ITL Centuries (As Recommended by Coach George)
Over the last several years, I have ridden many centuries in the Atlanta area, and the following are my favorites in chronological order. As you map out your 2015 schedule, you may consider riding a few!
Wheels o’ Fire Century
April 4, 2015
The Wheels o’ Fire Century takes in the roads around Callaway Gardens. Some of the rest stops are staffed by enthusiastic firemen whose companies are supported by the ride. There’s a giant hill in the first two miles, and a good climb around halfway. Overall, it’s a nice early season century ride.
The Tony Serrano Century
April 11, 2015
In recent years, the Tony Serrano Century has become the unofficial kickoff of the cycling and multisport season. There are numerous ride options, great rest stops, and a fairly flat course. You’re certain to see a lot of people you know there.
3 State, 3 Mountain Challenge
May 2, 2015
As the name implies, this ride goes over three climbs (Suck Creek, Sand Mountain, and Lookout Mountain via Burkhalter Gap) in three states (Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia). An ITL crew did this ride in 2014, but for 2015, the course has returned to the original—and in my opinion, much better—course for 2015. The three climbs get steadily shorter but steadily steeper throughout the ride.
Tour de Cashiers
May 2, 2015
The Tour de Cashiers is a difficult ride in early May just across the GA/NC line. The ride features several climbs, including a final one that comes after the 95-mile mark. In years past, the ToC has been paired with Issaqueena’s Last Ride (http://www.ilrsc.com/) in Walhalla, SC, which is staged one week prior. The “IQLR” is also a great ride, but it appears that the two rides have ended their partnership.
Burnt Mountain Century
http://www.cummingkiwanis.org/Page/14069 (link to last year’s ride)
Date TBA (likely May 2, 2015)
Closer to home, the Burnt Mountain century takes in a hilly course that includes a climb and descent of Burnt Mountain. It’s a challenging century, but it is well-supported and popular among triathletes. The course follows a lot of the semi-rural roads of north Fulton County, Forsyth County, and the surrounding areas.
Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo
May 17, 2015
Billed as the “Toughest Ride in the South,” the Cheaha Challenge is an out-and-back century that climbs up and over the highest mountain in Alabama—meaning that you have to scale the mountain twice. The Challenge is a timed century, and the results are published in the local paper. A certain ITL coach won the Challenge a few years ago and has twice won the King of the Mountain competition for the fastest ascent of Mount Cheaha.
Challenge of the Centuries