The 2018 Century/Gran Fondo season is essentially over and it’s not too early to start thinking about next year. Here’s the early bird information list.
9 Saturday. Tour de Palm Springs. $55-87. Registration is open. Here’s your chance to check out your retirement options by cycling in the Palm Springs area! After last year’s horrendous car murder of a TdPS rider, maybe this year it will be better patrolled by the cops. Options for 9, 26, 51, or 102 miles.
9 Sunday. Velo Love Ride. $50. Registration opens November. This used to be called the Rice Valley Tandem Ride and it’s usually on or close to Valentine’s Day, hence the name. A low-key event with a flat ride around the Sutter Buttes outside of Chico. Starts in Gridley, just north of Yuba City—a bit of a schlep but a great ride. The meal at the end is worth it. Has a real “locals” feel rather than the usual mass-event mosh pit vibe. Sponsored by Chico Velo, the same fine folks who put on the Chico Wildflower. 40, 60 and 100 mile options.
23 Saturday. Pedaling Paths to Independence. $45. Registration is open. 65 or 25 mile routes. This is a pretty easy metric in the Valley that is a benefit for the Community Center for the Blind. It’s cheap too. Mostly flat and not too demanding unless the wind is blowing. A good early season ride. Starts in Linden, east of Stockton.
9 Saturday. Solvang Century. $95 online. Registration is open. It’s a long after-work Friday drive down to Solvang but you get to amble back home on Sunday. (But DST does begin that morning.) And be sure to reserve a motel room well in advance. Solvang is a big event with lots of cyclists. If you like crowds, this is your ride. The rest stop food is perfunctory but ample and no lunch is included (that’s $25 more!). 51, 56, 70, and 100 mile options.
30 Saturday. Cinderella Classic & Challenge. Registration opens January 2019. $35/$65. Limited to 2,500 women and girls. 25, 65 or 85 miles. Sponsored by Valley Spokesmen, the very first women/girls only century ride now in its 43rd year. Boys will have to settle for Different Spokes’ very own Evil Stepsisters ride!
6-7 Saturday/Sunday. L’Eroica California. $150. Registration is open. 35, 75, 82, and 130 mile routes for classic bikes; 82 mile route for all bikes. The rides are part of the two-day festival of vintage bicycles, held in Paso Robles. You have to have a vintage bike to participate, e.g. no STI-like shifters, no clipless pedals, basically no bikes made before 1987 and the older the better for the classic routes. But this year you can ride your modern bike on the 82-mile route on Saturday.
13 Saturday. Tierra Bella. $?. Registration opens on December 15. Limit of 2,000. A club fav and it’s close by, in Gilroy, too. Great roads that are not suburbanized (yet). Post-ride meal is pretty good too. For unknown karmic reasons this ride gets horrendously rained out periodically. But in dry years it’s a fantastic ride.
13 Saturday. Sea Otter Classic. $90 or 110? Registration is open. Did you know the Sea Otter Classic is more than a glitter show of new bike products and race watching? Yes, last year it had four rides, and in the spirit of “something for everyone” they offer two road rides (91 or 49 miles), a mountain bike ride (19 miles) , as well as a fad du jour “gravel grinder” (29 miles).
20 Saturday. Sierra Century. $60 Registration is open. 32 or 65 mile routes. A beautiful ride in the Gold Country.
20 Saturday. Primavera Century. $? Registration opens Dec. 1. 100, 85, 63 and 25 mile routes. This year Calaveras Road will be fully open. Starts conveniently in Fremont but too early to get there by BART (except for the 25-mile fun ride).
27 Saturday. Bike Around The Buttes. $40/$45/$50. Registration opens 1/1/19. If you can’t make it to Chico Velo’s Velo-Love Ride in February, this ride covers similar roads in the Sutter Buttes area. Choice of 17.5, 40 or 100 mile routes.
27 Saturday? Mt. Hamilton Challenge. For the past two years the Mt. Hamilton Challenge has been cancelled due to weather (2017) and road closure (2018). But Pedalera promises it will be back for 2019. Information will be up on their website in February 2019.
27 Saturday. SLO Wildflower Century. $75 early registration. Registration opens January 6, 2019. 100, 75, 64, 52 or 45 mile routes.
28 Sunday. Chico Wildflower. $45/$75 early registration. Registration is open. 12, 30, 60, 65, 100, and 125-mile routes. This century is a club favorite. A group of Spokers usually arranges to have dinner together the night before in Chico. Booking lodging requires advance planning, as the Wildflower will fill up all the motel rooms in the area. If you can take Monday off from work, so much the better because you will almost certainly be whipped after the ride and the excellent post-ride dinner; driving back right after is just a chore.
4 Saturday. Wine Country Century. $70 to 110? Registration opens January 1, 2019, which is earlier than usual. Another club fave. This one usually sells out quickly. Limited to 2,000.
5 Sunday. Grizzly Peak Century. Fee not yet announced; registration not yet open. 76, 102 or 110-mile road routes. Capped at 1,000 riders. Starts in Moraga so very easy to get to except not by BART because BART doesn’t open up early enough! The GPC is most definitely not a flat route–it’s a climber’s ride. This one always sells out, so don’t wait too long after registration opens, which I am guessing will be around the New Year. The end-of-ride meal is most definitely homemade and delicious!
11 Saturday. I Care Classic. $? Registration not open yet. Jerome recommends this one–it takes place around Morgan Hill and Gilroy covering some of the same area as the Tierra Bella but a month later. No exact date set yet but it usually takes place on the second Saturday of May. 100, 100k, 50, and 20-mile fun ride.
18 Saturday. Davis Double. $? Registration opens March 1, 2019. No information yet but the DD always takes place! This is their 50th year so expect something special.
18 Saturday. Strawberry Fields Forever. $100. 30, 61 and 101 mile routes. A pleasant ride in the Santa Cruz and Watsonville area.
2 Sunday? Sequoia Century. No information yet but Western Wheelers always puts this century on.
15 Saturday. Mile High 100. $55 to 85. Registration opens December 1. 33, 56, and 108 mile routes. Formerly the Lake Almanor Century.
22 Saturday. RBC Gran Fondo Silicon Valley. $650/$225. Registration is open. Yes, you read that right: $650 for a friggin’ 73-mile ride from Palo Alto to the San Mateo coast and back along the roads we ride all the time—Kings Mtn., Tunitas Creek, Stage Road, Pescadero Creek, La Honda Road. For the venture capitalist in your family. Well, you don’t have to drive far to do this one.