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Looking for the easiest possible century route in the southwest US

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Looking for the easiest possible century route in the southwest US

Old 02-22-21, 05:34 PM
  #1  
trevorjfitz
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Looking for the easiest possible century route in the southwest US

My eight-year-old has set a lofty goal of riding a century--I plan to ride with him. Over the past year he's done a couple of 50 miler's and can't seem to get enough. Seems with a reasonable training plan and a little help from me it may actually be possible for him. He's a couple weeks into preparations and I'm struggling to plan a good route for him--I could use some help.


I'm hopeful someone can suggest a route with the following characteristics:
  • start of ride is within a day's drive of southern CA (Orange County area) -- nor cal, AZ, NV, southern UT all seem reasonable
  • minimal elevation gain, an average descent ideal
  • safe--he has surprisingly mature road sense but I'm confident fatigue will challenge his mental acuity
  • unlikely headwind mid-May

Route nice to have's:
  • Interesting (i.e. not repeats on a boring section of road)
  • Probable tail wind mid-May
  • Occasional civilization
  • Comfortable weather in Mid May - likely rules out Palm Springs/Phoenix corridor

Other relevant info:
  • The route does not need to be a loop or an out and back
  • The route does not need to be a known century ride
  • The rest of the fam has offered to be a support crew

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Routes that match the criteria but are beyond the one-day drive would also be interesting to hear about.
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Old 02-22-21, 06:47 PM
  #2  
Tomm Willians
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Originally Posted by trevorjfitz View Post
My eight-year-old has set a lofty goal of riding a century--I plan to ride with him. Over the past year he's done a couple of 50 miler's and can't seem to get enough. Seems with a reasonable training plan and a little help from me it may actually be possible for him. He's a couple weeks into preparations and I'm struggling to plan a good route for him--I could use some help.


I'm hopeful someone can suggest a route with the following characteristics:
  • start of ride is within a day's drive of southern CA (Orange County area) -- nor cal, AZ, NV, southern UT all seem reasonable
  • minimal elevation gain, an average descent ideal
  • safe--he has surprisingly mature road sense but I'm confident fatigue will challenge his mental acuity
  • unlikely headwind mid-May

Route nice to have's:
  • Interesting (i.e. not repeats on a boring section of road)
  • Probable tail wind mid-May
  • Occasional civilization
  • Comfortable weather in Mid May - likely rules out Palm Springs/Phoenix corridor

Other relevant info:
  • The route does not need to be a loop or an out and back
  • The route does not need to be a known century ride
  • The rest of the fam has offered to be a support crew

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Routes that match the criteria but are beyond the one-day drive would also be interesting to hear about.
I did my first (and so far only) century last summer in an area near Lake Tahoe called the Sierra Valley. The route was a loop approximately 54-56 miles around going through the towns of Loyalton and Sierraville where supplies can be found.
The route takes you on wide open, well maintained roads with little traffic until you reach Hwy70 where there is a fair amount of cars but a massive shoulder and virtually straight with no blind spots.
Altitude in this area is about 4500 but I couldnít tell it affected me at all and I live at around 350.
This is of course a bit further than you asked for but the scenery is beautiful and it is one of the safest routes Iíve found regarding traffic and the mildest of hills.

Last edited by Tomm Willians; 02-22-21 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 02-23-21, 08:52 AM
  #3  
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In a similar discussion a while back, someone suggested Leadville to Canon City, CO. Follow the Arkansas River downhill and downstream, there's only one significant uphill to go around Royal Gorge 10 miles out of Canon City. The terrain is beautiful, and if you need to recover a day before heading home, take the train up the gorge or a whitewater rafting trip. You might want to delay until mid-June for the rafting, though.
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Old 02-23-21, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
In a similar discussion a while back, someone suggested Leadville to Canon City, CO.
I can imagine that to be just an incredible bike ride. I've driven from CO Springs to Bueno Vista and then onto Leadville about 10 years back with my family to came near Mt Elbert. The views were jaw dropping, especially coming from Brighton Michigan.
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Old 02-23-21, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
In a similar discussion a while back, someone suggested Leadville to Canon City, CO. Follow the Arkansas River downhill and downstream, there's only one significant uphill to go around Royal Gorge 10 miles out of Canon City. The terrain is beautiful, and if you need to recover a day before heading home, take the train up the gorge or a whitewater rafting trip. You might want to delay until mid-June for the rafting, though.
No. Not for an 8yr old. Hwy 24 from Leadville to Salida is a 60mph two-lane-no-shoulder puckerfest.

I get the desire to mix in different scenery --if you're gonna do a century, you should enjoy a new locale, right? That being said, is something like Malibu->San Clemente not under consideration? And if you were looking for super flat, Palmdale to Victorville and back? But that would be boring, deserty, and boring. And it's been so long since I've been out there I dunno how traffic would be. And it'd be boring.
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Old 02-23-21, 08:29 PM
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If in SoCal, an easy flattish century ride is to use SART-PCH-Laguna Cyn Rd-El Toro Rd-Aliso Creek Bikeway-Santiago Cyn Rd. You could include the Huntington Beach bike path along the beach to avoid PCH to add some miles as well to put you near 100 miles.
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Old 02-24-21, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
No. Not for an 8yr old. Hwy 24 from Leadville to Salida is a 60mph two-lane-no-shoulder puckerfest.
You may be right. But doesn't that description apply to almost all rural Colorado highways?
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Old 02-24-21, 09:02 AM
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Find a 400m track and ride 400 laps. Have fun!
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Old 02-24-21, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
You may be right. But doesn't that description apply to almost all rural Colorado highways?
For the most part, kinda yeah. That's why I qualified my comment. It's a doable stretch, but no way I'd take a child on it. But there are plenty of side roads depending on where you are. You can do a flat-ish 100mi going from Denver to Ft Collins and back, all on farm roads and good shoulders. But in the mountains? Not a lot of the routes have quality shoulders for extended miles on end.
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Old 02-24-21, 03:07 PM
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The Century a Month thread has several SoCal routes where a person took the train N, then rode South. LA to north county, maybe? But 100mi and only 3300ft of climbing.
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