I’d like to share this brief story about the inaugural Sequoia Century, maybe you’d like to give it a try too?!
In early 1970, after I’d recently discovered the world of cycling, I was given a used Raleigh Record for my 13th birthday. I’d also saved up some of my paper route earnings so I could upgrade to a Campagnolo rear derailleur!
I rode that bike everywhere and I felt like a pro. I was free to explore the beautiful hills and valleys and the quiet roads to the west of the yet unborn Silicon Valley. Riding for hours every chance I got was my idea of heaven.
A few short years later I heard about an upcoming local bike event, a “Century Ride” pedaling 100 miles in one day!
I didn’t know then that I was witnessing the birth of the Sequoia Century, organized by the Western Wheelers Bike Club. I’d never ridden that far, or even half that far in one day, but being a young impetuous teenager I signed up and readied my bike!
I don’t remember where the ride started, what it cost, or the exact route but I will never forget what occurred while on the return leg that warm late spring day.
After we’d ridden all the way out to the coast, we were returning eastbound on Pescadero Road and I was really struggling to get over “Haskins Hill.” A teal green Studebaker pickup pulled alongside me and a grizzled old man leaned out the passenger side window and muttered: “What the hell’s all you God-dang bicycle riders doin all over the God-dang road?!” To his point, it was the first annual event, so bikes were fairly uncommon on those roads and we were indeed a long way from home.
I managed a meek smile, said something profound like “it’s a century….” then refocused on the slowly rolling patch of asphalt right in front of me.
At the top of that never ending climb I felt elated, but that didn’t last very long. On the following descent both my legs cramped up so quickly and painfully that it was all I could do to straighten both legs, skid to a stop and fall over in the middle of the road. Any true cyclist used toe-straps back then and the only way out of them was to reach down and loosen the clasp by hand but that wasn’t going to happen given the need to either keep my legs straight, or die. All we could do was laugh at my transient, though painful predicament.
The cramps did soon pass, we did make it back over Skyline to the finish and I’m still a cyclist over four decades later and those special memories will be with me forever.
I don’t recommend those old school toe-straps, or leg cramps, but I do wholeheartedly recommend riding in the 2016 Sequoia Century along with some good friends so that you too will be able to discovery your own special memories while riding on any of the three challenging and beautiful routes, out to the coast and back!
Live Long and Pedal!