2012 Stagecoach January Rider Update

Email sent Jan 8, '12

Sunrise in Ocotillo Jan '11
Official Charity:  Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund   
  8th Annual 2012
  Stagecoach Century
     and Time Trials


Date:  Sat, Jan 14, '12

  Ocotillo, CA
(80 miles east of San Diego, just off I-8)


Start Window:

 7:00-7:10 A.M: Time Trial
 7:10-9:00 A.M: All Riders

Distances:  26, 50, 73, 84, 90, and 100 miles.

Out-and-back route allows riders to chose own distances.   

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s as of 1/8/12


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8th Annual 2012 Stagecoach Century      
~~ and ~~
Solo/Tandem/4-Person 100-Mile Time Trials


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Dear Registered Stagecoach Rider,

That thundering sound, over the Tecate Divide, deep in the Badlands, is the Wild West, calling you.  It's finally time to Saddle up for the 2012 Stagecoach Century Stampede!

                 Stagecoach Countdown = 6 Days!  

This email contains final updated information for the
8th Annual 2012 Stagecoach Century
on Sat, Jan 14, '12.  The December Rider Update is re-printed below, with some minor updates.  Please carefully read this entire email.   All previous emails are also posted on the website under the "News" tab at the top of the page.

SAFETY is the top Stagecoach priority.  This is not a race! Ride with care.  Everyone must be alert at all times for road hazards such as: potholes, road debris, wind gusts, riders turning/stopping unexpectedly, and vehicle traffic.

Ride your like your life depends upon it, because it does!  Point out hazards to other riders, announce your intentions, such as "Stopping!", or "On your left!".  Be kind to volunteers and other riders, don't antagonize drivers, even when they behave aggressively. Keep a cool head out there.

Do your homework!  Read all about Stagecoach.  As a wise rider once said, "Stagecoach is 99% Mental; the other 99% is Physical".  Exactly!  Knowing what to expect improves your chances for success, because it builds confidence.  But it's still a gutsy, physically demanding ride. Tricky weather can make it much harder.  Read, study, and prepare.

Stagecoach is a unique event, requiring preparation and commanding respect from of all participants.  To assist with your preparations, carefully read this email with important pre-ride updates, tips, and links. Everything below is also posted on the website.  The items below are the absolute minimum everyone must read before participating:

     1. Final Rider Instructions:  The Final Rider Instructions summarize what every rider needs to know and contains a Course Map.  All riders must carefully study these instructions before rolling.  Any last-minute changes will be posted in the "News" section of the Stagecoach webpage.     

     2.  San Diego County Waiver Form:  Download, complete, date, and sign.  Bring to Packet Pick up and put in the box.  This is a mandatory San Diego County requirement for all participants.  Thanks in advance for your compliance.

     3.  Rider Levels:  The Rider Levels section on the website explains how to ride the course based on different goals/conditioning levels.  There's also substantial info about adjusting to varied weather conditions along the course. 
      January Updates & Reminders

Weather:  Accuweather is forecasting a chilly start, Lo of 41F & High of 69F.  We recommend layering for warmth, with a base layer, a jersey, a long-sleeved jacket, long-finger gloves, leg warmers, and toe covers.  The north end of the course past Shelter Valley (50-mi) is at 2,400 Ft El and will be 10-15 F cooler than Ocotillo (Start/Finish) at 400 Ft El.  Most riders warm up as the sun rises and they make the first climb to Rest Stop #1 at mile 10.5.  There's a Gear Bag drop at Rest Stop #1, however, we recommend keeping at least an outer layer wind vest, or jacket, and arm warmers with you at all times.

Start/Finish:  Ocotillo is about 80 mi east of San Diego off the Interstate 8 Freeway.  Here's the Google Maps link.  As with many desert locations, the exact street address is imprecise.  From the Ocotillo exit off the Freeway, the Community Park is 4.2 miles north on S2 (Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849), on the right (north) side.  DON'T CONFUSE WITH OCOTILLO WELLS, 60+ MI NORTH EAST.

Packet Pick up:
  Fri & Sat.  See details below.  Cash & Credit Cards accepted.  Sorry, no checks.

   For Fri arrivals, do not park inside the dirt lot adjacent to the park.  That's carefully controlled by vol's on Sat.  Parking parallel along S2, on the shoulder, is permitted, but don't park on either side of the entrance to the park, nor on the opposite side of the entrance.  Park completely off the public right-of-way (road surface) and don't block driveways.

Gas:  From LA/SD, we recommend fueling up in San Diego.  From the east, fueling in El Centro is a good option. There's one gas station in Ocotillo with rediculously high prices.

  The Mission Valley Resort in San Diego is the Host Hotel/location for Fri Early Packet Pick up,  Noon - 8:00 P.M.  They have a special rate.  Call 800-362-7871, use code "Stagecoach".  El Centro, located 27 mi east of Ocotillo, has a very nice Comfort Inn & Suites.  Call Mike for reservations and a special $75 + tax rate at 760-335-3502.  Specials are based on availability.  Visit the
Lodging link for more details.

Restrooms in Ocotillo:
  2 Rest Rooms in the Community Center (please keep it clean!).  6 port-a-johns at the east end of the parking lot.  All Rest Stops/Lunch have port-a-johns.

Safety & Hazards:
     a.  Watch for patches of rough pavement & potholes in the first 3-4 mi.  Point out hazards to riders behind you.
      b.  Stop Signs:  Only 2.  Come to a complete stop at both.
      c.  Personal Limits:  Don't go beyond your limits!  This is an out-and-back course.  You may make a safe u-turn at any point.  If in doubt, err to the side of caution, turn back early.
      d.  Sweeney Pass Descent (mi 12):  Red Zone!  Tight hairpin turn.  Watch for sand & rocks.  20 MPH MAX.
      e.  Turnaround Point (mi 50).  Use extra caution before turning around.  Vehicles often speed on this section of S2.
      f.  Campbell Grade Descent (mile 72):  Red Zone!  There's a blind outside turn near the bottom.  MAX SPEED 20 MPH.  DO NOT CROSS INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC!
      g.  Rough section (mi 95).  There's a 1-mi gradual uphill section with a very rough surface.  Expect to be rattled.  Riding on the white line helps a little.  Be careful.
       h.  Finish Line:  Making the final left turn into the park requires extreme caution.  Listen to vols telling you to slow down!  Check for traffic ahead & behind before turning left into the park.  Slow down!  Cross the finish line (1st line), then coast to a complete stop at the dismount point (2nd line).  DO NOT ATTACK THE FINISH LINE.  THE RIDE IS OVER WHEN YOU MAKE THE LEFT TURN!  Time Trial Riders attacking the finish line will be disqualified (see TT Rules).  Don't blow it in the last 20 ft!  All riders must slow down immediately upon entering the park, no exceptions. Expect riders in front of you to slow down & stop.
      i.  Ride single file and as far to the right as safely possible.

Bib #'s:  Also known as Helmet Numbers.  Check the Rider List before arriving at Packet Pick up to get your Bib#.  This speeds up the process.  There will be cross-referenced rosters posted on Fri & Sat.

SAG:  Internally, there's a system of volunteer SAG vehicles picking up non-emergency riders who cannot continue.  They patrol the course and shuttle riders south through the Rest Stops.  It's a very long & uncomfortable process.  To avoid:  Insure your bicycle has been tuned up and has excellent tires AND don't ride beyond your limits!  Emergency evac's are performed by the 9-1-1 Emergency Services.

Time Trial:  If you wish to participate in the optional (no additional fee) Time Trial, see details below and read the TT Rules and Team Formation Process.  All TT participants must be registered for the Full Course to be eligible.  Pick up Timing Chips on Sat at the Timing Booth at the Start Line.  By accepting a Timing Chip, you agree to return it before leaving the venue.  Missing Timing Chip will incur an $85 replacement fee.

Full Century Finishers List:  Full Century Riders are eligible.  Chip timing is not required. Have your Red/White/Blue wristband validated at the turn-around point.  At the Finish Line:  IT'S EACH RIDER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO CHECK IN WITH THE TIMING MARSHAL/VOLUNTEERS AT THE FINISH LINE TO GET CREDIT FOR COMPLETING THE FULL CENTURY.

Gear Bags:  If you leave a Gear Bag at the Start/Finish, or at Rest Stop #1, claim them at the Finish, next to the Timing Booth before departing.  Gear bags left behind will be returned upon receipt of $7 to cover Shipping/Handling.

Finish Area:  Watch out for riders at all times.  Stay inside the boundaries marked with Caution tape.  Use extra caution when driving out of the dirt lot adjacent to the Finish Line.  Volunteers will help guide you.  Be very careful.

Donations & Tips:  The Official Charity is the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.  Additionally, both Ocotillo & Shelter Valley Communities are qualified Non-profits providing amazing volunteers to make your ride memorable & enjoyable.  For these Communities, Stagecoach is a major fund-raiser, supporting their many Community programs for children.

We encourage riders to bring a plastic baggie with 3 x $1's, or $5's, or $10's, or $20's, or $50's, or $100's, to drop into the 3 Donation Jars at the Finish and in Shelter Valley.  Please do what you can to support the 3 Non-profits associated with Stagecoach.  All have have donated their free time to help you enjoy yours.  Think of it as a Donation/Tip, in line with what you'd leave a server at any restaurant.  Only our Vol's are doing much more than a typical server during a 1-hr meal.  Think it over.  A little goes A LONG WAY!

Never any need to tip Shadow Tour.  Your Safe completion is our reward.  We THANK YOU for joining us.  Even in our 8th year, the excitement of producing Stagecoach, connecting with riders from all over America (and beyond), and working with top-notch vol's, is just as fun as our 1st Stagecoach.


  We thank all Sponsors, Volunteers, and Affiliates who are essential to making Stagecoach possible. Please visit the Sponsor Corral at the bottom of this email for some great deals!  Always mention Stagecoach, for potential discounts at your bike shop.


Official Charity:  We're proud to announce the addition of The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund (SFF) as the Official Charity for the Stagecoach Century.  This outstanding Nonprofit organization has earned Charity Navigator's highest rating of "4 Stars," and is rated "A+" by the American Institute of Philanthropy.  A streamlined structure keeps the SFF overhead at 5%, allowing them to maximize their assistance to Veterans and their Family Members.

The Semper Fi Fund was introduced to Shadow Tour by the So Cal Coasters Bike Club.  Some Club Members work directly with Veterans in the areas of Post Tramatic Stress.  The So Cal Coasters will be riding at Stagecoach, providing Vol's at a Rest Stop, and will have a booth at the Finish with more info about the Semper Fi Fund and their club.

Here's a very special donation link to the SFF fund-raising campaign associated with the Stagecoach Century.  To date, the 2012 campaign has raised $1,538 to benefit our brave Veterans and their Family Members, with 100% going directly to the Semper Fi Fund.  The goal is $10,000.  Many Thanks to all who have contributed to this genuine and worthwhile cause.

Chip Timing:  New for 2012!   CEP Timing will be at Stagecoach.  Full Century riders have the option (free) to receive a chip on Sat in Ocotillo.  Only the 100-mi course will be timed.  Riders must have their wristbands validated at the turnaround point at mile 50, past Shelter Valley.  Chips must be returned to the CEP Timing Booth adjacent to the Finish line.  There's an $85 replacement fee for lost or missing timing chips.  Use care at the Finish Line; this is a "Soft & Slow Finish," due to limited space inside the park, and the need to cross the northbound lane of S2 at the entrance to the parking lot.  USE EXTREME CAUTION!    

Start Time:  On Sat, Jan 14, '12, all riders may start from 7:10 - 9:00 A.M. Time Trial riders launch 1st, from 7:00 - 7:10 A.M. on tight intervals (less than 30 sec). The rest of the field starts immediately after the last Time Trial rider rolls. Use care making the turn onto S2 out of the parking lot.

One Bite at a Time:  Recognize that riding a century in January is unusual.  We congratulate you on accepting the Stagecoach Challenge.  It's not an easy century, and weather can make it treacherous.  Plan your ride, and ride your plan!  Take it in small bites.  Rest Stop-to-Rest Stop, or even hour-to-hour.  Cold, dry desert air can dehydrate you before you know it.  Rising afternoon temps will too.  Drink and eat at every Rest Stop!  Don't exceed your limits.   You may safely turn around at any point on the course.  Don't compare your June cycling to the January Stagecoach, they're  two different animals.  If this is your first Stagecoach, avoid focusing exclusively on making it to the turnaround.  You need to have enough reserves left to ride all the way back to the Finish.  Watch out for each other, point out obstacles, stay to the right, ride single file, and be safe out there!   

Key Documents:

    a.  Final Rider Instructions & Course Map:  Please read carefully.  Download here.
    b.  San Diego Waiver Form:  Save time at packet pick up!  Please print out, complete, date, sign, and bring to Fri/Sat packet pick up.  Download here.
    c.  Driving Map:  Basic map showing location of Ocotillo, CA.  Download here.

Packet Pick up Details:  Friday and Saturday options.  Riders may pick up friends' packets with written permission, such as a printed email authorizing release.

     a.  Fri, Jan 13, '12:  Noon - 8:00 P.M. at Host Hotel, Mission Valley Resort, 875 Hotel Circle South, San Diego, CA  92108 (Exit 4A).  Riders may register in-person.  Please bring cash or credit card.  There's an ATM in parking lot.

     b.  Sat, Jan 14, '12:  5:45 - 9:00 A.M. Ocotillo Community Park, 266 West Imperial Hwy, Ocotillo, CA  92259.  Riders may register in-person.  Cash or Credit.  Restrooms and Portajohns are onsite.  Arrival coffee & breakfast is provided by the Desert Vols of Ocotillo. Donations are appreciated and help feed less fortunate Ocotillo families.

     c.  What to do at packet pick up:

      *  Complete San Diego Waiver and drop in Waiver Box
      *  Locate your Bib # on the rider lists posted
      *  Pick up Rider Packet
      *  Have ID ready

      *  Rider packet contains:  Helmet #, wristbands, rider instructions, and map.  Rider's also receive Custom Pin and pre-ordered optional items. Medals are given at Finish Line.

 Upgrades:  Riders may upgrade from Short Course to Long Course on Fri or Sat.  Cost is $15.

Host Hotel:  Mission Valley Resort offer Stagecoach riders a special $69 p/t rate, based on avail.  Click here for details.

Detailed Driving Directions:  Here's a link to Google Maps and a basic map showing the location of Ocotillo, CA.  Caution:  Don't confuse with "Ocotillo Wells", which is about 60 miles away from the Start/Finish!

 Ocotillo Exit off Interstate 8:   From the west, it's the exit after the Calexico exit.  From the east, it's the Ocotillo/Imperial Hwy exit.  Vols/signs will guide you.

Restrooms in Ocotillo:  Two restrooms on the west side of the Community Park Bldg & 6 portajohns at the east end of the parking lot.  Sanitizing gels are available.

Weather:   Forecasts will be posted on the website starting approximately one week prior to the event. 

     a.  Variable conditions:  Weather in the desert WILL vary widely.  Expect winds to shift around all along the route and to gust in the afternoon.  The north end of the course is about 15 degrees cooler than Ocotillo, due to its 2,400 ft el. 

     b.  Morning Chill:  Regardless of forecasted high temps, it WILL be cold in the morning.  See clothing below.  We do not recommend sleeping in a car overnight.  We've tried it in the past, the wind & cold temps make it very uncomfortable.

     c.  Early A.M:  It will be cold in the morning.  Recommend starting with a high-tech base layer (not cotton!).  A jersey, arm and leg warmers, or tights, a wind-breaker, and light weight/medium weight full finger gloves.

      d.  Mid morning:  Most riders warm up on the 10.5 mi gradual climb to Rest Stop 1, or below Sweeney Pass in the low elevations of Carizzo Badlands.  Once the sun rises, you'll feel much better, and may wish to remove outer layers.

       e.  Lunch:  Shelter Valley is at mile 42.   We recommend riding past the Community Center to the turnaround point before stopping for lunch.  While eating lunch, remove outer layers.  The main food area is heated.  Don't camp out too long!  If it's chilly when you start riding, put an outer layer back on.  You should warm up before Rest Stop 7 (mile 75). 

      f.  Late afternoon:  Coming back through the low desert areas south of Agua Caliente and the Badlands, if temps climb you should remove arm/leg warmers, vest, and other outer layers.  Be sure to use reapply lip balm and sunscreen on exposed skin.  See Rider Levels for many more tips.

Key Time Cut-offs:

      12:15 P.M.   Scissors Crossing closes (mile 45)
      1:00 P.M.     All riders must be returning to Ocotillo
      1:15 P.M.      Lunch in Shelter Valley closes
      5:00 P.M.     Course officially closes 

The time cut-offs are in place to insure riders are done and off S2 by 5:00 P.M.  Darkness falls rapidly and temps plunge in the desert right at sunset.  These deadlines are mandatory.  All course support ceases at 5:00 P.M.     

Bicycle Maintenance:  Stagecoach is no place to take chances on any worn bike parts.  If in doubt, get a tune-up.  Ask your mechanic to replace any questionable parts, especially tubes & tires!  Bike Shop Links:  San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange CountyTraction Mobile Bike Repair will be at the Start in Ocotillo and roaming the course.  Owner Matt McDaniel can provide full tune-ups prior to the event at your home or office.

Frequently Asked Questions:  Here's the link to learn more about camping, Rest Stop items, parking, etc.

Referrals:  Please encourage your friends to join you at Stagecoach.   You may pass along the special Holiday promocode SADDLE15PC to new riders (see coupon below).  The promocode provides a special 15% discount.

Event Directors:  Shadow Tour Co-Founders Jim Knight & Larry Gitman are passionate & active cyclists. They continue to  improve their cycling skills, fitness levels, as well as upgrading the quality of their cycling events. Rest assured all Tips & Advice are based on direct, first-hand experience.

T-shirts:   Optional T-shirts will be available at packet pick-up.  A limited quantity of inventory T-shirts will be available for purchase.   

  Voler is once again producing the optional Stagecoach jersey.  Riders who ordered jerseys prior to the Nov 19, '11 deadline will receive them at packet pick up.  All other orders are part of the 2nd Production Run, which will be mailed in Mar, '12 (free shipping).  A small quantity of jerseys will be available for sale at the event.      

Rider Levels:  Be sure to visit and read the section on the website titled "Rider Levels".  It's a comprehensive resource for riders to learn about the course.  Specific tips & advice are provided for a wide variety of rider levels and objectives.  You'll also find a detailed course description and details relating to weather, including past weather data.  Future updates will include your comments and suggestions.  Reading carefully is strongly recommended.                        


                                    Rider Levels   


Training:  The fall weather has been mostly nice for riding;
with cool mornings and mild afternoon temps in So Cal.  It's important to start building up for the ride now.  Translation:  get those training rides in!  With limited daylight, it can be challenging during the week.  But, on the weekends, shoot for rides of 2-4+ hours.


Desert Weather:  Co-Founder Jim rode the Stagecoach course on Dec 10, '11.  At 6:56 A.M, the temp was 45F.  He wore a base layer/vest/arm warmers, and was fine the whole way.  Finish temps were in the upper 50's, not a cloud in the sky. Mild swirling winds--hope for more of that in Jan!

Previous Stagecoach Weather :                      

    2011:   Warm temps 46-79 F, mild winds 3-8 MPH,
                  gusting to 10 MPH, Sunny & Warm
    2010:  Mild temps 49-74F, mild winds 3 - 5 MPH, gusts
                  to 10 MPH.  Sunny & Warm.
    2009:   Warm temps 45-82 F, mild winds 3-5 MPH,
                  gusting to 15 MPH, Sunny/Warm/Winds
    2008:  Warm temps 48-74 F, mild winds 3-9 MPH,
                  gusting to 15 MPH, Sunny/Warm/Winds
     2007:  Cold temps 28-42 F, mild winds 5-10 MPH,
                  gusting to 15 MPH, Cold/Overcast/Some Sun
     2006:  Mild temps 48-65 F, sustained winds 10-12,
                  gusting to 20-25 MPH, Sunny/Cool/Windy
     2005:  Mild temps 50-70 F, mild winds 5-10 MPH,
                   Sunny & Warm


Photos Galleries:  A picture is worth a 1,000 words.  Please visit the galleries from past rides to get a sense for the course and what the weather was like.  Photos are courtesy of Sport Action Photos and Brightroom.

     Stagecoach Course Preview (flash)
Stagecoach is a unique event in many ways.  Our #1 source of new riders comes from previous riders telling their friends.  We are very proud of this.  For 2012, more than ever, we need your referrals to encourage more riders to accept the Stagecoach challenge by registering.

     a.  Facebook:  Below is a link to the Stagecoach Facebook page.  We invite you to become a Fan of Stagecoach and invite your friends to join.  It's a great way to share stories, post photos, and join discussions.

                             Facebook page




 Sponsor Corral:

Pearl Izumi:  Pearl Izumi is back as a Proud Sponsor of the Stagecoach Century!  Due to unforeseen staffing constraints, Pearl Izumi cannot be at the Fri/Sat expo's.  Riders may visit the Factory Outlet store and receive 15% off on high tech winter cycling gear.  Mention Stagecoach.  858-793-0366.

       Del Mar Factory Store
       12845 El Camino Real
       San Diego, CA 92130

Moment Cycle Sport:  Showing up in the wrong clothes is just as bad as showing up with no clothes at all. Don't get caught naked in the desert! 20% off long finger gloves, baselayers, knee & arm warmers, and jackets from Moment Cycle Sport, your official cold weather outfitter for the Stagecoach Century! Visit the shop before you head out, or stop by our booth at the Mission Valley Resort early packet pick up on Fri, Jan 13th! www.momentcyclesport.com 619-523-2453 .  
Leucadia Cyclery:  Mention Stagecoach to receive 10% discount off most parts and accessories, including Tune-ups!  Owner Fred is a cool guy with incredible knowledge.

Attorney Richard Duquette offers some wise legal advice for riders:  "Don't skimp on insurance!".  Check out his article on Under/Uninsured Motorists.  Richard and wife Kim, are avid cyclists, triathletes, and Stagecoach Vets.  Contact Richard at 760-730-0500.  Here's his link

Mission Valley Resort:  The Host Hotel for Stagecoach is offering riders a special price of $69 plus tax.  Click here for more details.

Comfort Inn & Suites
:  In El Centro, 27 miles east of Ocotillo. Offering special $75 + tax rate for Stagecoach riders.  Call Mike at 760-335-3502.

Sport Action Photos:  Official photographer, specializing in capturing unique action-oriented rider photos at affordable prices.

Traction Bicycles Mobile Repair:  Will be at Stagecoach providing SAG support.  We specialize in all bicycles, from a child's first bike to high-end tri-bikes.  Call Matt for an appointment at 619-379-5150.          





Looking forward to seeing everyone on Sat!  Let's have each other's backs out there.  Stay alert, ride single file, watch out for the unexpected.  By reading all the above, you've already mentally prepared yourself to ride with confidence.  Thanks for doing your homework!

Tailwinds To All,    


Jim & Larry


Managing Members 

Shadow Tour, LLC 

Larry at Chiriaco Summit Nov 24 '10
2012 Jersey Front


Larry at Chiriaco Summit Nov 24 '10
2012 Jersey Back



Larry at Chiriaco Summit Nov 24 '10  

            Stagecoach Century Sign in Ocotillo
        Congrats Dan McGehee and Team Broadcom!



 Save 15%

Register today for the 2012 STAGECOACH CENTURY on Sat, Jan 14, '12 in Ocotillo, CA.   We're pleased to offer a special Holiday Discount to new Shadow Tour riders.   

Enter promocode SADDLE15PC (all caps) when you register online.  It's the very last step, so be careful not to miss it.  Active.com software is case-sensitive.  The promocode may also be used on mail-in and walk-up registrations.


The discount is valid for all entry categories.  This offer is not retro-active and not be combined with other promotions.   

Offer Expires:  9:00 A.M. (PST), Sat, Jan 14, '12