To the standard sedan-driving Joe Sixpack, spring ushers in blooming flowers and college basketball playoffs. But to cyclists, it's the season of the century ride. And whether you've slacked on your offseason training plans or digested too many sweets over the cold months, your itch to get in the saddle and attempt to pedal 100 miles will not be deterred.
Here are some great century rides across the U.S. that you can sink your teeth into as the cycling season begins.
Saturday, April 13, 2019 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina
As a ride through North Carolina, the TarWheel gets our vote for cleverest name. A fully supported ride with fruit smoothies (yes, you read that correctly) at SAG stops, the event includes three different routes and distances for cyclists of all skill levels.
Issaqueena's Last Ride
Saturday, April 13, 2019 in Walhalla, South Carolina
Walhalla, South Carolina, introduces the Blue Ridge Mountains to ambitious cyclists on this challenging century. With a great deal of elevation gain, you better hope you stuck to your offseason training plan if you want to complete this ride. And if you manage to keep your cadence to the finish, you'll be in for spectacular views of Lake Jocassee and a delicious post-ride meal.
Natchez Trace Century Ride
Saturday, May 4, 2019 in Ridgeland, Mississippi
Experience some of the best that southern hospitality has to offer. Of course, you'll be pedaling through it, but that won't stop you from enjoying the beauty of the abundant wildlife sure to spring up around the Ross Barnett Reservoir. The ride includes four distances depending on your capability, but to experience everything the mighty Mississippi has to offer, we recommend opting for the full 100-mile journey.
Canyon Belgian Waffle Ride
Sunday, May 5, 2019 in San Marcos, California
While not a century per say, this challenging ride is too good to pass up and features 235K of suffering over bone grinding roads, mud, arduous climbs and sleet, heat and winds. It's a never ending string of climbs that will make you hurt so good when it's over. Sign up for the ultimate test with "The Waffle," which features 146 miles and over 13,000 feet of climbing, or, if that's too much, settle for "The Wafer," with 68 miles and a 7,000-foot elevation change.
Tour of Long Beach
Saturday, May 11, 2019 in Long Beach, California
A charity ride that raised over $300,000 to support Pediatric Cancer Research one year, this century packs thousands of riders on the roads of Long Beach, California. Tony Cruz, a 2000 U.S. Olympian and former pro cyclist, carefully plans all the routes, so you know you're in for a treat. But don't let his credentials scare the novice riders, who can always participate in the 5-mile family fun ride.
Santa Fe Century
Sunday, May 19, 2019 in Santa Fe, New Mexico
One of the most insanely affordable century rides in the country—and beautiful to boot—the Santa Fe Century offers participants delicious food stops, challenges for cyclists of all abilities and the chance to cycle the famed Turquois Trail through the old mining towns and villages of scenic New Mexico. New in its 33rd year, these ride organizers have plenty of experience to ensure a great time.
Ride for Missing Children
Friday, June 7, 2019 in Oneida, New York
Unlike many century rides that allow its participants to pedal at their own pace, the Ride for Missing Children rides as a massive, two-by-two peloton, averaging 14 miles per hour. The ride stops at local schools for educational rest stops that include silent tributes to missing children. A ride for a great cause, this hundred-miler is sure to be an experience like no other.
Century Experience Ride
Saturday, June 15, 2019 in Florissant, Colorado
It's tough to imagine a century ride spoiling its participants, but the Mountain Top Experience manages to accomplish just that. The ride—or experience, rather—will wine and dine all cyclists with a free lunch, free massage and an after-party with beer and ice cream. Oh, and you'll see some gorgeous Colorado countryside, all on paved roads, with six aid stations and SAG vehicles.
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