In the bicycling world, a ride of 100 miles completed in a single day is called a "century." A typical century will be hosted by a cycling club or charitable organization and usually includes routes with shorter distances. Riders pay a registration fee (much like a race), and the host organization provides route maps, directions, course markings and monitors, rest stops with food and comfort facilities, and a post-ride meal. Often there is entertainment.
The Santa Cruz AIDS Project hosts the Surf City AIDS Ride as a fund raiser for their organization. The most recent ride was on October 4, and I decided to attempt it, though it had been three years since I had ridden that distance in a single day. (Most of my rides are in the 30-60 mile range.)
The 100-mile course opened at 7 am. Here is a map and elevation profile of the route:
I started at 7:20, and the sun had yet to come up. The first few miles were very cold, so I neglected to take pictures until I was well past the first rest stop. As the first rays of the sun warmed me up around 8, I was treated to this view of the ocean:
My frozen fingers thawed, and I headed for the second rest stop, arriving shortly after 8:30:
I grabbed a few bites and continued south along Elkhorn Slough:
Sometime after 9:00 I approached Castroville and picked up a tailwind to Salinas. The Salinas stop was on the approach to San Juan Grade. I arrived there around 10:00. It was finally warm enough to take off my wind vest, though you can't really see the warmth in the picture:
In less than an hour, I had arrived at our lunch stop at the Native Daughters of the Golden West in San Juan Bautista, where we had a catered lunch of penne pasta, salad, and focaccia bread. As I rolled out of town, I realized I had forgotten to take pictures. Oh well.
On to Aromas. Here lunch was also being served, but for those on the 60-mile route. (This is the point where the two routes merged.) This was indoors at the Grange Hall, but I'm sure the volunteers there were not the usual Grange members:
The next stop was only a half hour down the road at the Gizdich Ranch:
I was making good time (with less than 30 miles to go), so I rested and took a look around:
Too full to eat pie!
Twenty minutes later, I was back on the road, headed for the last rest stop at about 10 miles to go. This was the "Rock Stop":
The last 10 miles went pretty quickly, and I arrived at 3:15, just under eight hours from the time I departed. My bike computer had died in the early morning cold, so I had no stats other than the total distance from the map. While waiting for the post-ride meal to arrive, I listened to the band and took a few pictures:
After I had my fill, I got in my car to head home and found this car parked across from mine:
Gotta love Santa Cruz. I'll probably do it again next year, but I think I'll wait about an hour after the course opens.
The Santa Cruz AIDS Project is still accepting donations. I was not required to raise money, only to ask friends to consider donating at the web site. Check the link in the second paragraph for more info.