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Sequoia Century and 200K

See the official Sequoia Century ride details.

The Western Wheelers Bicycle Club presents the Sequoia Century in late May or early June each year (June 3, 2012), out of Palo Alto, CA.

The Sequoia Century is the Western Wheelers Bicycle Club's annual, fully supported bicycling event. Starting at the Stanford Blood Center in Palo Alto, CA, the ride winds through the redwoods.

The 200K, 100 mile and 100K routes climb Redwood Gulch before descending toward the coast. The route is challenging. Redwood Gulch and Big Basin Way climbs total 1900 feet in 4.5 miles. There are also mellower 50 mile, 50K and 21 mile routes.

Registrations may be paid online by Visa or Mastercard credit card or by check. Registrations are not refundable, but may be transferred. The ride will not be cancelled due to bad weather.

There are an amazing number of ride options, suitable for any cyclist:

  • 200K route — 124 miles with 10,600' ascent (I recorded ~118 miles and ~10,300' ascent).
  • 100M route — 102 miles with 9,000' ascent.
  • 100K route — 68 miles with 6,000' ascent.
  • 50M route — 52 miles with 2,700 ascent.
  • 50K route — 31 miles with 1,500 ascent.
  • 20M route — 21 miles with 1,200 ascent.

I’ve ridden the Sequoia Century three times. Twice it was beautiful, the other time miserable, with rain and fog, so be prepared!

Quality miles, nearly all of 'em

The ride has few junk miles; most of it is very pleasant riding through the hills.

The exception is Hwy 1 heading north on the 200K route; the view is beautiful, but the traffic whizzing by at high speed is too unsettling and dangerous for my taste. Skyline Blvd can also be a bit sketchy, but the mileage there is limited.

2012 Ride Summary

I had two “mechanicals” that cost me at least 15 minutes of stop-time:

  • My brand-new (<100 miles) Schwalbe Ultremo HT tubular dropped to ~20 PSI or so (my first experience with the Ultremo HT was failure after ~80 miles), and I believe this pressure drop was another tire defect as there was no sign of a puncture, and a slight lumpiness developed, just as with the first defective tire. However, 1/2 tube of Stan’s No Tubes sealant did seal the tire.
  • The bolts holding the Shimano DuraAce Di2 battery almost rattled out. Fortunately I noticed and rectified the issue.

Ride statistics:

Roll time: 7:05 (time bike was moving)
Clock time: 8:15*
Ascent: 10289'
Watts: 224
Heart rate: 128
Distance: 117.8 miles
* Actual time, includes rest stops, mechanical stops, etc


Ride support is good in the sense of having a variety of food, including fresh berries, Costco muffins, bags of Halloween-type bite-size sugary candy, if you care for that kind of crap (berries excepted).

Nothing much wrong with the (non organic) berries, but the last thing I want is to eat a pound of berries to get the calories I need! A pound of blackberries yields a measly ~220 calories of mostly fructose, a gastrointestinal fun-house when riding hard. But after 5 pounds or so, that dump will sure feel like relief the next day!

I sorely missed energy gels (none of any kind). The only energy drink was urine-colored Gatorade, a gag-me beverage at best for intensive cycling (mostly sucrose AFAIK), and the lemon-lime flavor is sure to make me not want to piss in the wrong bottle! Not very appetizing. I greatly prefer any of the Hammer Nutrition beverages, except lemon-lime flavor HEED which is almost as disgusting, but at least it has maltodextrin for its calories.

I congratulated myself on having taken along 400 calories of Perpetuem Solids and 300 calories of GU energy gel, but by mile 90 I was totally out of the Good Stuff. But I managed it another 10 miles or so through to the last rest stop, where I downed some barely food-grade Halloween style bite-size candy. I was in no damned mood for a belly full of crappy Costco trans-fat baked goods or a pound of berries in my gut with the steep Tunitas Creek climb ahead, which I planned to work really hard (in fact I did my all time best).

In total, I ate only about 1000 calories, but burned 5700. This is on the low side for me, but it worked OK.

200K route

I felt rather lonely on the 200K route because I didn’t see a single other rider on the 200K extra loop.

As I headed north, I did see thousands of cyclists heading south, apparently part of some ride-to-LA thing... interesting at first, then a big turn-off in its supersize-me rock-concert numbers... how is being part of a fully-supported orgy of thousands of riders appealing exactly? I was out of my last GU, and feeling grumpy at that point.

Power, heart rate, elevation profile

The graph below shows a few minutes extra time after the finish.

The Tunitas Creek ascent was my fastest ever, not bad after riding 100 miles.

Click for larger graph. Data is smoothed.

2012 Sequoia Century power and heart rate with elevation profile
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