Northern California - Good local/semi-local centuries for beginners
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04-22-09, 04:24 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions for a good 'beginners' century in CA? For my wedding gift, my wife said she would do the event of my choice with me. I was thinking of maybe doing the Maui or Honolulu marathon, but I know she enjoys cycling more than running. The longest ride under our belts so far is 50 miles, but I'm sure we can handle more.
We would probably want a century that doesn't have more than a couple thousand feet of climbing total. I've heard good things about the Lighthouse Century in SLO. The Wine Country Century also looks pretty good, the Marin Century is close but looks like a lot of climbing.
04-22-09, 05:17 PM
Lodi century or metric century. Century has ~2000' of climbing, the metric century cuts most of the climbing out.
The Delta Century on May 3 is flat. http://www.sbclub.org/sbc/delta_century.html
My wife and I are going to be there.
04-22-09, 05:37 PM
2000 feet of climbing is extremely flat for a 100 mile ride. You might have more fun with a 100k ride with a little more climbing.
My first metric was the Tour of Napa Valley last year. Really nice ride, only really one climb - Ink grade - which wasn't too steep, but did last 3-4miles or so. The whole 65miles was ~3000ft elevation I think. Fantastic scenery.
04-23-09, 08:21 AM
I'd like to tout the Lighthouse Century, put on by the San Luis Obispo Bicycling Club (www.slobc.org). You go up the coast to the lighthouse (pretty flat the whole way and beautiful scenery), then come back the same way. In the afternoon the wind is blowing from the north (usually) so it blows you back to the finish. I think it's one of the easiest, well-run, most scenic centuries around, and is often recommended for people try their first. It's in September.
04-23-09, 12:21 PM
Foxy's Fall Century in Davis is a nice, easy route. The 100km (metric century) is more or less pancake flat. According to the website, last year's 100mi century featured 2,000ft of climbing. I believe the event is usually held in October.
My wife and rode the 100km route last year and had a great time. The event is well organized and the route is very clearly marked. I didn't once need to look at the cue sheet. They even had volunteers marshalling the course at some of the more "confusing" turns.
04-23-09, 01:11 PM
Wine country century was really easy the time I rode it. But then again I race...
04-23-09, 01:41 PM
Tour de Cure in Napa is mostly flat and pretty easy. Nice scenery, great after ride choices for meals, tastings, etc.
The Tour of Napa Valley full century throws on Redwood Road at the beginning, a somewhat steep climb but very pretty. Ink Grade and Redwood Road are pretty doable if you ride hills regularly.
Foxy's Fall Century features a couple of sustained climbs but in general is pretty easy as long as the wind isn't blowing hard. The metric features two overpasses and a small hill. Can't get much easier than that in Northern California. This is my club's century.
I've heard good things about the Fall River Century.
I've not ridden it but am considering it for this year, if I can ever get in shape.
For double centuries, Seattle to Portland (STP) is as easy as it gets, with maybe 2000' of climbing over two hundred miles. It was my first century since we stopped in the middle and stayed the night then finished the next day. Not very local though.
04-23-09, 02:32 PM
For my wedding gift, my wife said she would do the event of my choice with me.
Just to state the obvious...
You are one lucky dude, or she is one great chick.
04-23-09, 05:47 PM
Thanks for the replies so far. You guys have definitely gave me a lot to choose from. I'm thinking of maybe doing a metric first before trying the full 100 miles just to get a taste of what it's like riding in an organized event.
I need to start working on hills again. I did try Redwood Road from Castro Valley once and made it about 6 miles in before turning around (had to stop a few times). However, it was probably a month or two after I started riding again and I was on my commuter folding bike. I think I probably could do better now :).
SesameCrunch: Thanks! She had told me that my gift "was not tangible" and I really had no idea what it was until she told me.
04-23-09, 09:00 PM
The important thing to remember about the Tour of Napa Valley is that they have a pretty nice lunch. Ink Grade starts, ohhhhhhhhhhhh, maybe a mile after lunch.:innocent:
04-26-09, 11:04 AM
I might be bias, but in my opinion the best century ride in California is the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle (www.BestBuddiesChallenge.org (http://www.bestbuddieschallenge.org)) from Carmel to San Simeon, CA via the Pacific Coast Highway on September 12.
Our event has four distance options: 100, 62, 35 or 15 miles. But what really separates our ride from others is the VIP treatment all of our riders get. For instance, when you cross the finish line, you'll pick up your VIP gift bag (valued over $100), grab a hot shower, enjoy a professional massage and then we take you up to the Hearst Ranch for a gourmet BBQ and private concert (last year the Black Eyed Peas performed... this year's band is still TBD).
Best of all, the event benefits Best Buddies (http://www.bestbuddies.org), a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for friendships and jobs to individuals with intellectual disabilities. And with Audi underwriting the cost of the event, including all the rider perks, every dollar riders raise goes directly to our organization. So it's a win-win situation for both our riders and our organization.
Well, I hope you consider signing up for our event. I guarantee our event will be a wedding gift you’ll never forget.
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