By Amy Snyder
The San Diego Century is my “home” century and I do it every year. At the start of the ride, the same thought always enters my head: “Only a few hours ‘till the ice cream and cookies at Mile 61, then downhill to the coast.” That Mile 61 rest stop in Ramona is one of the most delicious and friendly on the SoCal century circuit. It comes after a long, hot climb up Scripps Poway Parkway and into Ramona, and signals the end the day’s major uphill efforts.
But that rest stop is only one of the features that distinguish this century ride from others. Another is the camaraderie. With a large field and a rolling start, unless you’re one of the hammerheads at the front, you won’t be alone at any point during the day.
Did I mention the ice cream?
For first-time century aspirants or veterans lacking early season fitness, don’t fret; there are a few things working in your favor. First, you’ll get your climbing done early. After the Ramona rest stop the run back to the coast will feel great. Second, the rest stops and SAG support are superb, so you’ll always have help if you need it.
Oh yeah, there’s also ice cream.
If you’re an experienced cyclists looking to push yourself, you’ll have opportunity to test your legs against every type of terrain, from rollers in Rancho Santa Fe, to sustained climbing into Ramona, and on to the fast and flat finish. Speedy pacelines always form up front, so just hitch on.
And for you speed demons, the ice cream will still be cold.
Here are some more things that make the San Diego Century a special day for me. One is the diverse nature of the terrain. Starting on the coast the course takes riders into the ranches of Ramona, past the citrus orchards of Rancho Santa Fe, and through suburban North County neighborhoods (while avoiding large numbers of traffic lights). During the day you’ll get to experience the full sweep of what San Diego County has to offer the intrepid cyclist.
Then there’s the finish line at MiraCosta College. Rolling through the finishing chute, you’ll enjoy being cheered by a scrum of enthusiastic greeters waiting to give you a finisher’s medal. The finish line expo will be buzzing with vendors, food, and cyclists telling tall tales about their exploits.
See you out there!
» Amy Snyder is San Diego Century stalwart. She lives in La Jolla, California and recently wrote Hell on Two Wheels, a book about a 3,000-mile nonstop bike race Outside Magazine called “the toughest test of endurance in the world.” Learn more about the book at hellontwowheelsbook.com.