Sunday, February 19, 2012

Palm Springs Century Feb 2012

7.00am start, with the band playing.
This event was huge. 12,000 riders, 5 distances from 5 miles to 100 miles.
The starts are staggered, even the 100 miler encourages riders to start from 6.30am - 8.00am.
Most of the way there was a crowd.
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The only tricky bit was the first hour, when we made our way towards the wind farms.
They positioned the windmills well, right in the gap where the wind blew hardest at a steady 25-30mph (40-50 kph).
I have never before followed riders leaning so much over to the balance against the wind.
Anyone with deep dish wheels, or not weighing enough, had loads of trouble. The sand was belting so hard into us at one point, that a local cop directing us actually had ski goggles on for protection.

Palm Springs is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Villa Brasil Motel in Culver City, so I decided to stay the night before the event. I left the booking up to Shawn, the Vet from Victorville that I met on the Santa Barbara Century that I rode in October 2011. 

He got a deal at a fancy hotel, just a short ride from the start .... nice. So the day before the event we did a reconnaissance ride in Palm Desert, about 15Km to the south, where the ride passed on the return leg. Here are a few photos, to help set the scene .......
Desert .... so why not farm date palms ?
Desert ..... so why not lots of grass ?
Famous for its abundance of exquisite golf courses,
but do we really have to share the lane with carts ?

 Now, back to what I came here for, to ride a hundred miles.
Here are the photos .......
Shawn and I eager to roll at 7.00am, downtown Palm Springs

One mile into the ride .... CONGESTION.
Oh no .... what's happening, wind ?
No wonder this  huge wind farm is here. The wind got up to 50KPH .......
the sand adding to our discomfort.
Finally we turn and the going gets easier as we head out into the desert.
With so many riders the stops were busy.
Organised ? This row of high school girls happily held our bike,
while we ducked into the  dunnys for a quick pee.

At every stop there were hundreds of high school kids, this event is a big charity ride and is much welcomed by the locals. There were three main stops that had the local school band hammering out the music to inspire us all. Smiles everywhere.
Got my Clif Shot Blocks, banana and some iced water from the food laden tables, now I'm ready to continue the downwind leg.
That didn't last long, we had a long haul back to Palm Springs into the wind again.
Not so strong as at the wind farm, but long lines were forming everywhere.
Yep, a lot of follow the leader all the way to the finish, with no-one keen to take the lead.
Here we are heading straight towards the peak that overlooks Palm Springs.
From 440' to 10,500' it towers over the town majestically.

At the finish, everyone was presented with a free ride t-shirt and the vendors were still there, doing a roaring trade .... and the band was still playing.


  1. All sounds a bit of a challenge especially the blowing sand.How many miles did you ride - 50 or 100 ??? Great idea to have bike holding personel outside the toilets too !! It all sounds so well organized.

    1. I road a US Century 100 miles ... 160Km
      They also have Metric Centuries .... 100Km
      There are quite a few events that are Double Centuries .... 200 miles
      In fact the Death Valley Double is so popular it is booked out way in advance ....

  2. Great photos and story, amazing to see the wind whipping those palm trees.