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TOUR OF THE UNKNOWN COAST
Saturday, May 13, Humboldt County Fairgrounds, Ferndale, CA.
ww.tuccycle.org
(707)845-6117

Twenty-eight years before there was the a Tour of California, there was the Tour of the Unknown Coast, a 100-miler that has been called "California's Toughest Century." Back in the late 80's & early 90's that 100-mile route was the last stage of a three-day stage race. Lance Armstrong even rode it when he was young buck on the Montgomery Team.

Today we still do the 100-miler, and it is the stuff of legends. With just over 10,000 of climbing it's a worthy challenge for any rider, even a pro. From Ferndale you'll travel through quiet farmlands before reaching the majesty of 300-foot tall redwoods along the famed Avenue of the Giants before climbing over Panther Gap and dropping down into the quiet town of Honeydew. Then it's on to Petrolia and a one of the last undeveloped stretches of coastline in California. Looming ahead is "The Wall," formidable climb overlooking the ocean. You'll then lose all that hard-earned altitude with a screaming descent into Capetown where you'll begin the final challenge of the "Endless Hills. Once to the top you'll enjoy a 4-mile downhill plunge back to Ferndale, where a Mexican buffet awaits. Be the fastest man or woman and have your name engraved on our annual trophy plaque.

We pride ourselves in providing a beautiful and challenging ride with all the trimmings. Along the route are five rest stops, each stocked with snacks, water, Hammer Gel, CytoMax & more. At the 61-mile mark is lunch stop where we'll also have sandwiches, soup, massage therapists and a full-service bike mechanic.

100 KILOMETER CHALLENGE: Want more than 50 miles, but aren't ready for a full 100? The 100K (62 miles) follows the same up and back route as the 50-miler, but continues on from the 50-mile turnaround with an added 6-mile out & back section of the Avenue of the Giants. Start Time 7:30am

50 MILE CHALLENGE: This beautiful ride travels the Eel River Valley to Rio Dell, down Hwy 101 to the Avenue of the Giants and a rest stop/turnaround at the Immortal Tree, then back to Ferndale. Start Time 8:00 am

20 MILE FAMILY RIDE: This is for those who don't like hills. There is only one very small climb leaving Ferndale as you head out through the scenic Eel River Valley. A rest stop awaits at the turnaround on Price Creek Road. Start Time 10:30 am

10 MILE FARM TOUR: NO HILLS! A safe, scenic ride through the Ferndale farmlands. Snacks and beverages at the turnaround. We recommend this ride for familys with young children. Roads closed to vehicular traffic. Start Time 12 Noon

Early Registration/Packet Pickup: The evening before from 5-8pm at the Fairgrounds.
Pasta Feed -- all you can eat -- 5 to 8 pm Friday.
Ride Day Breakfast -- a variety of morning fare & coffee -- at the Fairgrounds 6 to 9 am ride morning.

1st photo: The 3rd rider back, the one standing and straining over the front, is a young Lance Armstrong.

2nd photo: Yeah, we have big trees in Humboldt. This was taken along the Avenue of the Giants. The 50-mile, 100-K and 100-miler all take this route.

3rd photo: The 100-mile course & the profile.

4th photo: Climbing the wall. At mile 80 the ride hits the appropriately named "Wall," a 1/2 mile super-steep pitch. But pace yourself, there's still more that 3000' of climbing to go!
 

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that is a great ride and is run very well, did it a 3 years ago....but want to pass on a word of caution....the last 5 miles or so are a steep, very rough descent back into Ferndale and crashes are common in this stretch, most riders are VERY tired at that point and it is easy to have your hands knocked off the bars by a nasty bump
 

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might have to do this one! what are lodging costs, aproximatly hat is? and drive time from san francisco? I am moving back to ca at the end of next week, so i dont really know the time allotment for driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Free Camping!

junglejesus said:
might have to do this one! what are lodging costs, aproximatly hat is? and drive time from san francisco? I am moving back to ca at the end of next week, so i dont really know the time allotment for driving.
Regarding that final descent, yeah it's fast & the road surface is far from ideal, but crashes are actually rare. There was one reported in '03. I work with that guy, he admits he was riding over his head, trying to keep up with his better-skilled buddy. None since, and a handful in the years prior.

Ferndale is 5 hours North of San Fran. There's free camping right at the fairgrounds. Wake up in your tent or car, stumble 50 yards to the hall for coffee & breakfast, then the start line is just 100 yards away.

There are hotels in Ferndale, cheaper ones in Fortuna, Eureka, Arcata. For lodging info go here: http://www.redwoodvisitor.org/
 

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Big-foot said:
Regarding that final descent, yeah it's fast & the road surface is far from ideal, but crashes are actually rare. There was one reported in '03. I work with that guy, he admits he was riding over his head, trying to keep up with his better-skilled buddy. None since, and a handful in the years prior.

Ferndale is 5 hours North of San Fran. There's free camping right at the fairgrounds. Wake up in your tent or car, stumble 50 yards to the hall for coffee & breakfast, then the start line is just 100 yards away.

There are hotels in Ferndale, cheaper ones in Fortuna, Eureka, Arcata. For lodging info go here: http://www.redwoodvisitor.org/

I mispoke and should not have used the word common, I've actually only heard of a few crashes in that stretch, one was also a friend (from Ukiah) who went down in 2003 when he had his hands knocked off the bars by a bump....anyway, I got through OK but took it easy in the last bit since I'd been warned
 

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Make hotel reservations early...

Just found out that Humboldt State University's graduation is that same weekend, so hotels are gonna get booked. My advice, make your reservations now, or plan on taking advantage of the free camping right at the ride venue. There are hotels in Ferndale, cheaper ones in Fortuna, Eureka, Arcata. For lodging info go here: http://www.redwoodvisitor.org/[/QUOTE]

Big-foot
www.tuccycle.org
 

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Big-foot said:
TOUR OF THE UNKNOWN COAST
Saturday, May 13, Humboldt County Fairgrounds, Ferndale, CA.
ww.tuccycle.org
(707)845-6117
Thanks for the heads up. We visited the area last June and want to come back and do the full century. We posted a report of our great stay in Humboldt State Park:
http://www.steephill.tv/galleries/2005/humboldt-sp/

The report has cycling and camping photos and a write up of the south end of the route. Hopefully, we can make it back especially since there is apparently free camping as someone mentioned!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Plenty of FREE camping...

We've had a few calls from folks concerned that the campground will fill up. No worries! The Humboldt County Fairground is huge, there are plenty of places to pitch a tent or park a rig for the night. Camping is free Friday AND Saturday nights. There are showers, real bathrooms and for those that need it, full RV hook-ups are available for $15 a night.

We're doing a pasta feed on Friday night, and a breakfast buffet on ride morning. So riders can wake up in their tents, vans, etc., stumble over for some coffee, French toast & eggs, then go ride. Easy.


www.tuccycle.org
 

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ok I am bummed its the same day as the cathill classic down here in los gatos. I really was looking forward to this ride, but cant go due to the importance of cats hill.
 

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Larger map & profile?

Is there a larger version of the course map & profile available? Couldn't find these details on the website.
 

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Verbal profile

I have a profile from my HAC4 somewhere. It's pretty lumpy. The only truly flat sections are the first 5 or so and miles 70-80 along the coast, into the headwind.

Here's a verbal profile: Go out into the flats about 5 miles, into the three sisters which are not too big but enuf to cause an initial selection. From there there is about 1000 feet of total climbing, nothing more than half a mile long or so, on the way to the base of panther gap. Panther comes at about mile 40, and is 3000 feet over 7 or 8 miles. The descent from panther is wicked fast with about 6 or 7 switchbacks. From the bottom of Panther (mile 55?) to the coast (mile 70?) is a series of "rollers" that should not be underestimated. One pretty good lump after Petrolia, and you're on the coast. 10 miles pan flat to the wall. The wall is about 800 feet over a mile, but don't shoot your wad - just get up it. Drop back down to sea level and the endless hill starts (2000 feet vertical). It starts steep, 15% or so, flattens for a while, gets your hopes up with a slight descent, crushes them with another steep, 500-750 vertical pitch, then drops seven miles to the finish with a couple of power climbs to keep you honest. The ride consistently registers 9,000 feet of vertical, give or take, depending on the altimeter. Really a rider's ride.

The road's a little bumpy after all the rains, i.e.don't bring your 60 dollar race tires.

Lots of climbing north of 10%. I'd recommend a 39/27, minimum.
 

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Thanks for the description. My wife is interested in the profile. She'll be doing the 62 mile variation. I love climbing, so the more the better. If it's not too much trouble to dig up the profile to post here, she would really appreciate it.

I'll be riding a 34/23 - close enough.

So how bad is the pavement? We did the Chico Wildflower this past weekend & the pavement was terrible! It was mostly rough chipseal (worse than normal chipseal). Potholes aren't good either, but I'll take them on otherwise smooth pavement any day over chipseal.

What do you think the temps will be in the warmest areas? I just hate the heat.

Also, are you familiar with the camping environment at the fairground? Will it be a big noisy party or can a person actually get a good night sleep there? I read somewhere there is a college graduation the same weekend? That sounds noisy!
 

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100k

For her, figure 5 or 6 climbs each way (it's an out/back). None of them are more than a few hundred feet, but she'll feel like she's been on a ride. It's deceptively hard.

As far as road surface goes I've heard it's pretty rough in places this year, but there's none of that irritating buzz like that nasty chip-seal at wildflower. It's not a ride to put your head down and assume the road's been swept in front of you. If you pay attention and use good equipment there shouldn't be any issues, and the scenery is STUNNING right now. Much better and more varied than Wildflower.

I know that profile is somewhere....here's a larger version of the map - you can save it and enlarge it. Be aware that the "real" profile is lumpier than the one in the pic, and the 100 K turns around near the base of the first big climb.

Oh yeah, camping should be pretty quiet. Graduation's 45 minutes away, and it won't be much of an issue beyond lookie-loo parents going the wrong way down one way streets.

https://www.directionsmag.com/images/mapgallery/31_lg.jpg
 

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The bigger version of the map is good enough, thank you! I wonder why they don't post this on the TUC website.

Thanks for all the info. We're really looking forward to this one & the peace & quiet up there.
 
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