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Old 05-25-05, 09:01 PM   #1
Road Runner
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What would be your "Best" Century ride?

Being that I live in one of the best places on earth(IMO) to ride, and our club is just getting started, I need help from anyone who rides Centurys and Charity rides. When we design a ride, some of us try to make the ride the very most difficult ride possible. I think that we should have a course that will allow one to live, and ride again. We have Lookout mt. to travel up and down, and the valley can be challenging and undulating. We have country roads that will match any cobble stone section of any race, and unguarded wooden, one lane bridges, that can be ridden, although some may wish to carry their bikes across(40 ft.). What makes a "good" ride for most people? I think our 30mi. should be very enjoyable, and easy, 62mi. some what challenging, and the 100mi., something that people enjoy, can tell others about, test their abilitys, to a limit. All routes should be unique, safe (most important) to riders and bikes. What things do riders like and dislike in a ride? (DID NOT KNOW WHERE TO POST THIS, HELP) Thanks for any replys.
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Old 05-26-05, 06:08 AM   #2
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Around here, what brings people back for event rides, besides the charitable functions, are generally two things: good support and scenic routes.

These are my necessities: Well-marked routes, with painted road-markers sufficiently in advance of turns to give adequate warning, and confirming markers after turns and at potentially confusing intersections. (In my experience, cue sheets are not alone sufficient: stronger riders rely on the painted marks, not the cue sheet, which I, with my aging eyesight, can't read while cycling anyway). Adequate and appropriate supplies at the rest stops, including solid food (bagels, PBJ); one local club offers only water and bananas, another only sugary items; several years ago, on a century in hot, humid weather, the last rest stop had run out of water when we arrived there. Ice to keep the water or power drink chilled.

Beyond the necessities, here are my amenities. If you have SAG support, it's nice to see the vehicle go by once or twice, just for reassurance, or print the emergency phone number on the cue sheet. Post-ride refreshments. Enough volunteers to allow the registration/check-in procedure to go guickly. A LBS that volunteers to set up "shop" for that last-minute mechanical problem.

Beyond the amenities are the frivolities, like little mementoes--cue sheet clips, water bottles, t-shirts.

My dislikes: mass starts, poorly-marked routes, and music at ride's end. After I've just spent the day cycling through lovely scenery, listening to the quiet, to my tires humming, to my heart beating (and to my gasping for breath on the climbs!), the last thing I need is to have the serenity broken by loud music.

I think your breakdown of the three rides is right on.
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Old 05-26-05, 06:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by lrzipris
After I've just spent the day cycling through lovely scenery, listening to the quiet, to my tires humming, to my heart beating (and to my gasping for breath on the climbs!), the last thing I need is to have the serenity broken by loud music.
Let me second that. I did a ride a few years ago where, during the post ride dinner on the first day, the organizers had a guy playing his guitar and singing. He was a talented young man but we couldn't carry on a conversation over the music.

On the other hand, I did BRAG several years ago and there was musical entertainment in the evening. You could choose to go listen to the Swinging Medallions singing Double Shot of My Baby's Love or you could stay away. (It was actually a pretty good show.) Noone was forced to get into the conga line that ensued during the show. Thank goodness we were not forced to listen to the Vidalia, Georgia Onion Queen sing her patriotic medley after riding 70 miles in the Georgia summer heat.
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Old 05-26-05, 04:07 PM   #4
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Yes, Yes, Yes ... well marked routes and rest stops w/cold water and preferably porta potties or some sort of facility which will be welcome to the recreational family riders and women who usually prefer not to squat in the poison ivy. If there will be no facilities - say so on the cue sheet and mark off ie: "@ mile 28, Dunkin Donuts or Convenience Store on right". This gives riders an idea of where they can stop to do their thing or buy their favorite snacks.

Depending on what time of year you plan your events - I have found some foodstuff to be a real hit with cyclists and is rather inexpensive to provide. My favorite is on the fall centuries when it is friggin' cold and I get to a rest stop that has portable BBQ grills with piping hot baked potatoes wrapped in tin foil, resting on the hot coals. MMmmmMMmmmM mMMmmMM. In the summer, simple slices of Oranges and Watermelon are awesome. Of course, as already mentioned by others, PBJ's and bagels are good.

One other thing for the route marking... If the cyclists are going to be on the same road for a LONG time, "confidence arrows" are nice to see once in a while just to know that you are still on course. Too many times, riders stop and study their cue sheet or circle back thinking that they missed a turn.

Last one - promise. Make sure that there is a working floor pump at each rest stop so that cyclists who may of had a flat (sorry, didn't mean to use the "f" word) can top off their hoops.
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Old 05-26-05, 07:18 PM   #5
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Spindog reminded me of several additional comments.

A nice touch is a cannister of sani-wipes at each rest stop, for cleaning your hands after using the porta-potty or eating the orange slices.

And another thing I've always found to be a good idea: have your SAG vehicles carry floor pumps (people who have repaired a flat may want or need to "top up" and make sure they have adequate tire pressure) and 1-2 of those large (10 gallon?) drinking water containers for riders who need to replenish between rest stops.
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Old 05-26-05, 08:39 PM   #6
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Check out this site:

http://www.bikecenturies.com/

Maybe there's already one in your area.


Oh, and NO really rough (i.e. cobbled) or gravel roads.
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Old 05-27-05, 08:57 PM   #7
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Many thanks to all of you, I take all of these suggestions to heart, and will work hard to produce a very safe and enjoyable ride. I didn't hear much about what you expected in the way of intensity. Is it all that important that you go home with your tongues hanging out, or would you rather consecrate on a ride that leaves you tested, but not wasted. Thanks again for all your advise.
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Old 05-28-05, 06:04 PM   #8
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Many thanks to all of you, I take all of these suggestions to heart, and will work hard to produce a very safe and enjoyable ride. I didn't hear much about what you expected in the way of intensity. Is it all that important that you go home with your tongues hanging out, or would you rather consecrate on a ride that leaves you tested, but not wasted. Thanks again for all your advise.
Road Runner: I tend to cycle at least one century every weekend from mid May until early October or whenever the weather really starts to get too cold (or roads dangerously covered w/wet leaves, etc).

I enjoy to ride. It's that simple. Sometimes I really appreciate a flat ride (especially early season) just to work on endurance and being able to hammer the flats if I want to. After I have cycled a few centuries, I will drive from CT to the mountains in VT or wherever, specifically to challenge myself with the mountain centuries and push my limits.

I really think that a good rolling, moderate ride is the safest route to plan. If the shorter rides are the least challenging and the longer routes are more challenging, everyone should be happy and it will allow all levels to participate.

One thing that I don't care for regarding some of the centuries that I've cycled, is when the first 50-60 miles are relatively flat and easy going and they are ridiculously "hill heavy" at the end. A great set up is when the ride options include distances such as 25-50-62-100 routes. The 100 could just simply be a separate and more challenging extension (38 mile loop) that takes off and then rejoins with the metric century. This gives riders who are feeling strong the option of riding with their buddies and then splitting off for the extra challenge and distance or it allows those who may feel toasted, an option to bail out sooner.

Sorry for the long response, but the type of route you offer really depends on what type of riders or how many riders you are looking to attract. I don't know how many century rides are already in your area and what types of terrain they offer. Everybody can cycle "easy" but not everybody can or wants to cycle hard. On the other hand-if you offer a super challenging route and advertise it as such, you will attract a smaller group, but some great hard core cyclists who specifically want that. A great thing to do after your first annual ride is do a ride questionaire (mail or e-mail) looking for the good, the bad, and the ugly evaluations of the ride - what people liked, what they didn't like, and so on.
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Old 05-28-05, 07:34 PM   #9
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Just a few suggestions. Make all rides start and finish at the same place. Point to point rides are logistically tough. Keep the century ride reasonable, a nice mix of flats, rollers and moderate climbs but no more than 6000ft of vertical. That way it can be a challenge to ride fast but it won't leave anyone behind. Sunscreen is a nice item to offer at the sags. From the halfway point on of the century have at least one salty food item at the rest stops. It can be something simple like potato chips.
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Old 05-29-05, 11:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Road Runner
Many thanks to all of you, I take all of these suggestions to heart, and will work hard to produce a very safe and enjoyable ride. I didn't hear much about what you expected in the way of intensity. Is it all that important that you go home with your tongues hanging out, or would you rather consecrate on a ride that leaves you tested, but not wasted. Thanks again for all your advise.
This is a more complicated question to tackle, as the "answer" is "it depends." One club here offers a ride with several mileage options, where the 2-3 longest routes include an ICU, Intensive Climbing Unit, option, which allows riders to choose, mid-route, to get fried or not. Another offers a lot of mileage options--too many, in my view--so riders can choose among those. But, overall, I'd rather be tested than wasted, but what wastes me may be a mere bump in the road for someone stronger, for whom my test is a mere warm-up.

Ask riders to take a short survey when they're done, commenting on the various aspects of the ride, for next year. And ask the volunteers to listen (even if they disagree), so you can collect comments and see where problems existed.

Oh, and good luck, have a great event. I really enjoy outings, as they give me the chance to cycle in different surroundings and see some new sights.
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