2014 Stagecoach December Rider Update

Email sent Dec 30, '13

Official Charities: 
Shelter Valley Citizen's Corp:  Donation Link
Desert Museum (Ocotillo):  Donation Link
Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund:  Donation Link

     10th Annual
  Stagecoach Century
     and Time Trials

Date: Sat, Jan 18, 2014

  Ocotillo, CA
(80 mi east of San Diego, just off I-8, Driving Map

Start: 7:00 - 9:00 A.M.

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

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10th Annual 2014 Stagecoach Century
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Solo/Tandem/Team Time Trials

Dear Sturdy Riders,


As we prepare to ring in the New Year, we wish to Thank You for registering for the 2014 Stagecoach Century on Sat, Jan 18, '14, in Ocotillo, CA.  We send our Best Wishes for a Safe & Happy Happy New Year! 

The Stagecoach Century is a unique event, and requires careful preparation and respect of all participants.  To assist you, carefully read this email containing important pre-ride updates & tips.  Everything below is also posted on the website.  The Final Rider Instructions summarize what every rider needs to know and contains the Course Map.  All riders must carefully study these instructions before starting.  Any last-minute changes will be posted in the "News" section of the Stagecoach webpage.

All Registered Riders will receive one more Rider Update Email the 2nd week of January 2014.

Stagecoach Countdown = 20 Days!    

Sponsors:  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.  Be sure to stop by the Pearl Izumi booth on Fri for Factory Outlet Deals on high tech winter riding apparel & accessories.

Official Charities: 
We proudly continue our long term Volunteer associations with the communities of Shelter Valley and Ocotillo as Official Charities for Stagecoach.  These outstanding Non-Profit Community organizations have provided fantastic support for Stagecoach riders since the very beginning.

For the 10th Annual Stagecoach, we wish to showcase & reward Volunteers from Ocotillo (Start/Finish) and Shelter Valley (Turnaround point).  Below are their special Donation links.  There's still time to make a generous 2013 tax-deductible gift by Dec 31st.  To date, no online rider donations have been made.  Let's change that today!

          Desert Museum (Ocotillo):  Donate Now
          Shelter Valley Citizen's Corp:  Donate Now

Chip Timing: 
CEP Timing is returning to Stagecoach.  Full Century riders have the option (free) to receive a timing 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.  Timing Chips must be returned to the CEP Timing Booth in the Finish area.  There's an $85 replacement fee for lost or missing timing chips.  When approaching the Finish Line inside the Ocotillo Community Park, SLOW DOWN before making a safe Left turn from S2 into the park.  Listen to Volunteers and STOP, if instructed.  STOP immediately after crossing the Finish timing mat (which will be marked).  USE EXTREME CAUTION ENTERING THE FINISH AREA!    

Start Time:  On Sat, Jan 18, '14 Time Trial riders (Team and Solo) launch first, 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 from 7:10 - 9:00 A.M.  Use extra 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 take a toll 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 fixation on making it to the turnaround.  You need to have enough reserves 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 Stagecoach Century Information:

    a.  Final Rider Instructions & Course Map:  Please study 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 (don't confuse with Ocotillo Wells, which is over 60 miles away).

    d.  Rider Levels:  No-nonsense advice & tips for a variety of Stagecoach rider levels, Click 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 17, '14:  Noon - 8:00 P.M. at Host Hotel, DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego-Del Mar, located just off Interstate 5 in Carmel Valley, at 11915 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA  92130 (map it).   Free/easy parking.  Riders may register in-person, Cash or Credit Card.  Please call Emmeline Vasquez at 858-764-0261 to book rooms at a Stagecoach Special $99 rate, plus tax, based on availability.  Offer ends Jan 1st, '14.

     b.  Sat, Jan 18, '14:  6:00 - 9:00 A.M. Ocotillo Community Park, 266 West Imperial Hwy, Ocotillo, CA  92259 (map it).  Riders may register in-person.  Cash or Credit.  Portajohns are available onsite.  Arrival coffee & breakfast is provided by Ocotillo Volunteers. Donations are much appreciated & support the Desert Museum.

     c.  What to do at packet pick up:

      *  Complete San Diego Waiver & drop in Waiver Box
      *  Locate your Bib # on the posted Rider Lists
      *  Pick up Rider Packet
      *  Have ID ready
      *  Rider packet contains:  Helmet #, wristbands, rider instructions, and map.  Riders also receive a Custom Pin & pre-ordered optional items. Medals are given at Finish Line.

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

Host Hotel:  Shadow Tour welcomes the DoubleTree  by Hilton San Diego-Del Mar  as the new Official Host Hotel for the Stagecoach Century.  DoubleTree is offering Stagecoach riders a special $99 p/t rate, based on availability thru Jan 1st, '14.  Click here for details.

Detailed Driving Directions:  Here's a link to Googlemaps and a basic map showing the location of Ocotillo, CA.  Caution:  Do not 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 Ocotillo exit right after the Calexico exit.  From the east, it's the Ocotillo/Imperial Hwy exit. Vol's/signs will guide you from the freeway exit to the Ocotillo Community Park approximately 2 miles north on S2. 

Restrooms in Ocotillo:  Portajohns will be positioned at the south end of the parking lot at the Ocotillo Community Park.  Sanitizing gels are available. If operational, two restrooms are available on the west side of the Community Park building.

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 2,200 ft elevation. 

     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.

Clothing:  Wearing the right clothing is almost important as drinking plenty of Vitalyte/water, and replacing carbs!  Pearl Izumi will be at the Fri packet pick up if you need to purchase last-minute high tech clothing items. Below is our recommended clothing plan:

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

      b.  Mid-morning:  Most riders warm up on the 10.5 mi gradual climb up to Rest Stop 1, and down in the low elevations of Carizzo Badlands.  Have faith, almost all riders feel much better once the sun rises!

       c.  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 your outer layer back on.  You should warm up before Rest Stop 7 (mile 75). 

      d.  Late afternoon:  Coming back through the low desert areas south of Agua Caliente and in the Badlands, if temps rise, you should remove arm/leg warmers, vest, and other outer layers.  Be sure to re-apply 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 

Time cut-offs insure riders are safely off S2 by 5:00 P.M. Darkness falls rapidly & 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 absolutely 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.  Traction Bicycles 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 STURDY15 to new riders (see coupon below). The promocode provides a special 15% discount.

Event Director:  Shadow Tour Founder/Event Director Jim Knight is a passionate & active distance cyclist.  He incorporates many personal lessons-learned, and feedback from riders, into upgrades for future Shadow Tour cycling events.  Rest assured, Jim's Tips & Advice are based on direct experience.  Jim completed a solo course pre-ride on Dec 29 (Strava download).   The route appears to be in overall excellent condition.  Even the weather was outstanding, finished in short sleeve jersey.  Noticed a few patches of deeper sand in the road shoulder on the last 4.4 miles before the turnaround at 50.0 miles.  Be alert and use extra care on that section.

Jersey:  Voler is once again producing the optional Stagecoach jersey.  Riders who ordered jerseys prior to the Nov 22, '13 deadline will receive them at packet pick up.  All other orders are in the 2nd Production Run, which will be mailed in Mar, '14 (free shipping).  A small quantity of jerseys will be for sale at the event.      

2014 Jersey Front

2014 Jersey Back
Rider Levels:  All registered riders are encouraged to visit and read the website section "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 & details relating to weather, including past weather data.  Future updates will include your comments and suggestions.                          


                                    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.

Previous Stagecoach Weather :                      

   2013:  Cool temps 36-55F, variable winds 1-9 mph,
               Sunny with cold early A.M. start.  Photos.
  Mild temps 43-68F, mild winds 3-5 MPH,
                gusts to 10 MPH.  Sunny & Nice.  Photos      
   2011:   Warm temps 46-79F, mild winds 3-8 MPH,
                 gusts to 8 MPH. Sunny & Warm.  Photos    
   2010:  Mild temps 49-74F, mild winds 3-5 MPH,
                gusts to 10 MPH.  Sunny & Warm.  Photos
   2009:  Warm temps 45-82 F, mild winds 3-5 MPH,
                gusts to 10 MPH, Sunny & Warm.  Photos
   2008:  Warm temps 48-74 F, mild winds 3-9 MPH,
                gusts to 15 MPH, Sunny & Warm.  Photos 
   2007:  Cold temps 28-42 F, mild winds 5-10 MPH,
               gusts to 15 MPH, Some Sun/Cold.  Photos 
   2006:  Mild temps 48-65 F, sustained winds 10-12,
                gusts to 20-25 MPH, Sunny/Windy. Photos 
   2005:  Mild temps 50-70 F, mild winds 5-10 MPH,
                Sunny/Warm.  Photos

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 SCS Photoworks, 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 2013, 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

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Sponsor Corral:

Pearl Izumi:  Pearl Izumi is back as a Proud Exhibitor at the Stagecoach Century! We will have a booth set up at Friday's packet pick up at Kings Inn. Stock up on high tech winter cycling gear at Factory prices.  Cya there!

 Holland Cycles: Master Frame builder, Bill Holland, designs, measures, and builds your Holland bicycle optimized for your unique dimensions, geometry, and riding style. Call Bill, Charles, or Cody to learn more at 619-469-1772.

DoubleTree San Diego-Del Mar:  We're proud to announce the Host Hotel for the 2014 Stagecoach is DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego-Del Mar, in Carmel Valley.  The DoubleTree is offering Stagecoach riders a very special rate of $99 p/t based upon availability. Book your rooms early to lock in these great prices! Visit Stagecoach website for more details.      

SCS Photoworks:
  Official Stagecoach photographer.

Traction Bicycles Mobile Repair:  Will be at Stagecoach providing Mechanic & SAG support.  Will also be at Friday packet pick-up.  Traction Bicycles specializes in all bicycles, from a child's first bike to high-end tri-bikes.  Call owner Matt McDaniel to set up an appointment at 619-379-5150.  Traction Bicycles is 100% mobile and will come to your home or office.  Stagecoach Special:  Major Tune-up $80 (reg. $100).

Ranch Cycles:  Ranch Cycles in Rancho Santa Fe is the closest brick & mortar bike shop to the Friday Rider Packet pick-up at the DoubleTree.  Ranch Cycles will be onsite for part of the day.  Maps showing the location of the store (about 5 miles) will be provided.  Be sure to mention Stagecoach for discounts & specials.

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We send our Sincere Best Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday Season & Happy New Year.  We look forward to seeing all of you at Stagecoach in January. Until then, enjoy your early Winter cycling.

As always, please ride defensively in traffic, point out hazards & obstacles to your cycling buddies following behind you, stay right of the white line, be on high alert at all times, and always watch out for the unexpected! 


Happy New Year!




Jim Knight   

Event Director/Managing Member

Shadow Tour, LLC   

Editor's Note: 
Apologies, in advance, for any mistakes, typo's, oversights, or factual errors in this Newsletter.  Visit shadowtour.com for corrections, if applicable.  As always, I'll work to improve in the future.   ~Jim



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