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Old 07-20-10, 08:14 PM   #1
smithsb
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Coast Guard Century (Portsmouth, VA)

I'm thinking about riding in the Coast Guard Century in Portsmouth, VA in early August. I don't know the area well, but Portsmouth is part of the Virginia Beach/Norfolk/Hampton Roads metropolitan area, and I'm worried that the urban (?) environment will make for a no-so-bucolic century experience. Here's the information on the ride:

http://www.eventbrite.com/event/719752800

Can someone who knows the area tell me what they think of the quality of the route? Is it going to be endless stoplights and stop signs, or the pleasant harbor spin they seem to advertise?
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Old 07-22-10, 07:02 AM   #2
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Looking at the map I would say your endless stoplight and stop sign description is pretty dead on. P-Town is ok but I can see it being a mess with traffic.
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Old 07-22-10, 07:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by SilverSurfer357 View Post
Looking at the map I would say your endless stoplight and stop sign description is pretty dead on. P-Town is ok but I can see it being a mess with traffic.
I considered signing up for this event too, but I think you are definitely right about traffic and stop and go.
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Old 07-23-10, 08:40 AM   #4
smithsb
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I e-mailed the organizers and received the following reply:

"A number of well marked turns but law enforcement is allowing thru traffic for bikes at most of intersections. Low traffic during alot the ride and portsmouth autos respect cyclists"

Let's hope their route planning skills are superior to their command of English grammar and usage.
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Old 07-24-10, 12:10 PM   #5
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I definitely agree with the fact that the motorists respect cyclists around here. Maybe I'll sign up now, sounds like a pretty good event.
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Old 08-07-11, 06:40 AM   #6
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We did the 2011 Coast Guard Century, the second year for the event. We would not do it again.

The route wasn't compelling... despite the marketing of great views; there was a great view atop the West Norfolk freeway bridge (yes, we rode on a , some industrial marshland as well as interesting waterfront views from the Coast Guard Station and the adjacent APM Cargo Terminals (two areas you can't see close up, otherwise) -- but most of the ride circuited back and forth inside suburban developments and felt more like a training regimen than a special tour. Police manning of the intersections was great.

Communication was loose... there were a slew of 'email updates', there were a lot of verbal briefings at cue sheet pickup and one guy was barking a lot of instructions at the starting line... while 75% of the riders were out of ear-shot. Registration was handled by a third party, Eventbrite, which seemed to offer little value for a small group reported as 300 riders that seemed more like 200 -- while adding $3.00 to the registration. No walk-ins were allowed. Apparently there were aspects of the ride in flux up until the day of the event, where rest stops were, the lunch arrangements, etc.

Cue sheets were physically huge, weren't dedicated to each ride, had disparities in nomenclature that made following a particular route difficult, didn't show all the rest stops, didn't give the distance for each leg, and used a map from Mapquest, split into two pieces, that overlapped inbound and outbound legs so you couldn't decipher the overall route.

There was a problem with road markings that mis-directed a group of 40 riders, yours truly included, back to the start of the tour -- where no one knew how to correct the problem because no one knew what had gone wrong. We were later able to figure our way onto the correct path, having started the ride over again, and found the offending markings. It only takes the one person at the head of pack to mis-direct a group -- markings need to be as infallible as possible. Some intersections seemed splattered with markings.

Rest stops were nothing special: no food at one stop, no gaterade at another, no cups at another. The high point was PB&J's at one of the stops. SWAG was light (we didn't see a single SWAG vehicle on the route) but emergency numbers were on the bottom of the cue sheet.

Lunch was handled by vouchers to local restaurants; it was a cumbersome arrangement (emails, verbal announcements, "come back for a full list of restaurants") that had event riders walking into local restaurants in their steamy, sweaty bike clothes.

The course end was anti-climactic.

Overall: meh.

Last edited by akcapbikeforums; 08-07-11 at 08:50 AM.
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