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  1. #1
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    Ride Report 2012 Amtrak Century--I survived!

    I wasn't sure how I'd do but seeing the masses of various out-of-shape bodies in the parking structure gave me confidence. I called 2 pals and their friends that I was running late so don't wait for me. I finally took off at 6:40 AM and found a well-paced group that I stayed with thru the first support stop in San Juan Capistrano. I ended up riding about 2/3 of the ride solo but found a few groups to work with along the way. Most riders were safe but there were the usual weavy-line folks who don't group ride and don't call out hazards. Weather was nice and not too hot at first. I felt pretty good on the Torrey Pines climb at Mile 80. Some show off guy sprinted past me halfway up it only to have me find him around the hill's corner, off his bike doubled over. The ride support was awesome--tons of food from Bristol Farms, water and g-ade. The frozen pineapple fruit bars at the top of Torrey were super good.

    One minor drag was having to take buses from SD up to Carlsbad before boarding the trains because of closed RR tracks. Another thing was that the course seemed slow due to this year's route using some streets with a ton of slow-turning and short-green light signals. We lost a lot of time with those. So much so that small groups of riders would catch up so we'd have 200 riders waiting at lights--lots of pissed of drivers as a result.

    Overall, super fun, saw a few gnarly crashes. My Strava glitched as my phone's battery waned but what I gathered off my bike computer, HRM and a friend's Garmin is that I went 102 miles, avg'd about 15.6 mph, spent 6.6 hours in the saddle, 1.4 hours at stop lights and breaks, climbed 3325 ft and burned 6500 calories. I'm super sore, time for more tylenol.

  2. #2
    huge...tracts of land heddywouldgo's Avatar
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    Sounds like fun! I've meant to do that ride for a long time and never got around to it. Maybe next year...
    "The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit." - Somerset Maugham

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by heddywouldgo View Post
    Sounds like fun! I've meant to do that ride for a long time and never got around to it. Maybe next year...
    If you want to do it, be aware that you need to be ready to click into the registration website literally the minute it opens, especially if you want to return on the train. The ride sells out very quickly.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JSMaxwell's Avatar
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    Its also very easy to do this ride unsupported. Anyone can buy a train ticket. There are numerous free water stops and lots of convenience stores. If you want food, you can stop and eat at about 100 places.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSMaxwell View Post
    Its also very easy to do this ride unsupported. Anyone can buy a train ticket. There are numerous free water stops and lots of convenience stores. If you want food, you can stop and eat at about 100 places.
    Yes, that would work. But, you wouldn't get to ride the train with 900 other partying cyclists.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeme View Post
    Another thing was that the course seemed slow due to this year's route using some streets with a ton of slow-turning and short-green light signals. We lost a lot of time with those. So much so that small groups of riders would catch up so we'd have 200 riders waiting at lights--lots of pissed of drivers as a result.
    The route is generally very nice and well thought out. But, the endgame through San Diego has always been difficult. I think this year we spent more time in San Diego than other years. In years past, the mileage was just under 100. This year, they added more mileage to go over 100 and it seems like it was all added in San Diego.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyemage View Post
    The route is generally very nice and well thought out. But, the endgame through San Diego has always been difficult. I think this year we spent more time in San Diego than other years. In years past, the mileage was just under 100. This year, they added more mileage to go over 100 and it seems like it was all added in San Diego.
    I heard it's a challenge for OCW on how to get thru to downtown SD. I wish they'd add the miles in Irvine/So. OC.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSMaxwell View Post
    Its also very easy to do this ride unsupported. Anyone can buy a train ticket. There are numerous free water stops and lots of convenience stores. If you want food, you can stop and eat at about 100 places.
    True, but this year you would've been screwed as we had to take busses to Carlsbad. Normally, one would put their bike on a train in SD and that's it. I don't know what they did for non-Amtrak bikers.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeme View Post
    I heard it's a challenge for OCW on how to get thru to downtown SD. I wish they'd add the miles in Irvine/So. OC.
    I agree, a straight shot into San Diego would be nice.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gallo's Avatar
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    Being from San Diego I did not go into the Point Loma to Harbor route. That was crazy and parts of the city I would avoid riding a bike would be the Airport and Rosecrans

    I went straight down PCH as I would anytime riding into Downtown from the coast

    Furthermore I avoided the Mission Bay Dr to Balboa transition as it is the busiest intersection in San Diego.

    I did ride Morena Blvd but did not understand the logic of riding it instead of Mission Bay.

    I would add that the lights in the OC inland part of the route were frustrating. There must be a way through that has less lights. I think I had over 30 min of stopped time from Irvine to Dana Point just at lights. A couple I was in the back of the pack and it went from Red to Green to Red so quick it was silly. I was on the line once and it went green by the time I was through it was already red. I am not Mark Cavendish but I am not that slow either
    "Are you finished and satisfied with the thread up to this point? If so, if you don't mind, I'm inclined to close it now, the quality posts have dwindled - it's circling the bowl now." BillyD

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gallo View Post
    I would add that the lights in the OC inland part of the route were frustrating. There must be a way through that has less lights. I think I had over 30 min of stopped time from Irvine to Dana Point just at lights. A couple I was in the back of the pack and it went from Red to Green to Red so quick it was silly. I was on the line once and it went green by the time I was through it was already red. I am not Mark Cavendish but I am not that slow either
    I have ridden the route to the first SAG many times. It's just luck of the draw when it comes to timing them. Sometimes, I've hit every stop light, other times I have flown through green. I think the Crown Valley intersection is the most demoralizing. Stop there and you lose lots of momentum.

  12. #12
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    I am also from SD, so I rather enjoy the end of the ride on Harbor Drive with a view of downtown ahead and the yachts and marinas on the right after 100 miles on the road. I rode the Amtrak with a friend and we took the Ocean Beach bike trail to Nimitz at the end. Crossing to Nimitz was no fun either, but I've been on that stretch some many times it did not matter.

    Three years ago there was a religious festival around the Hilton on Mission Bay. It was all stop and go in between stopped cars going nowhere and that was no fun either. Most have taken us 1/2 hour to cover that 2 to 3 mile stretch.

    Whatever it is, I just focus on the idea that I rode from OC to SD and whatever the route, it is all good.
    Last edited by tomdecel; 09-19-12 at 06:47 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomdecel View Post
    Three years ago there was a religious festival around the Hilton on Mission Bay. It was all stop and go in between stopped cars going nowhere and that was no fun either. Most have taken us 1/2 hour to cover that 2 to 3 mile stretch.
    I remember that crazy year, too. It was a massive line of cars trying to get into the parking lot, while the route took us through the same road. You had to squeeze around buses, cars, etc. The road was narrow, and there were tons of cyclists and cars trying to go down the same path.

    What a freaking nightmare. I saw so many close calls that year.

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