area

Cost

There is no registration fee but Hale’s daily parking fee is $10 per vehicle (you may pre-pay this fee online or upon arrival). But rather than pay a parking fee, we encourage everyone to make a donation to Hale. A gift of $10 or more confers one day of complimentary parking, but more importantly, it helps Hale maintain trails we use and programs that inspire and educate the next generation of MTBers.

Routes

All routes start from the Cat Rock parking area, which is the first major parking area you’ll pass and is roughly half a mile from the main entrance. We recommend riding the routes in one direction only.

Please note that Hale programs continue to operate, particularly during business hours on weekdays. Kindly avoid program areas during those times and remember to walk bikes through parking lots and other heavily trafficked spaces (including fields and trails near Powissett Lodge, Cat Rock, Trading Post, and the Simches Family Center).

You can access the routes three different ways:

  • Trailforks.com or app. From November 1–30, visit trailforks.com/event/4908/ or search for the SEMASS NEMBA 2020 Turkey Afterburner. On a phone, select Events on the upper-left drop-down menu and select SEMASS NEMBA 2020 Turkey Afterburner. The event description contains links to the routes. When you follow a Trailforks route the GPS needs to be manually centered every time you look at the map, but all trails in the area are displayed in addition to the route.
  • Strava.com or app. From November 1–30, join the SEMASS NEMBA Turkey Afterburner Strava Club at strava.com/clubs/753796. There are five events in the club that represent each of the five routes. On your phone, select the club, the event in the club, view the route from the event, and “Use Route” to follow the route on Strava. When you follow a Strava route, your GPS track stays centered on your screen but only provides the trails on the route. You don’t see the other trails in the park.
  • Print a paper map. One for each route is available for download: Kid (Short), Kid (Long), Intermediate (Flow), Advanced Intermediate (Mixed Bag), Expert (Super Technical). We also recommend downloading a map of Hale for general reference.

Sponsors

Please visit our tremendously supportive sponsors’ websites:

Registration

Hale stewards 1,137 acres that include a skills park and more than 20 miles of trails. It also operates youth mountain biking programs that serve hundreds of young riders. To support these efforts, parking requires payment of a $10 daily parking fee or purchase of a $75 annual parking permit.

We encourage all riders to consider making gifts to help steward Hale’s trails and support its programs. Any gift of $10 or more confers complimentary parking for one day—simply show your gift receipt to the front gate attendant on whatever date you plan to ride.

FAQ

Is this a race?
No, this is not a race. This is a fun ride for small groups and family members. Ride safely, have fun, enjoy the property, and don’t try to hammer the entire course.
Are there arrows or directional signage?
No, you need to be able to navigate the course with your phone or a printed map.
How large of a group can I ride with?
Groups should not exceed 6 riders. All riders must maintain physical distance and use masks when passing people on trails.
Where do I park?
All routes start from the Cat Rock parking area. Click here to download a map of Hale.
When is Hale open?
Hale is open daily from 8 AM until 4:30 PM in November.
Do I need to wear a mask to ride?
You should have a mask ready for use at any time but do not need to cover your face when riding at a safe physical distance from others. Please cover your face when you pass others or stop to take a break.
How technical is the Expert Route?
It’s super hard. You need to be fit, skilled, and able to ride tough terrain in a variety of conditions. Can you climb a steep section of trail that includes a rock garden, ride up and over a portion of a rock wall, over an 18-inch ledge step-up, bunny hop higher than a foot, across some elevated rock armoring, down a steep 6-foot rock face, and repeat that continuously? Unless your answer is a resounding “Yes!” this route is not for you.
How difficult is the Intermediate Route?
It’s 8 miles and is suited to average intermediate riders with good conditioning. Terrain varies and most of it includes decent single track—but as with any long route, it’s nearly impossible to avoid some punchy climbs and technical features. The intermediate route does include a 50-foot hike-a-bike section, but you’ll be back on the bike before you know it. If you are not comfortable with any terrain or feature, walk that section. A wise person once said, “Every mountain biker comes with a hiker.”
Can young kids ride the Kid Routes?
The Kid Routes are on actual mountain biking trails that have hills, climbs, and rocks—these are not carriage trails, and they require real mountain bikes. Most of the trails are rated green but there are somewhat steep climbs and descents that require caution. They are also 2–4 miles long, so expect to spend an hour or more riding if you ride slowly.
Can I ride more than once?
You can ride as many times as you like during a single visit. Multiple visits require multiple registrations.
Are other users out and about?
Yes, Hale is a favorite among hikers, dog walkers, and even a few equestrians. Hale programs that serve children and teens are also regularly underway. You must yield to them and ride in control at all times.
Will there be SEMASS representatives or ambassadors on the trails?
No, this is a self-guided ride. If you have general questions, our Chapter Contact is Steve Cobble and you can reach him at 781-254-8796 or cobblestv@gmail.com. If you get into trouble on your ride, call 911.
Is food or water available on the routes?
No, this is not a supported ride. Due to the pandemic, there are no bathrooms available to the public, either.
Given the pandemic, is it safe to ride at Hale?
Hale is doing its best to provide a clean and safe environment. A COVID-19 Policy remains in effect to protect visitors, program participants, and staff members and to adhere to state and federal guidance to prevent spread of the virus. That said, this event is not staffed or supported by Hale. Please use good judgment. Wear a mask, maintain physical distance, and refrain from touching surfaces.
What if I get lost?
Download a map of Hale before you go and consult Trailforks or Strava if you have reception. If you get lost, backtrack and try to get back on course. Carby Street runs throughout Hale, so there’s a good chance you’ll cross it. Dover Road runs east to west (separating the northern and southern portions of Hale) and power lines run north to south. If you see someone, don’t hesitate to ask for directions. If it’s getting dark and you are truly lost, call 911.
What is your refund policy?
We are unable to refund parking fees and donations.
Where can I go for a brew afterward?
On weekends, we highly recommend Castle Island’s brewery in Norwood. Castle Island Brewing Co. supports SEMASS NEMBA.