I did the Hammerhead Century and loved everything except the ride along the coast. I saw no reason to take us along 101 or PCH with the horrible road conditions and high speed traffic. There's enough great terrain and roads in the Ojai Valley to fill 100 miles and keep us in the natural beauty of the region. The Solvang Century does just this. Please consider it for next year.
This was my first time riding this event, but I have at least 50 centuries in my resume, and this is one of the better organized events I've ridden. The rest stops were well manned with very good food in sufficient quantities. The route might have been marked better, but getting a little lost is part of the fun. The long climb coming after the 80 mile rest stop was a slog, but the fabulous descent was worth the price of admission. The strong headwinds were a bummer, but the organizers can't control nature and we have to play the hand we're dealt. I'll be back for this one, and hopefully will bring more friends with me
This was my 3rd time doing the ride (double metric each time). The support was great, as always! However, it seems like you guys are closing the high school rest stop and lunch stop too early. Granted, I started the ride a little late (7:25), but I'm not the slowest guy on the course. The high school volunteers had all but completely packed up when I got there the second time. Then I had to haul *** to make it to lunch before that shut down. And about a dozen people were still on the course behind me.
Once I finally finished the ride, I was really looking forward to a nice, hot shower. But there was no hot water in the men's locker room!!! (I talked to a woman outside who said they had hot water in their locker room.)
I agree with the comment about the patch- I've got a drawer of patches that I have no idea what to do with. I'd rather you guys save the money instead of including them. Not interested in socks either (I don't wear colored socks when I ride).
This was my first ever century so I have a tough time comparing it to anything other than the training rides I've done here in Orange County. There were a few great things about this century and I'll start with those. First, the volunteers were extremely enthusiastic, helpful and courteous. I can't say enough good things about them. I did the Hammerhead and it was quite possibly the most gorgeous stretch of cycling I've ever done. It was SOOOO scenic. I wanted to keep stopping to take photos but I knew that would just extend the day.
I thought the food choices at the rest stops were excellent. I loved the peanut butter and banana together. That was genius and delicious. Also, the cowbells and excited people at the finish was just enough celebration for me who was really happy to have just completed my very first 100 plus mile ride. It was a bonus that my wife was there at the finish line cheering me on.
As for the problems, there's no question that the biggest issue to me was the stretch on the 101. It was a miserable ride and an SUV towing a camper nearly took my buddy and I out. It would've been different had this been a better stretch of this road. Sure you're right along the coast but you can't enjoy it at all because you have to worry about getting killed.
Also, the road after you got off the 101 was in brutal shape. My buddy and I were joking that we were doing Paris Roubaix all of a sudden. It also seemed like there was a lot of padding the route with extraneous turns and twists through residential neighborhoods. Honestly, I would've preferred to do that first climb and descent twice rather than experience the terror of the 101 and that horrible road.
Another issue for me was the Gatorade. Once my Accelerade was gone, I needed some sports drink to replace it and as good as everything was at the rest stops, the Gatorade was ridiculously badly mixed universally. It tasted like the watered down juice we give my 15-month-old son.
And the other big thing, mentioned earlier, PLEASE make sure and put the arrows for turns BEFORE the turn rather than after the turn. Unlike others, I didn't find getting lost to be part of the fun.
The one last thing is that, and perhaps I just didn't understand the elevation breakdown on the Web site, but I didn't expect that last climb after the 80-mile rest stop to be so long and grueling. I might have misinterpreted things, but it looked like the top grade according to the elevation was right around 3 or 4 percent but it regularly seemed to get up to 8 and 9 percent. I just think if you're mentally ready for that it makes it easier. I wasn't. That could just be my problem.
All in all, I'm really happy I did it because of the great people and the lengthy first climb which was worth the price of admission, but all the other things will likely have me looking for a new spring/summer century in 2012.
My first time for the Ojai Century, but not my first time riding in this area. I loved the course. I saw others had concerns about the 101 section of the ride, but I don't think there are any good alternatives. The snack choices at the rest stops were great and all the voluteers were awesome. My only real complaint was the course marking. I agree that it was poorly marked. At one point I found the arrow tapes tail to tail pointing in opposite directions. Maybe, someone did this as a prank? I did the metric and there were a few points on the run in to Ojai were the markers were placed too far before the intersection. (One might think we were suppose to enter someone's private driveway.) It may have been clear for locals were the bike path was, but for newbies to the path I found this confusing. Also, I would err on the side of using too many markers. Route tic sheets are helpful, but I don't want to stop at every intersection look for a safe place to get out of traffic to consult the tic sheet. I disagree with whoever said that getting lost is part of the fun. I think that getting lost could end up being dangerous. If you've got an unexperienced rider who gets off course and a little paniced this could lead to disaster.
Good Morning: I did the metric century. From a people standpoint you had a very good group of volunteers both at registration and at SAG stops. Kudos to all those people who volunteered their time and provided great support for the riders. Obviously, like most of Socal...Ojai offers a great venue. I had a great ride and enjoyed the weekend. My only suggestion is to perhaps find some way to exclude the PCH segment. With all that our area has to offer in terms of great roads, is it really necessary to put riders out on a very busy freeway? I'd suggest restructuring the venue to avoid this unnerving and really unnecessary component. Take us inland and let's do some more climbing! We take on enough risk as cyclists...the freeway is a little over the top in my opinion. Someone in this thread did mention some sketchy route markings and I agree...there were a couple of mismarkings and in one instance arrows sent us in the completely wrong direction. That said, all in all I had a great time. Ride safe and ride often. Lance Soloway - Thousand Oaks.
This is my 4th time doing this ride. I think it was great. I like the stretch along the coast, it would be nice if you could change the wind direction though. The volunteers where great, the route is great. There are options for the knuckleheads who prefer more climbing.
Great ride and absolutely fun route. I ride many centurys during the year and always look forward to the OVC and the great staff. My only concern is the route markers. At some locations the direction was a bit confusing possibly due to the stickers coming loose and off the street and put back in the wrong direction. Otherwise again, a great ride. I don't think I have ever enjoyed ice cream so much than after a long ride.
I had a great time on the Hammerhead route. The big climb at the beginning was great. I would actually have preferred the challenge of a steeper climb. The ride around Lake Casitas was gorgeous. I didn't really mind riding the shoulder of the 101 as I routinely ride the shoulder of Interstate 5 in South Orange county on my way to San Diego. But I can see how most other riders would be apprehensive about it.
I also would've preferred to stay inland considering the stiff headwind we were met with along the coast. Also, the road condition on 101 is horrendous. On the Hammerhead route, it would've been nice to return to Ojai via the river trail (after lunch) for more climbing at the end of the event, instead of the "junk" miles through the residential/commercial areas (miles 62-75). One of the riders I was pacing with was almost doored in that area.
The volunteers were great! I mirror the comments about the Gatorade. This was only my 2nd century, but I've ridden and volunteered for AdventureCORPs events where Hammer Nutrition products were provided at all the rest stops. Those products (HEED, Perpetuem, etc) are by far superior to Gatorade. Luckily I brought my own supplies, so this wasn't a big issue for me. It was also be a good idea to have TUMS available at the stops as TUMS is great for dealing with cramps once they've started (assuming hydration and electrolytes are not the issue). The ice cream at the finish line hit the spot, but I was disappointed that you were charging for the BBQ at the end. At the Cruisin' the Conejo, the BBQ was included in the entry fee. On the other hand, I do appreciate the socks. And there is plenty of good food in Ojai to enjoy.
I'll definitely be back next year if you improve the route (by removing the 101 and residential streets).
Weather was perfect for riding; not too cold, not too hot, and didn't see the Sun all day!
For next year it would be nice if you could bulldoze a few of the hills to make the climbs easier and put down some fresh asphalt on the 101 to smooth out the ride and maybe even slow down the traffic on the 101 because the cars were going to fast to be able to draft.
The food was great; just get a bigger ice cream scoop for next year!
This was a great ride. I especially enjoyed the climb around the lake. Volunteers at the rest stops were friendly and helpful. You provided good food in variety at the stops. First time for me to Ride the Ojai, however the route duplicated some of the Ride for Literacy and Cool Breeze that I've ridden. Don't know any way around the 101, but I dread it every time. I look forward to next year. Thanks for a well organized, scenic ride!
Beautiful ride, but the marking of the course needs to be more than the arrows placed in the street. Simply put, if I didn't know the route from having lived in the area much of my life, it would be very easy to get lost here and off the route. Worse, there was no signage warning people coming down Ortega ridge that they are about to enter a road with more traffic on a blind stop/turn. There needs to be a human there helping riders navigate this safely.
I was one of the first to arrive at the lunch area at 10:20. The workers should be helping to make sandwiches, not simply saying "help yourself" asking riders to touch God only knows how many other rider's food. Workers should be wearing rubber gloves and helping with the food in all of the stops. No water for washing hands was provided either.
Fix these things, you'll have a much better ride.
My second year, last year I rode the century, this year tried the Hammerhead.
The good- really wonderful volunteers, good food choices at all the stops.
Highway 33 to Rose Valley was drop dead gorgeous, just a fantastic ride.
The bad- Highway 150 from Santa Paula to Dennison Summit. Narrow with heavy traffic by the time the bulk of the riders get there. I got honked and yelled at last year.... Not fun.
The ugly- highway 101. Until there is a dedicated bike path, re route back up Highway 150 past Lake Casitas. One microsecond of inattention by a driver or rider would be tragic.
I agree with several other comments, there are beautiful alternatives to 101 in this area.
Well after my two flats... the ride was great! this was my second time riding this event and again it was really fun. the weather was nice and cool and everyone at the SAG stations were great.
i agree with some of the riders about the section of the 101 not being in decent shape but we all seemed to manage it ok so i guess it wasn't "That" Bad... i enjoy the lunch break at patagonia i met alot of nice people sharing their cycling adventures. i guess thats what its all about... just enjoy riding and meeting people with a common interest and not complaining too much about the small things.
oh yeah... one more thing! next year please dont assign me Bib #1
I really think that cursed me with my two flats.
Thanks see ya all next june
In general this is a great ride (I did the century) and I'll probably be back next year. However, in my case the lack of good route marking really turned things inside out: I followed arrows pointing in the wrong direction on a turn before 1st SAG, but because the route doubles back on itself in that area I continued following subsequent markings down to 101 before I realized that I'd just taken a 23-mile shortcut. At that point I didn't feel like back tracking, but when I arrived at Patagonia the lunch stop wasn't ready, so I decided to make up lost miles by doing an up-and-back detour on the bike trail towards Ojai. When I arrived back at Patagonia around 10:20 the sandwiches still weren't ready. A little earlier than I usually have lunch, but your cue sheet said the lunch stop would be up and running at 10 am.
So those are my two main critiques: route marking needs definite improvement, and SAG stop organization needs to err on the side of showing up early and staying late, not vice versa. I personally don't have an issue with the coastal leg on 101; all the centuries I've ridden typically have segments with rough pavement, traffic and headwinds...but it'll be nice when they get the upgraded bike path opened on that stretch.