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POLL: Centuries -- personal experiences . . .(8 posts)

POLL: Centuries -- personal experiences . . .ms
Aug 27, 2003 5:48 AM
The century season is upon us. Based upon your personal experiences, what are (1) your favorite century, (2) the hardest century you have done and (3) the best century for a beginner? Also, list the region of the country if it is not apparent from the name of the century and the usual date of the century.

My answers:

(1) Civil War Century (Western Maryland -usually second week in September, September 13 this year): Moderate climbing (4 major hills); great organization; not too far from home (an hour).

(2) Mountains of Misery (Southwestern Virginia -- Memorial Day weekend): 10,000+ feet of climbing, including an uphill finish; early in the season.

(3) Hanover (Pa.) Cyclers Century (South Century Pennsylvania -- Labor Day) -- relatively flat century that goes through the Gettysburg battlefield and surrounding areas; well-supported, but not too crowded; light traffic.
re: POLL: Centuries -- personal experiences . . .JS Haiku Shop
Aug 27, 2003 6:11 AM
1) favorite: 3 state 3 mountain in chattanooga is a fun century. the support is great and the route is scenic and somewhat challenging. the climbing is less than 8,000 feet for the whole shebang, but it's mostly reserved for the three main climbs. this was my first century 3 years ago; it did a good job of setting the stage for longer and tougher rides to come.

2) hardest: not a climber, i do enjoy spending long periods of time wishing for death while grinding an impossibly small gear. the 6-gap century (looks like the site is under construction) was pretty tough last year. i've since been back to ride some of the climbs again, over two trips to north georgia, and also had the lack of judgement to climb brasstown bald (highest point in GA) last Thanksgiving with Mike P and Tarwheel; the climb was almost a religious experience. because of the nearly 11k feet of climbing in 100 miles, i would say this was the toughest century i've done in the last 3 years. by far *not* the toughest ride i've done, though.

3) best for beginner: harpeth river ride, starting in franklin, tn, just south of nashville. food and support second to none. route very scenic, rolling, two big hills, lots of riders, did i mention good food and support?
re: POLL: Centuries -- personal experiences . . .mohair_chair
Aug 27, 2003 6:46 AM
This has been a light year for centuries for me. The best and hardest 100 mile or more rides I've done haven't been organized rides, but I'll restrict my answers to those.

1. Favorite this year has to be the Wildflower in San Luis Obispo (there's another Wildflower the same day in Chico). It's a good ride, but this year, the wildflowers were absolutely spectacular in California. Second would be Solvang, always a good ride, and this year, also with amazing wildflowers. Plus I did it with one other friend in 5:19. That felt pretty good.

2. Hardest had to be the Santa Cruz Mountains Challenge. This year, having just come back from two weeks riding around the Alps, I felt like I was crusing on this ride, but it's a hard ride nonetheless.

3. Best beginner, I don't know. I'd have to say the next century I'm doing, the Surf City Century, is probably the best beginner ride. It's late in the season so everyone should be well trained, and it's fairly flat.
re: POLL: Centuries -- personal experiences . . .Mike Prince
Aug 27, 2003 7:14 AM
1) Favorite - an 'unorganized' century through Memphis, TN area I did with JS Haiku, J2 and crew on a Saturday in late July. I was 1 week removed from getting mowed down by a car so this ride was my confirmation that I was on the road to recovery. If it has to be organized, see answer #3.

2) Bridge to Bridge Challenge (NC), late Sept. - 11K+ of climbing and most of it in the last 50 miles. The last 6 miles are especially brutal. Just what the doctor ordered after 97 challenging miles. 2nd place goes to numerous metric centuries + (3 Mtn Metric, Tour de Mayberry, Tour de Gaps) that all have 8K+ of climbing and are local to where I live (NW North Carolina)

3) Tour deCure, Va. Beach to Manteo, NC - Mid-April every year, but the route is pancake flat. My favorite because of the cause it supports (diabetes) - I have raised over $3K the last 2 years through this ride. Finished in under 5 hours this year, which is good considering the 'paceline' I was in was only one other rider. Great for beginners as the route is not challenging, the rest stops are plentiful and well stocked and there is lots of camaraderie in the main bunch. Downside is that you have to fundraise.
re: POLL: Centuries -- personal experiences . . .Mike P
Aug 27, 2003 8:22 AM
Favorite: I have a tough time deciding between The 6-Gap Century in N. GA and The Cherohalla Challenge in TN. Both have over 10,000 ft of climbing, roads are for the most part nice to ride on, and they are well organized and supported. If I had to pick one. . . well I can't. I would say Cherohalla is tops for me for two reasons: 1. the scenery is absolutely amazing, forest, lakes, and open vistas, and 2. a good porting of the climbing is one long, mean hill. I would also say 6-Gap is my favorite because the climbing is broken up into 6 major climbs, each very different, 2 of which are pretty brutal. The scenery is also nice, mostly woodland forest.

Hardest: Again, a toss up between 6-Gap and Cherohalla. I give it to Cherohalla on this one. While there are steeper points in the 6-Gap, the major hill of the Cherohalla just goes on forever, and then a little further. I have heard Mountains of Misery is hard but was not able to make that one this year to find out.

Best for a beginner: My first ride over 80 miles was Cherohalla (115 miles, over 10k ft climbing).

re: POLL: Centuries -- personal experiences . . .CHRoadie
Aug 27, 2003 8:44 AM
(1) Solvang Century. Well supported in a great little town, and some absolutely beautiful scenery.

(2) The Death Ride. They claim 16,000 feet of climbing, but I think it's closer to 14,000. However, all of it is between 5,000 and 9,000 feet of elevation. If we only count rides we were able to finish, it would be Breathless Agony, which is 114 miles with 12,000 feet of climbing.

(3) The Amtrak Century. Very flat, and a cool train ride home.
re: POLL: Centuries -- personal experiences . . .bigrider
Aug 27, 2003 8:55 AM
1. I enjoy training centuries with a few buddies where we make up a route and ride it.

2. Assault on Mt. Mitchell SC/NC First 40 miles feel like a cat 4 crit if you try to stay near the front and the last 30 miles is a little climb up the highest mountain east of the Mississippi.

3. Seagull Century DE (Anywhere on the Delmarva Penninsula) It is dead flat, lots of country roads and a great place to do your first century because it almost ensures success if you done any semblance of training.
Heck ...I've only done one ...does that count??. .PaulCL
Aug 27, 2003 9:55 AM
Just kidding...OK...only one in the month of August. My goal was to do 6 this year. I've gotten five under my belt so far with one scheduled this Sunday, two in October and one in early November before the snow hits.

1. Favorite. Hmmmm...not an organized one. Just me on my bike on a beautiful Sunday morning in the hills of KY. Its' better if I hook up with someone on the road. Its' even better if my wife doesn't have anything planned for the afternoon so I can ride without worrying about getting home "on time". Even better if Michelle Pfeiffer came along....oh...never mind.

2. Toughest. I haven't done that many organized 'named' centuries. I road a couple in Colorado with 1000's of feet of mountain climbing. They were tough. My worst was the Cincinnati Cycling club BCBCBCBCBC two years ago. Lots of hills (4 to 6000 feet maybe),95 degrees, humid, and no water stops from mile 50 to 75! I bonked. Then had to ride the last 15 miles in horizontal rain and wind.

3. Best for a beginner: TOSRV "Tour of the Scioto River Valley" out of Columbus, Ohio. Centuries each Saturday and Sunday. A total of about 6 inches of climbing. Its' all about pacelining and dealing with the weather. Beautiful one day then storming the next. My buddies and I set century PR's last year on day one and reset them on day 2 (under 4.20 !) The ride is always Mother's Day weekend. Bad luck this year: my frame cracked after day one. I had to hitch a ride back to Columbus. Bummer.