This weekend was the MS 150 charity ride. The route takes you from Irvine to San Diego (Mission Bay) over two days. Two routes are offered -- one is 60 miles on day 1, and 40 on day 2. The century route is 104 miles on day 1 and 40 on day 2. Riders stay overnight in Carlsbad, in various area hotels. Shuttles (free) run people between the various hotels and the main ride site, which is a mall parking lot with tents, tables, and a pep-rally atmosphere.
Mel44 and I have done this ride for 6 years -- this is our first doing the century route. Voltman has ridden with us for several years, and this was his first time doing the century route as well. Extort, Madmike, and adikasey are the only other BFers I know that did this ride. We saw them at lunch and rode with Extort for a bit after lunch. I never saw madmike.
Voltman, Mel44 and I were ready to roll at the century start time, 7:00am. The first annoying thing was the staggered start. They released about 60 riders at a time, but allowed a shockingly long time to elapse between groups. So, we weren't rolling until nearly 7:30am.
The route is excellent. Up through UCI, down MacCarthur to PCH. PCH down to Camp Pendleton, then through Oceanside. Very flat up to the century lunch, which was at approximately mile 60. After lunch, the century route heads east, up through some nice rolling hills, then down to the coast at about mile 85. From there (Del Mar) riders head north to the overnight point in Carlsbad. About 104 miles for the century route.
On day two, the century and non-century routes are identical. Basically, it's Carlsbad down PCH, up Torrey Pines, down past UCSD and through La Jolla, then down around Mission Bay. Except for Torrey Pines, it's basically flat. A great recovery ride after day 1.
Compared with other centuries I've done, the MS century is the easiest. It's a bit easier than Cool Breeze, and markedly easier than the Tour de Poway. On the MS route, the climbing is clustered up between miles 60 and 85, but it's not much climbing overall. So, the fact that it's clustered up somewhat late in the ride does not add much to the ride's overall difficulty.
The good, the bad, and the hungry
The route is great, and lots of friendly people do this ride. The downside, though, is a lot of people with very little experience riding in groups or in traffic. Defensive riding is absolutely necessary.
In the past, this ride has for the most part provided excellent food. This year, things were different. The century lunch was totally unacceptable. When we rolled in (and we were not slow), there were no more turkey sammies left, only HAM. You can see where this is going. The non-century riders had Wahoo's. The century rides had bad sandwiches. Totally unacceptable. I think they are trading quality for a larger number of riders. It's a shame.
The day 1 dinner has never been good. We skipped it in favor of Olive Garden. Easy choice.
The offerings at the rest stops were adequate, but not great. The day 2 breakfast, which used to be excellent, completely sucked. I'm no longer telling people that this ride provides really great food.
Anyway, it is a good ride overall. I had a blast riding with Voltman, Mel44 and Extort (even if was for only a short time).
The bus ride back from SD to Irvine was great. Free cold beer and sodas on the bus. Great touch, but I think a better lunch the day of the century is far more important.
If any of you are considering this ride next year (it requires $350 of fundraising, over and above the registration fee), feel to ask me anything you want about it.
Oh, there are some pictures HERE