Stagecoach

2017 STAGECOACH CENTURY RIDE FAQ's

Where are the Final Rider Instructions? (READ/STUDY THESE 3 PAGES PLUS 1 PAGE COURSE MAP!)

  a.  Download PDF of Final Rider Instructions, click here.
  b.  Visit Final Rider Instructions webpage, click here.

Is there a gear drop?  Yes.  See Final Rider Instructions (click here)
    
Gear Drop:  Volunteers in Ocotillo will accept rider gear bags for storage on Sat morning in the start/finish area. Do not leave any valuables, as we cannot guarantee security. This service is primarily for riders wishing to leave rider goodie bags for pick-up after the ride and for outer layers of warm clothing worn just prior to the start. An additional gear drop is located at Rest Stop #1 until 10:00 A.M. These bags will be returned to Ocotillo at 10:30 A.M. and stored at the start/finish. Gear bags are marked and sorted by Bib #. Be sure to pick-up gear bags after the ride. Gear bags left at the event will be returned at rider’s expense.

When and where is Packet Pick up?

Friday, Feb 17, '17: Host hotel, Hampton Inn San Diego-Downtown, Noon - 8:00 P.M.  Free 10 min parking.  Riders may register in-person, Cash or Credit Card.

Saturday, Feb 18, '17: Ocotillo Community Park, 6:00 to 9:00 A.M. 266 West Imperial Hwy, Ocotillo, CA 92259, located 2 miles north on S2, after exiting Interstate 8.

Can I register on Friday and Saturday?  Yes. Please bring cash or credit card only. To save time, please download and complete the Registration Form. Also download and complete the separate San Diego County Waiver form and bring to packet pick-up. Place in the box marked "San Diego Waivers".

Can I pick up my friend's packets?  Yes.  Please bring ID and an authorization note, such as a printed email, from the person authorizing release of their packet.   

What is the timeline for Saturday?  (Preliminary timeline final to be posted week prior to event)

5:30 A.M.                 Parking Lot opens at Ocotillo Community Park
6:30 - 7:00 A.M.       Team Time Trial team captains check-in with Timing Marshal at Start Line
6:00 - 9:00 A.M.       Registration/Packet Pick-up in Ocotillo
7:00 – 7:10 A.M.       Team Time Trial start window
7:10 – 9:00 A.M.       Individual riders start window
10:00 - 1:15 P.M.      Lunch in Shelter Valley at mile 42 (or mile 58, after turnaround)
10:00 - 5:00 P.M.      Lunch in Ocotillo
11:00 - 5:30 P.M.      Optional post-ride food in Ocotillo (Desert Museum Fund-raiser)
Noon                        Rest Stop #2, near Aqua Caliente, mile 25, closes to outbound riders
12:15 P.M.               Scissors Crossing, mile 45, closes to outbound riders
12:45 P.M.                Rest Stop #3, Box Canyon, mile 37, closes to outbound riders
1:00 P.M.                 Mandatory turn-around. All riders must be riding south, returning to Ocotillo
1:15 P.M.                  Lunch in Shelter Valley closes.
5:00 P.M:                 Course closes. All riders must be off the bike course.

Is there a different registration fee for shorter distances?

Yes, starting with 2011, riders may select Full Course (up to 100 miles), or Short Course (26 - 50 miles).  The Short Course option is $15 less than the Full Course.

How hard is the Stagecoach Century?

The Stagecoach course is moderately difficult overall. We highly recommend reading the "Rider Levels" section for detailed information about the course and several different rider objectives. The overall difficulty is significantly affected by weather conditions on the day of the ride, mostly temperature & wind. All cyclists need to assess their own physical conditioning, weather conditions, and online course profiles when deciding what distance to ride. The course has several options marked, however, all riders may adjust their distance by safely executing a u-turn along the out-and-back course.

For beginner century cyclists, we recommend starting at the early start time. Typical beginner riders take eight to ten hours including stops to ride the 100-mile Stagecoach, depending on weather conditions. More advanced cyclists typically complete the entire route in under seven hours with minimal stops. The very fastest cyclists will be under five hours. Solo and Team Time Trial participants may finish well under 5 hours in good conditions.

What are some special considerations for beginners and riders new to Shadow Tour?

Recommend reading the "Rider Levels" section first. All Shadow Tour rides are hosted in remote locations. This optimizes natural scenery and minimizes vehicular traffic. As a direct consequence, some riders experience a sense of isolation and feel that they have been left alone out on the course, because there are no urban areas or heavy traffic around them. This is normal, especially on a long and unfamiliar desert century ride. Anxiety levels also tend to rise when weather conditions make riding more difficult.

Rest assured, all courses are designed so that you are never more than 9 miles (in front or to the rear) away from on-course Rest Stop support or a small community along the route. Further, we have CHP support and our own roving SAG Wagons on the course continuously. There are also many cyclists riding in both directions, so you can flag one down if you need help. This does not mean we can immediately evacuate every single rider at a moment's notice -- we can't--neither can any other major ride. But we will get to you as quickly as possible if you need help.

We strongly recommend riders unfamiliar with our course, or riders attempting their first full century, to take it "one small step at a time". At Stagecoach, you have the freedom to ride north on S2, and at any time, you may safely turn around and ride back south (with full Rest Stop support) to the start/finish at the Ocotillo Recreation Center. So if you're not sure of your level of conditioning, or if weather conditions develop out on the course, as they typically do in remote sections of the desert, consider turning back early. You will still have the option to reconsider. For example, you might ride north to Rest Stop #2 at 25 mile, then return south to Ocotillo giving you 50 miles; then repeat the process to complete a full century.  You will still receive credit for completing the Full Century, just have the Rest Stop #2 Vol's validate your Wristband on the 2nd round trip.

On-course resources such as SAG vehicles, communications, and volunteers are always limited. Don't expect a Shadow Tour vehicle to pick you up the instant you feel you cannot continue--it's simply not possible. If you feel you need help, try calling us on your cell phone, or dial 911 if it's an emergency, try flagging down another cyclist or motorist, or simply ride or walk back to the nearest Rest Stop and let the volunteers know you need assistance. We'll do our best to get you back to the Start/Finish as soon as possible.

Keep a level head out there and be patient. Constantly ask yourself how you're feeling. Use every single Rest Stop for fluids & energy products, including salt (pretzles or E-Caps), bananas, and Clif energy bars (major bonk busters). Keep an eye on the weather, your time, and how other riders are progressing. If you have any doubt, turn back early. You still have lots of options to have a great ride!

What camping options are available? (Updated 9-26-11)

On Friday, volunteers will be at the Ocotillo Community Park (2 miles north on S2 from Ocotillo Exit off Interstate 8 Freeway) all day setting up.  They can direct campers to various campsites. In Ocotillo, there is Jackson's Hideaway, a small full hook-up RV campsite inside Ocotillo.  Currently (2011) all sites are in long term use by contractors working on the Sunrise Power Link.  The manager said to check in December to see if any sites will become available for January.  The other full hookup RV campsite is Ocotillo RV Park.  Contact Lenn @ 619-417-7873 for more details.

Camping Shell CynA good choice for primitive RV and tent camping (sorry campers, its rocky soil) is along Shell Canyon Road east of S2 on the north side of Ocotillo (see photo to right). To get there, from the Interstate 8 Freeway Ocotillo Exit, go about 1.0 mile north on S2. Turn right on Shell Canyon (at stopsign) proceed about 1 mile and you will see other RV's and campers on Bureau of Land Management (public) land. Camping on this BLM land is free and you are located only about 2 miles from the Start/Finish area. However, there are no restrooms or shower facilities. Be sure to leave no trace if you stay. There is also a large Bureau of Land Management (BLM) primitive campsite located about 3-5 miles east of Ocotillo off the frontage road (Evan Hughes Road) heading toward Plaster City. The BLM campsite is free of charge.

Additionally, heading north on S2 outside the city limits of Ocotillo, much of the land is available for free primitive camping. Most improved roads are available to set up your RV or campsite. Best to look for other campers to be sure you're not on private land. Be sure to leave no trace.

Lastly, there is a fully remodeled, beautiful camping resort for full hook-up RV's and tents located on S2 about 34 miles north of Ocotillo, called The Butterfield Ranch Resort. Their website is www.butterfieldresort.com. Riders staying overnight Friday at the Butterfield resort, have the option of picking up their packets at the Host Hotel in San Diego Friday afternoon then starting and finishing at the Butterfield Resort, which is on the century route. The Butterfield resort is offering a 20% discount to Stagecoach Century Riders. That works out to $20/night for RV's and $15/night for tents. Their telephone is 760-765-1463.

What charities benefit from Shadow Tour sponsored events?

Shadow Tour is committed to giving back to the local communities and certain charitable institutions as part of our operating model. A portion of the proceeds from all Shadow Tour sponsored events are directed to the communities in which we operate as well as local charities. Since 2006, Shadow Tour, LLC, has contributed a total of more than $45,000 to the communities of Ocotillo, Shelter Valley, the Mountain Empire Scholarship Foundation through the Mountain Empire Men's Club in Pine Valley, and many other worthy charities and organizations. Contributions were made to the United Way and Scripps Cancer Center through Wells Fargo Bank.

What are the food items available at the event?

Listed below are the food items we plan on having the day of the event. The final list is subject to change, but this will give you a good idea of what will be available.

Rest Stops:

     Fresh Water
     Vitalyte (similar to Gatorade) premixed in 5-gallon jugs
     Clif Gel (variety of flavors)
     Oranges
     Bananas
     Clif Bars, variety of flavors, small sized bars
     Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
     Fig Newtons
     Assorted cookies
     Red Vines
     Pretzels
     Assorted candy
     Advil
     Lip balm
     Sunscreen
     Chamois Butt'r
     First Aid Kits
     Hand sanitizer
     Portajohns (plus 2 restrooms in Ocotillo)

Lunch Station:

     All standard rest stop items, plus:
     Freshly made Subway sandwiches:  Roast Beef, Ham, Turkey, and Vegetarian (first come, first served)
     Variety of chips
     Variety of 12 oz sodas and water
     Coffee
     Cookies
     Hot chicken noodle soup and Chili

Optional Post Ride food items subject to availability:  
     
Can you describe the climbing portions of Stagecoach Century in more detail?

Recommend reading the "Rider Levels" section first. The climbing is mostly front-loaded. You start at 373 feet and climb up to about 2,600 feet near the turn-around. These are mostly long gentle desert grades, except for three steeper passes of about 7-8% grades on the way out.

The three passes are steeper, but short. The steeper sections are about 1/2 to 1 mile long, then back to the easier grade. After you cross Hwy 78 at the north end of the course you will have a gradual 4.4 mile climb up about 600 feet to the turn-around point at mile 50. You can see the summits at the base of the climb, so you can gauge your effort accordingly. The trip home is beautiful, mostly downhill, winds usually at your back. Just one major pass to climb, Sweeny Pass, about 1/2 mile steep section, same as described earlier, then continues up at a more gentle grade for about another two miles, with a full Rest Stop near the top.

You may also want to visit the gallery section of this website and click on "Stagecoach Preview" to see pictures taken along the course route. These pictures show various terrain you will encounter and should give you a good idea of what to expect.

As a reminder, the course route is an out-and-back design. Rest Stops are positioned along the course at points where fluids and nutrition items might come in handy. The total distance you ride is completely up to you. If you want to ride to the 25 mile point--which will be marked--and turn back to make it a 50 miler, that is your choice...just be safe on the turn-around.

What's included in the registration price? 

For 2016: You receive entry to the ride, a Custom Finishers Medallion and Custom Pin, access to several carefully located and well-staffed Rest Stops with fluids and other nutritional items, a Subway Sandwich meal with chuckwagon-style chili, or soup, at the turn-around, on-course mechanic and SAG support, and route maps with directions and elevation profiles, an expanded Finish Festival with music, sponsor booths, and community food vendors.

You also receive, primarily, a very unique century ride featuring world-class, wide open pristine desert views on low traffic roads, with only two stop signs in 100 miles, held at the ideal time of year. One more added benefit: the super citizens of Ocotillo and Shelter Valley--have given us the keys to their quiet desert towns for the day, volunteered to help staff the Rest Stops, and opened their Community Centers for our use. This kind of local support is priceless!

As with any event, the organizers deal with myriad roadblocks, issues, and expenses such as insurance, law presence, permits, marketing, high fuel costs, limited volunteers, etc. Perhaps these challenges partially explain why San Diego has only a few century rides of its own. With your support we can change this forever!

Our goal is to host San Diego-based century rides that develop into ‘must ride’ events every year. To make this happen, we understand no amount of paid advertising will ever match the power, impact, and results of individual voices communicating our message to friends and other riders. We hope to earn your support and build a wide foundation of local and regional participation in this and other Shadow Tour rides.

Lastly, because we are interested in continuously improving our rides, we welcome any comments or suggestions you have for making this event even more enjoyable. 

I would like to do the ride, do I have to buy the jersey?  No. All apparel items such as Jerseys and T-shirts are completely optional.

What's in Ocotillo?

Ocotillo is a quiet, low-desert town of about 400 residents located about 80 miles east of San Diego, just off Interstate 8. It has no fancy restaurants or hotels. It's citizens enjoy a peaceful life with minimal outside interference. There is very little in the way of paved parking or other amenities many riders are accustomed to seeing at large rides. We hope you will accept the lack of these amenities in return for a scenic ride that has almost no traffic, no lights, and only two stop signs.

Restaurants:

     The Old Highway Cafe Restaurant: Open from 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., 7 days a week.
     The Lazy Lizard Saloon: Open daily 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 A.M.

We hope you'll register for the Stagecoach Century and also let your friends know about the ride. We're confident you will be amazed with the ride course, scenery, organization, and overall serenity of a world-class January cycling experience.

Gas Station: There is only one. It's located at the offramp from the Interstate 8 exit to Ocotillo, on the south side of Interstate 8. The fuel prices at this station are very high. We recommend refueling at gas stations located closer to San Diego, or El Centro, depending on which direction riders are traveling.

When will I receive my Voler Jersey?

Pre-ordered by Jan 8, '17: All riders who registered prior to the Jan 8 deadline will receive their jerseys at packet pick-up. A limited overprint was purchased, for inventory, and will be sold on Friday and Saturday at the packet pick-up location. These jerseys are specifically ordered for sales purposes and are not to be used for filling jerseys ordered before, or after, the mid-Nov deadline.

After Jan 8, '17: Riders may order a 2017 Stagecoach Century Jersey directly from Voler, using this link.  These jerseys will be mailed within 7 days, with free shipping!  Other years and event jerseys are also available.

Why is the host hotel in San Diego?

The Hampton Inn San Diego - Downtown, in San Diego, was named the host hotel for a number of reasons. First, there are no hotels in Ocotillo. The closest hotels are in El Centro, which is about 27 miles east of Ocotillo (see our Lodging section). Therefore, we decided to designate a quality, yet affordable, hotel, located near the San Diego Airport, as our Host Hotel. Further, for riders coming from Los Angeles and points north, this hotel breaks up the Friday trip and avoids the potentially heavy Friday traffic heading east on Interstate 8. Packet pick-up will be available on the Friday, the day prior to the event, from Noon to 8 P.M. at the Hampton Inn.  There are also numerous hotels nearby.

What about parking in Ocotillo?

Each year several hundred cars converge on Ocotillo from 6:00 to 9:00 A.M. We have volunteers in reflective vests supporting the parking operation. The parking plan will be designed to quickly and safely direct all vehicles into designated parking areas. We expect every vehicle will be parked within 1,000 feet of the registration area, making parking as convenient as possible.

Please be patient with volunteers and follow their directions. These volunteers are going to be in place well before the sun comes up. We all know we aren’t necessarily at our best at that time, so please work with us to keep the parking process as smooth and painless as possible.

NOTES:

1.  Friday Parking:  If you arrive on Friday, DO NOT park in Ocotillo Community Park lot adjacent to the Start/Finish.  It will be closed off with Police tape and cones.  This lot is the primary parking lot for the event.  Volunteers will direct and manage a very specific parking plan to optimize space for as many cars and possible (no RVs).  Cars and RVs have, in the past, arrived late at night on Friday, taken down the tape, moved the cones, and parked randomly in the empty lot making it a giant headache the next morning for volunteers and riders arriving at first light on Saturday.  If you arrive on Friday evening, please park along S2 near at least 200 meters away from the entrance.  At first light, you may park your car inside the main lot when volunteers are onsite at 5:30 A.M.  

2.  Off ramps from Freeway: Should traffic back up on either of the off ramps from Interstate 8, be sure to move as far to the right as possible.