Each organized century I've done seems to have it's own pluses and minuses. They're not timed so it's usually either the course and/or support that is lacking. Maybe lacking is too strong a word. Where there is room for improvement is probably more accurate. I'm sure that any Century I help plan would have it's own shortcomings, at least for the first year. For better or worse I have organized a foot race so I have some idea of the effort such events take to complete.
I live on the south side of Atlanta in what is often called the southern crescent. The southern crescent is primarily the region of Atlanta that encompasses Fayette, Clayton, and Henry counties.
So, let's plan our perfect century. To start I reviewed a list of local Century ride routes and Southern Crescent Cycling club ride routes. Most of our club rides start and finish in Henry County. The Century ride courses I reviewed are the Tour of Faith, Wilson 100, Dog Days 100, Tour de Pike, and Hospitality Highway (GA400) Century (HHC).
My thoughts are to use portions of these rides (except the HHC) because they were hopefully created by local riders using the best roads in each area. A lesser benefit is that the residents that live along these routes should be familiar with seeing cyclists on the street. Rider safety is paramount. You're not gonna care about the ugly shirt you got if you're dead! I tried to take into account the volunteer's ability to support riders on the course and to minimize the number of turns. If a turn had to be made then a right turn is preferred. A counter clockwise looped course helps in this regard.
I rode the inaugural Dog Days 100 century in August 2011. The route was out and back with few turns. Riders passed the same point twice making for easier rider support and thereby allowing for fewer well stocked water stations needed to serve riders well.
|Dog Days 100 - Griffin, GA|
|Tour de Pike - Concord, GA|
|Wilson 100 - Senoia, GA|
|Tony Serrano Century - Monroe, GA|
|Covington Century - Covington, GA|
|Tour of Faith - Peachtree City, GA|
|Hospitality Highway Century - Roswell, GA|
|Proposed Southern Crescent Century Course - Hampton, GA|
What about water stations? How many are needed and where should they be located? I've estimated about seven water stations would be adequate including one at the start/finish. I've also indicated the distance from the start/finish to each water station via the shortest distance a support vehicle might have to travel.
- Start/Finish AMS (subtract 6 miles for a Higher Living church venue start)
- Mile 14 - McDonough (14 miles from the start)
- Mile 30 - Jackson (24 miles from the start)
- Mile 44 - High Falls State Park (32 miles from the start)
- Mile 57 - Orchard Hill (19 miles from the start)
- Mile 69 - Zebulon (22 miles from the start)
- Mile 88 - Brooks (19 miles from the start)
- Start/Finish AMS - 8am-4pm (6am-6pm providing 2 hours before and after the ride)
- Mile 14 - McDonough - 8:30am-9:06am
- Mile 30 - Jackson - 9:10am-10:22am
- Mile 44 - High Falls State Park - 9:40am-11:27pm
- Mile 57 - Orchard Hill - 10:10am-12:29pm
- Mile 69 - Zebulon - 10:30am-1:25pm
- Mile 88 - Brooks - 11:20am-2:54pm
With the 100 mile course identified, what else needs to be considered? Other shorter courses are a must. Not everyone is willing or able to ride 100 miles. A 50 mile and 25 mile course should also be identified. Support and Gear (SAG) Wagons are a must. You can't plan for everything so several SAG vehicles would be needed. I think that's doable! Sponsors would be good. I hate begging for money so lets just say someone else will do this. What about event shirts? Should they be cotton, technical, and/or jersey? What about the artwork?
Other things to consider are:
- Port-a-potties and restroom locations, signage and course marking, food and fluids, registration forms, waivers, dates and pricing, printed maps and signs, permits, insurance, etc.
- Hampton (Henry Co.), McDonough (Henry Co.), Jackson (Butts Co.), Flovilla (Butts Co.), Orchard Hill (Spalding Co.), Zebulon (Pike Co.), Brooks (Fayette Co.), Woolsey (Fayette Co.)
- Tour de Pike Century – Sat. March 17th, 2012 – Fees: $25-$30
- Sawnee-Burnt Mountain Century Challenge – Sat. April 28, 2012 – Fees: $25-$45
- Hospitality Highway Century – Second Sunday in July – Fees: $40-$45
- Dog Days 100 – Third Saturday in August – Fees: Unknown
- Wilson 100 – Last Sunday in August – Fees: $30-$54
- Tony Serrano Century – Second Saturday in April – Fees: $30-$40
- Covington Century – This ride is typically in the Spring – Fees: Unknown
- Atlanta Motor Speedway AdvoCare 500 – August 31st – September 2nd, 2012 (AMS Events)
So, will this ride be on your 2012 schedule? I don't even know if it will be on mine. I plan to present it to my fellow club members at our annual party in January. In the interim, I may ride the route when the weather is better. I hope it's good.
Thanks for reading.