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Amtrak Century -- when?(8 posts)

Amtrak Century -- when?Jimm
Jun 6, 2001 7:56 AM
I'd appreciate any and all info regarding this year's Amtrak Century (Irvine or Anaheim to San Diego). Thank you!
re: Amtrak Century -- when?lott
Jun 6, 2001 1:50 PM
I believe the Orange County Wheelman is putting together a ride in September. I haven't done it myself but it does sound fun.
Durn, I just deleted the e-mail ...Humma Hah
Jun 7, 2001 7:11 PM
... Charlie Irwin spams us all with the west coast events, and I deleted that because I'm back in Virginia, otherwise I'd be signing up. I enjoyed it last year, my first organized century (I'd done two longer rides solo).

I believe it is usually early to mid September. The organization is the Orange County Wheelmen, and I believe their website is

Charlie said the event is already 25% sold! I barely got in last year, and Doug Sloan waited too long. They limit ridership, and it will sell out well before the deadline.
What to expect ...Humma Hah
Jun 7, 2001 7:24 PM
The Amtrack was generally well-run last year, and they claimed to limit it to about 1000 riders (I believe they stretched it to about 1300). This won't be one of those 4000+ rider events.

The course is pretty easy, basically cutting over to the PCH from Irvine, going thru towns like San Clemente, thru the state park by the nuke powerplants at San Obisbo, picking thru Camp Pendleton, then Oceanside (the lunch stop, if you've paid for it), and on down. There is some gentle but tiresome climbing to about 15 miles (we were in a cool morning mist), then it is all flat or gentle rolling until you get to The Hill, about 70-80 miles into the run.

The Hill is Torrey Pines, about 435 ft of climb at an average grade of about 6%, maybe hitting 7.5 in the middle. I can ride it non-stop on a cruiser if I've a mind to. Should be a piece of cake unless you're a total newbie from the flatlands. They had a special treat waiting for us at the top -- ice cream bars. BTW, those seemed to take the energy out of me, which I've experienced with sweet dairy products since.

A few hills from there, but you finish downhill. This run has a LOT of urban riding. I also saw a lot of glass and a lot of folks fixing flats. My cruiser whupped a whole bunch of clubs with large pacelines, as they'd pass me and someone would flat and the whole line would wait for them to fix it. My thorn resistant tubes rolled over the glittery stuff with no problem. Carry a patch kit, plenty of tubes, and maybe don't limit yourself to a single CO2 cylinder.
those tubes/tiresHaiku d'état
Jun 11, 2001 12:41 PM
what kind of tubes/tires do you run on that beast?
Reproduction Westwinds and thorn-resistant tubes ...Humma Hah
Jun 12, 2001 12:40 PM
In the Amtrack I had a set of Chen Shen's (you can't be too picky when your rim size is 26 x 1 3/4 -- not to be confused with 26 x 1.75). A few months ago I installed a set of the original tire type, the Westwind, which Schwinn is again producing.

The Westwind, a fat street semi-slick with narrow grooves between the rectangular treads, is the most efficient design ever conceived for picking up small chips of glass. After getting two flats in my first century, circa 1974, I bought a pair of Schwinn thorn-resistant tubes. Those two tubes ares still on the bike and giving excellent service. I've had ONE flat in that entire time, from a large nail. They laugh at glass.

The Westwinds now have two centuries and around 1600 miles on them, with no problems.
re: Amtrak Century -- when?BroBiker
Jun 28, 2001 10:42 AM
Any riders from San Diego planning to ride the century? I was thinking of riding train up early or the night before and riding to SD.

That's what I did last year ...Humma Hah
Jun 28, 2001 10:23 PM
... it works great, with one minor catch.

Irvine is not a freight rail stop -- you can't ship your bike up. Which is a pain anyway, and unnecessary. About half of the trains have bike racks and you can just roll them on and off at any passenger stop.

What you need is a train with "California Cars", the big 2-deckers, which have the bike racks. The problem is, they're not on a fixed schedule, and you have to call the San Diego station and bug them, perhaps repeatedly and pleadingly, to find out which trains will have the cars. Leave some leeway in your schedule so you can take a later train if they screw up.

And take a light for the bike, and carry a pack for your stuff. You'll probably use a motel about 3 miles from the station, and will want to ride there, and back to the station in the morning (that's where the start is). They have trucks going to San Diego which can carry a bag of your stuff for you. The extra miles are OK -- the run is actually about 98 miles and you need a couple extra to make it an honest century.