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Old 01-16-08, 02:10 PM   #1
telenick
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organized rides - the good, bad and ugly

Okay - before you go and start ragging on me about being sour grapes - take this for what it is. It's just a little pokin fun at what I see as absurd in an otherwise very fun activity.

I have come to find that for my tastes - large organized rides are such a mixed bag.

I do really like the comraderie of them. So many people are just plain stoked to be out with a few thousand of their best friends. It's actually possible to make a friend or two that will last beyond the end of the event.

I'm sorta luke warm on the aid stations. There are usually too many for my needs and the food options are sometimes bizarre but usually just sorta silly. I once did the Buena Vista Century and they served steak burritos at the 60 mile mark. That goes in the bizarre category. Yeah, I ate one - what the heck. Years ago I did the Copper Triangle with CO Heart Cycle ...they ran out of water about 50 miles into it at the Tennessee Pass station. That's just plain silly considering that the Copper Triangle is super easy to self support. Last year someone stole all the gel packs from each of the 6 aid stations from the TBP ride. That's probably about 15K worth of gel packs. Sounds like an episode straight from the Sopranos to me. Here's an exception ...One one leg of the Moab Skinny Tire Fest they served a Thai bowl. Now that was awesome. It was tasty and had good cycling ingredients for a 60 mile ride. Go figure, the Moab Skinny Tire Festival is a class act indeed. Although, I could understand if Thai isn't everyone's desire.

Bad behavior in mass groups of cyclists is a given. It's not every single moment from where I sit, but it is consistent to the point of being expected. Passing is the most commonly seen egregious behavior. When there are seven different speeds of cyclists in one spot - then sure enough there will be seven lanes each passing the slower one on their right (most of the time they at least will pass on the right - but not always.) I've also seen folks who will pass and slow down once they get in front of you. Then there's the passer who will cross his rear wheel into your front wheel. Hey it's to be expected when you put so many people in a room together. It's sorta like a general admission Rolling Stones concert but without the passing of the joint. Maybe that's what we need - a joint to pass. Oh, and I have to admit that I'm as guilty of the next guy. It's just simply part of the dynamic when there's a large mass of people of differing abilities. Kinda like traffic in Hong Kong - controlled chaos.

The money... the money is another ridiculous part of it. How ironic that we'd pony up a few hundred bucks to ride public roads with a few thousand other wingnuts. What's the money for? ....Ambulances and State Patrol - the two things I just rather avoid all together. Okay, I know that there's other stuff. But most rides I know are pretty easy to self support. So the other stuff is often superfluous.

All in all - it's sorta like a swarm of locusts. Kinda neat to experience.

Organized rides I like:

All Brevets
Santa Fe Century - < 20 bucks and off you go.
Moab Skinny Tire Festival - not cheap, but very, very well done. Are you listening TE?
Iron Horse Classic - Beat the train from Durango to Silverton. And they close the Million Dollar Highway to boot. Very, very cool.
Any organized ride that consists of hooking up with a few friends.

What are some of your favs?
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Old 01-16-08, 05:44 PM   #2
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I like the Santa Fe Century! It was fun and cheap!

I have officially banned myself from organized road rides this year. I'll be happy to ride with anyone in group rides for a long distance but, this girl is giving her money to mountain bike races
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Old 01-16-08, 06:45 PM   #3
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I heard bad BAD things about the Iron Horse last year. The people said they took some 6 bus loads of people off the mountain and didn't let them finish. The problem was the people felt the would have had plenty of time to finish but were forced to sag out anyway. Needless to say they are not participating this year.
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Old 01-16-08, 11:17 PM   #4
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The best one I ever did was the Sierra Fall Classic out of Mammoth, CA. 100 miles of pure loop - no little extra out-and-back thingies to make it 100. Not one place on the entire loop that you could have gotten water on your own. Not even a door to knock on. Not one stop sign, let alone red light. Incredible views of the sierra - Ritter/Banner, the Minarets, Mammoth - plus Mono Lake and plenty of high-desert sage. Maybe 5 cars the whole day.

And it's pretty hard (maybe 8K' climbing), and pretty far away from any big cities, so the participants were mostly skilled riders, well prepared, easy to ride with, and friendly.
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Old 01-17-08, 06:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by telenick View Post
Last year someone stole all the gel packs from each of the 6 aid stations from the TBP ride. That's probably about 15K worth of gel packs. Sounds like an episode straight from the Sopranos to me.

Moab Skinny Tire Festival - not cheap, but very, very well done. Are you listening TE?

What are some of your favs?
Hey -

Interesting post. I don't share all of your views, but I agree with some of them. I'm annoyed by what the TBP did this year with the waiting list shennanigans and all that.

I'm curious about what you said about the gel packs. I was able to obtain them at every aid station I went to, including the Vail Pass aid station. When were they stolen? Or did this happen before hand and they had to replace them? In any case, you can't really criticize TE for this as they can't really control someone stealing stuff from them...well they could, but I don't think you are supposed to shoot people for stealing gu.

I'd like to try the Moab ride, love that area of the country. However, what's not well done about the actual execution of the TBP? I found it to be well organized, the volunteers/workers were helpful, the aid stations well stocked, the route well marked, etc. I certainly agree that it's expensive, but you said Moab was/is too.

As far as favorites go, I had the time of my life on last year's Triple. Two years ago I did the Santa Cruz Cycling Club's Metric. That was a great ride - though the route was not at all well marked - almost 10k of climbing in 66 miles and they make them thar hills steep.

Just my two cents.

Hoff
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Old 01-17-08, 07:05 AM   #6
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Santa Fe Century - $18.00 this year!



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Old 01-17-08, 09:38 AM   #7
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I'm glad to hear good things about the Santa Fe century - been thinking about doing that one this year as well. Anyone done the Stonewall Century in LaVeta? I have a pamphlet from last year's ride and was thinking about doing it. Sounds interesting anyway. I think I'll be checking into that Moab ride as well.
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Old 01-17-08, 09:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
The best one I ever did was the Sierra Fall Classic out of Mammoth, CA. 100 miles of pure loop - no little extra out-and-back thingies to make it 100. Not one place on the entire loop that you could have gotten water on your own. Not even a door to knock on. Not one stop sign, let alone red light. Incredible views of the sierra - Ritter/Banner, the Minarets, Mammoth - plus Mono Lake and plenty of high-desert sage. Maybe 5 cars the whole day.

And it's pretty hard (maybe 8K' climbing), and pretty far away from any big cities, so the participants were mostly skilled riders, well prepared, easy to ride with, and friendly.
That does sound great.
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Old 01-17-08, 09:40 AM   #9
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Hey -

Two years ago I did the Santa Cruz Cycling Club's Metric. That was a great ride - though the route was not at all well marked - almost 10k of climbing in 66 miles and they make them thar hills steep.

Just my two cents.

Hoff
Is that along the CA coast?
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Old 01-17-08, 09:51 AM   #10
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Is that along the CA coast?
Oh, I've done that one too - didn't mention it as I didn't do the century version, only the metric. Those are my ex-home roads. Sigh.

It's in the Santa Cruz Mountains, just a few miles from the coast. Santa Cruz is awesome for road riding - sea level to 2500' about 10 different ways on teeny little roads lined with redwoods and no cars, and then every once in a while you come out of the trees and see a huge vista down to the ocean. Unless it's June, and then you just see the top of the fog bank.
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Old 01-17-08, 10:14 AM   #11
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I have been wanting to try one out of state. The santa fe century seems like a good one.
I have only ridden elephant rock and it seemed fine. At least I enjoyed it. However, pwnt won't stop complaining about my riding skillz.
Being that I have a very limited experience with organized group rides, I have no idea if it will stay that way.
The century did seem a tad easier than I expected for my first century.

My favorite ride last year was with pwnt, bm, valygrl, and club hypoxia. Boulder to estes.
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Old 01-17-08, 10:38 AM   #12
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My favorite ride last year was with pwnt, bm, valygrl, and club hypoxia. Boulder to estes.
Club Hypoxia is hosting the Bikejournal reunion this year... 4 days of AWESOME rides in August. You should come!
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Old 01-17-08, 10:40 AM   #13
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I'm curious about what you said about the gel packs. I was able to obtain them at every aid station I went to, including the Vail Pass aid station. When were they stolen? Or did this happen before hand and they had to replace them? In any case, you can't really criticize TE for this as they can't really control someone stealing stuff from them...well they could, but I don't think you are supposed to shoot people for stealing gu.
The gel packs weren't stolen so much as the early riders got greedy. I didn't see a single gel pack the whole ride.

I could have used them, too... as sick as I was it was about the only thing I could have kept down. I'll be better stocked and less broke this year when I ride. (And less sick, too!)
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Old 01-17-08, 10:45 AM   #14
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Club Hypoxia is hosting the Bikejournal reunion this year... 4 days of AWESOME rides in August. You should come!
Hell yes!

..and more! This is going to be a fun year.
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Old 01-17-08, 11:37 AM   #15
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Oh, I've done that one too - didn't mention it as I didn't do the century version, only the metric. Those are my ex-home roads. Sigh.

It's in the Santa Cruz Mountains, just a few miles from the coast. Santa Cruz is awesome for road riding - sea level to 2500' about 10 different ways on teeny little roads lined with redwoods and no cars, and then every once in a while you come out of the trees and see a huge vista down to the ocean. Unless it's June, and then you just see the top of the fog bank.
Yeah that does sound great. I've seen some of the posts from the SoCal and NoCal riders and am very interested in any rides that may go along the coast. Only been there once - drove the coast from SF to Bodega Bay and loved it. Had gorgeous weather the whole time - which I've heard is rare for March - usually foggy?
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Old 01-17-08, 01:02 PM   #16
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I didn't mean to make a big deal about the gel packs. I was told at Squaw Pass by a volunteer that there was an early morning heist at every aid station. That's all I know.
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Old 01-17-08, 11:02 PM   #17
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I tend to find rides of 300-500 are the ideal number and a lot of the problems of 2000 rider rides disappear

CANDISC (ND) $130 (last yr) for a week!
TRIRI (IN) you stay in state parks
Tour d- Wyoming havent been on this ride but they have sold out in 20-30 min last 2 yrs so they must be doing something right

i am considering BRAN (NE) or bike kansas if anyone has any comments


denver bike touring club is offering 2008 rides to Tucson, AZ and door county . wi www.dbtc.org
i did rides with them i enjoyed to san juan islands, santa fe/taos and tetons
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Old 01-21-08, 11:12 AM   #18
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What are the climbs like on the Santa Fe Century? I looked at the description and it was rather vague. I'm interested in doing it but I"m not a huge fan of big-bad climbs.
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Old 01-21-08, 01:31 PM   #19
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What are the climbs like on the Santa Fe Century? I looked at the description and it was rather vague. I'm interested in doing it but I"m not a huge fan of big-bad climbs.
Definitely not a big climbing century. I believe it is rated as moderate. One 1/2 mile "heartbreak"hill that is quite steep (maybe 50% walk it) and some other climbing, but it is a reasonable ride.

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Old 01-22-08, 11:44 AM   #20
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I tend to find rides of 300-500 are the ideal number
I so very much agree with you on this. Kinda like tiny venues for musical acts - very intimate.

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What are the climbs like on the Santa Fe Century?
Not hilly at all - if you ride it counter clockwise... kinda rolly for the first 30 miles - then a very short steep hill - then really flat. The SFC strategy is more about starting early to beat the afternoon wind and rain/hail storms and having plenty of time to sip super fine (pure agave) tequila at Marias.

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Old 01-22-08, 11:59 AM   #21
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Here is one pic of the SFC from many years ago. There are more at the link below. I like to leave EARLY!! Hey, I was only 61 years old then.



More pictures of the Santa Fe Century

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Old 01-22-08, 04:51 PM   #22
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I heard bad BAD things about the Iron Horse last year. The people said they took some 6 bus loads of people off the mountain and didn't let them finish. The problem was the people felt the would have had plenty of time to finish but were forced to sag out anyway. Needless to say they are not participating this year.

You heard wrong. Last year's Iron Horse was great. They took a few people off that were unable to complete the ride before the State Patrol opened the highway to vehicles. Molas Pass is not a place to enjoy cycling when there is wall to wall traffic that has been lining up for 4 hours while a bike ride is under way. My wife is a very slow rider and got past the top of the last pass before the road was closed. But she started 1 and 1/2 hours before the official start time. Starting early is the answer for those who need extra time.
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