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Old 06-03-14, 03:16 PM   #1
schiiism
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Santa Clarita Century - Good for first time solo?

I've been trying to do some research on the difficulty of the Santa Clarita century coming up on June 14th. I did a century with two experienced friends from Seal Beach to San Diego last October with no issue. I crashed once when a cyclist passed me really close and I hit the brakes too hard (not used to riding in a group), but other than that the entire ride went smoothly.

The toughest part was Torrey Pines near the end at La Jolla, but I made it up alone since my buddies were more experienced climbers. I would like to try a solo century but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. This one seems relatively straightforward, and I like that it is an organized charity event with support.

Concerning my fitness level, I commute five days a week 24 miles RT. The only climbing practice I get is two steep overpasses, so it's the hills I'm most concerned about. Any input on whether this is a good choice for my first solo century would be appreciated.

Santa Clarita Century Ride
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Old 06-03-14, 03:40 PM   #2
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I was alittle confused when you say solo first century.... that means to me you are riding on your own 100 miles (I have lots of friends who do this). You are hardly alone on an event ride... I've gone by myself and done centuries and I was never alone (unless I wanted to be); I always had people riding near, in front, behind etc...

That said... I assume the century has a sag so don't worry if you can do it or not... just give it a try. The worse thing is you have to call a people to pick you up. Generally people with a good base (at least 40 - 60 miles a week) can go out and do centuries, although it may be painful. The Santa Clarita ride is going to be hilly (6300' of climbing - you saw that right?) so on the weekend, seek out some hills and do repeats a or at least find some climbs to do as much as possible. Just work on what nutrition works best for you - remember sag stops or for getting ina nd ut as fast as possible, no dilly lagging about. Don't eat too much but make sure you are eating and drinking enough.... good luck and have fun.
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Old 06-03-14, 03:53 PM   #3
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Sorry, I just meant first century without being with anyone I know. The fact that there are so many other riders actually makes me more nervous. I don't ride in groups often and I get anxious when other people get close to me (habit from riding in heavy urban vehicle traffic).

Thanks for the encouragement
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Old 06-03-14, 03:55 PM   #4
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If that 6300 feet is real and you only ride up an over pass then it's going to be a tough ride!

Don't let that stop you from trying though - there are a couple of well placed bailout spots that you can take advantage of if you find that you're really struggling. At mile 25 you can cross over to the return leg, which would give you 50 miles and still plenty of climbing (not quite but almost exactly their designed 50 mile route). At mile 37 you can cross back to the return leg which would give you 77 total miles and PLENTY of climbing for the day.

100 Mile Route - A bike ride in Santa Clarita, California

Long climbs are just a mental exercise... pick a pace you can maintain for a long time and just keep going. Might as well challenge yourself and prove you can do it.
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Old 06-05-14, 10:48 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions! I just mapped my century route from last time and it had 4700 feet of climbing, so I don't think this one is too big of a jump. I managed those climbs really well with my two lowest gears being unusable on a heavier bike, so my new Fuji should make the climbing aspect a bit easier.

I think I was just psyching myself out because it's an unfamiliar area and I've never ridden that long without a buddy, but I'm actually pretty excited
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Old 06-05-14, 10:54 AM   #6
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Use that excitement... it generally gets me through tough situations! And again, the ride is for "fun", always remember that, just pace yourself and get it done!
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Old 06-05-14, 11:40 AM   #7
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Here is the route, It look like after mile 5 you have a 35 mile climb. That might be pretty tuff but it is early on. That also means you have a 35 mile descent with a few bumps. It loos as though if you can make it to mile 60 you should have no problems finishing.
Santa Clarita Century - Good for first time solo?
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Old 06-05-14, 03:38 PM   #8
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So I've been poking around with Google searches to get a feel for the difficulty of this century, and I stumbled across the Big Ring century that's happening on June 21st. That one is much more local so I wouldn't have to wake up at an ungodly hour to start by 7:00, and it's about half the elevation gain. It also comes with a spiffy jersey!

Has anyone done either of these two annual events before? I'm pretty undecided, but I know I definitely want to do one of them.

Big Ring Century

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Old 06-05-14, 03:55 PM   #9
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I haven't done Big Ring but I've done the climby parts, although I squared off that part where you turn from Nohl Ranch Rd to Imperial/Cannon. That part is pretty steep (13% if I recall) but it's not terribly long. Santiago Canyon is long but not terribly steep, but it's an oven out there. Whatever climbing there is seems to be pretty front loaded, which is always nice. That's generally the route I take whenever I ride from home to one of the zillion soccer tournaments in south OC my kids are always playing in.
@Beachgrad05 did it last year (I think the metric), maybe she'll chime in.
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Old 06-05-14, 04:29 PM   #10
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Santa Clarita Century - Good for first time solo?

I did the metric their first year. I was not prepared for the hills at that time. I walked EVERY hill. I should do again just to see how far I've come.

Didn't do it last year tho.

Route may or may not be same as 2012
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Old 06-05-14, 05:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by schiiism View Post
I've been trying to do some research on the difficulty of the Santa Clarita century coming up on June 14th. I did a century with two experienced friends from Seal Beach to San Diego last October with no issue. I crashed once when a cyclist passed me really close and I hit the brakes too hard (not used to riding in a group), but other than that the entire ride went smoothly.

The toughest part was Torrey Pines near the end at La Jolla, but I made it up alone since my buddies were more experienced climbers. I would like to try a solo century but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. This one seems relatively straightforward, and I like that it is an organized charity event with support.

Concerning my fitness level, I commute five days a week 24 miles RT. The only climbing practice I get is two steep overpasses, so it's the hills I'm most concerned about. Any input on whether this is a good choice for my first solo century would be appreciated.

Santa Clarita Century Ride
The Santa Clarita Century is medium tough. The first 30 to 35 miles is not too bad- its a fairly gradual climb out to Acton, ave 3% grade. Some steep bits, maybe 8%, nothing worse and even those steep bits are not too long. After Acton, the next challenge is Alisio Canyon, which is a tough climb 8-10% I think and it gets worse at the end. The a little descent into the Antelope Valley and I think you then turn around and climb back out, maybe along the same route- anyway another tough climb. After that, you get a nice well earned long downhill, that part is fun. The big negative is that it will likely be hot hot hot.

Personally, I would not drive from the OC to do this particular ride alone if you're not a climber already. The climbs come in the hottest part of the day. When I first saw the dates of this century, I was surprised it was scheduled so late in the year.
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Old 06-05-14, 05:18 PM   #12
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As the weather heats up there are less century in the area. Cool Breeze (August) is a good century and usually cool but the way finding can sometimes be difficult (awesome food). It is a little hilly but not steep. There is also the Palm Desert Century in November (never done it). There is the Los Angeles River Ride which I would call super easy but not very scenic (June 22). That is about as flat a century as you can get.
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Old 06-05-14, 08:50 PM   #13
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I have not done that event, but have ridden most parts of it. It is unique in that large portions are done on bike trails. These can be a problem in a big event like this because of the large number of pedestrians mixing with large numbers of cyclists. If you are aware of this it's not a problem, though I would be concerned about conflicts from yahoos treating it as a race.

Santiago Canyon is a good climby section, for a beginner. There are a few long climbs, but not too steep, and it is rolling so you get some downhills to ease off on.

This was my first C Bike Ride Profile | 440 Days from MI to 100mi. near Oceanside | Times and Records | Strava Garmin calls it 3500 ft. It was pretty easy, which is why I did it as my first. It is actually two laps of the 1/2 Century. This is done to keep most of it near the coast. If I do it this year, I'll sign up for the 1/2, and stretch it to a Metric by looping up Torrey Pines.
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Old 06-05-14, 10:21 PM   #14
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Speaking of cool breeze - put that one in your calendar. It's a terrific ride - well supported, largely flat except for two parts (pretty early) and of course, popsicles. That was my first century and I about killed myself chasing my riding buddy who was/is about 2 mph faster than me. IT's far, far away though.

Tour de Palm Springs is another great one (IMO). Very crowded though, but it's pretty flat and the weather is great. Also far away.

Big ring looks like a pretty decent route too, although I feel like I ride those roads often enough to not need to pay to ride them.
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Old 06-06-14, 08:15 AM   #15
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We need a bigger group for Cool Breeze this year!
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Old 06-06-14, 08:24 AM   #16
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OP, in addition to the climbing, there is the heat (which some have already mentioned). Additionally, you will probably have to deal with the wind.

OP, good luck.

@TrojanHorse, the CB Century is not THAT far away...if you live in Ventura County.
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Old 06-06-14, 02:37 PM   #17
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My goal in this century is to have all day to myself to just ride my bike, so heat, wind, and nasty climbs don't appeal to me as much as a relatively flat ride around OC. I'm going with the Big Ring this time around, though I'd like to try for the Santa Clarita next year. I appreciate the tip about MUPs, and I'll be sure to research where restroom stops are in case the rest stations don't have them.

But the Ocean Breeze looks like more fun than both of them combined! Ventura is only about two hours for me, which I think is totally worth it for a good experience like that. It's also the last weekend before fall semester starts so it'll be a perfect way to end the break Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 06-06-14, 03:51 PM   #18
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I did the Santa Clarita half a couple of years ago, though it was held in April, not June. Biggest issue was the wind; it was blowing like heck out there and I heard the century route out towards the desert was even worse.
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Old 06-06-14, 04:08 PM   #19
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We need a bigger group for Cool Breeze this year!
If it "helps" there will be quite a few Unlikely Cyclist ladies!!!


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Old 06-07-14, 01:00 AM   #20
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If it "helps" there will be quite a few Unlikely Cyclist ladies!!!
Thugs, one and all.








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Old 06-07-14, 03:49 PM   #21
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I did the Big Ring last year. It's a nice ride, not too hard compared to some others and good SAG support. And yes, there are shirts, good quality ones at that. I am doing it again this year. Definitely recommended.
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Old 06-07-14, 10:05 PM   #22
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That's good to hear, I read that the SAG had been lacking in past years in terms of food and restrooms. I just signed up yesterday and am so stoked
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Old 06-08-14, 11:57 AM   #23
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That's good to hear, I read that the SAG had been lacking in past years in terms of food and restrooms. I just signed up yesterday and am so stoked
First year the first pit stop at moon park on SART had no restrooms and had run out of food by the time I got there.

But that was their first year.
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