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Downhill Century -- Do It Exist?
 Howard member not displaying online status
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posted 8/22/2008
at 7:12:30 PM
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ATTENTION: As of May 19, this top post contains important revisions...

I would hate to think I only dreamt it.

No, I distinctly recall reading a year or more ago about a century ride somewhere in the Southern Atlantic states (Carolinas? Georgia?) that is entirely 100% downhill. Of course, it starts at point A and ends at point B, so that pre- or post-shuttle transport between the two points is the greatest challenge. Because it couldn't possibly be the ride. I even recall reading that average speeds far exceed 20 mph... without exertion or perspiration!

I've told this (hopefully not tall) tale to many people -- particularly during or after a thoroughly "vertical" century ride. But when they inevitably raise an eyebrow and plead for the luscious details of such a cyclists' dream, I come up factless. And then the frowns and skepticism begin.

Please help! My credibility depends on you! Where? When?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Downhill Century exists! ... Because we created it ... in Colorado! It starts at Independence Pass, descends to Twin Lakes, then follows the Arkansas River to almost Canyon City and is a very steady 3-4% descent... for over 100 miles!

On Saturday, May 30th, the weekend AFTER Memorial Day weekend, the 1st Annual Club Hypoxia Downhill Century begins. Early Saturday morning, we'll meet at 9 a.m at the summit of Independence Pass, elev. 12,095 ft. No, we won't have a fine breakfast at Leadville's Columbine Cafe because it's closed down... but I'll still show what's left of it behind my Best Girl.



Then we'll set off on our bike quest -- 100 miles of downhill cycling.

Here's an elevation profile:



Our route first takes us to Buena Vista, where we'll encounter the one and only significant climb of the day -- The Wall, a 90 ft., half-mile, 5% gut churner, shown by the one small lump on the elevation profile.

Then we'll continue south to Salida, where, exhausted and spent, we'll stop for lunch. After refueling, we'll continue on to Howard (yes, the Downhill Century goes through a town called Howard -- how perfect is that?), Coaldale, Pleasanton, and FINALLY Parkdale... where we'll load the bikes up and drive back to Independence Pass. We'll then ponder dinner based on whether we actually burned any calories. i.e. Don't count on a lot of weight-loss from this ride.

If you would like to sign up for this ride, you can join up here.
thread edited on 5/19/2009 at 9:03:54 PM

 pedalpusher28 member offline
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posted 8/22/2008
at 7:16:56 PM
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With apologies to "Eight Men Out"...."say it's so Joe".

 siouxgeonz member offline
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posted 8/22/2008
at 7:26:58 PM
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YOu ever been to the east coast mountains?

I seriously doubt there's 100 miles of one direction - but ask the folks aroiund Greenville, SC. (Hmmm, one of my favorite cyclists in the universe lives near there...)

 hmspain member offline
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posted 8/22/2008
at 7:42:52 PM
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Downhill century... probably not... however, finding a century route (one way of course) with a serious tailwind?... LOL

 trplay member not displaying online status
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posted 8/22/2008
at 7:45:47 PM
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Nothing I know of like that in Georgia. The Assault on Mt. Mitchell starts in SC and ends at the top of Mt. Mitchell N.C. requiring a post ride shuttle but it is uphill and very demanding.

 pedalpusher28 member offline
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posted 8/22/2008
at 7:57:43 PM
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I think we're looking for something such as the Assualt DOWN Mt. Mitchell .

 Howard member not displaying online status
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posted 8/22/2008
at 8:18:47 PM
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Did a little research on my own, and came across an all-downhill century some guy designed for his friends or club. And get this... it was in Colorado! Leadville (10,152 ft.) to Cañon City (5,300 ft.). Developing...

Still, this isn't the one I heard about.

(pp#28: LOL!)
post edited on 8/22/2008 at 8:13:58 PM

 Sagebum member not displaying online status
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posted 8/22/2008
at 8:36:42 PM
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Howard

Having ridden all of it, I can see how the Arkansas River is a continuous downhill all the way from Fremont Pass but the roads are not. There are plenty of rollers from before Leadville to Salida, some pretty good ones.

Even in the canyon below Salida it isn't downhill all the way and there is a good hill getting over the hump that creates the Royal Gorge. I don't recall but certainly between 500 and a 1000 feet there alone.

I guess it depends what what you define as "all downhill" But when you find it I'll be right behind you!

Twain


 Howard member not displaying online status
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posted 8/22/2008
at 9:05:14 PM
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Starting in downtown Leadville, it is downhill nearly all the way to Buena Vista. As you come to within about two miles of Buena Vista, there is a singular climb. Seven of us did this ride last May, and I'm sure they can verify/deny the truth of this.

Then from Buena Vista down to Salida, again, it's a very downhill route, though there may or may not be some rollers here. I don't know as I've never done this part before. The elevation profile shows nothing but fun.

However, from Salida to "almost" Canon City, it truly is downhill all the way. BalticTiger and I did this ride in 2006 during Ride the Rockies. The "almost" part comes as one approaches Royal Gorge, and that, my friend is A HILL! But here's where the loophole kicks in. At the point where the climbing begins, you've already done 105 miles! So... with one clear exception of which I'm aware -- a couple hundred yards of upward pointing road -- Leadville to "almost" Canon City IS a downhill century!

Here's the map:



And here's the elevation profile:


The one clear uphill portion is the climb approaching Buena Vista. As far as I know, the jaggedy bits on the profile are just roadcut glitches where the road continues downhill through a ridge.

Now we need to organize it and market it and figure out to whom we'll donate the millions raised.

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posted 8/22/2008
at 9:47:04 PM
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Howard,

There is a place in Colorado that you can get at least 95 miles of downhill or at least flat land. If you start on top of Poncha Pass (just outside of Salida) and head south on 285 and 17 to Alamosa, keep going south to Romeo and head east past Manassa. It is right at 95 miles and you go from about 8900' down to 7600' (the floor of the San Louis Valley). I think if a person did a few loops around Alamosa you could easily get your century.

Doyle

 pedalpusher28 member offline
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posted 8/22/2008
at 9:58:27 PM
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I'm in. Just don't do it between 8/23 and the middle of October this year Pulleeeeezzzzzz!
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