Far and away, the very best routes in Southern California’s most scenic and most popular cycling region!
NO crowds! Great support! Chip Timing! Special Finisher Award! Post-Ride Lunch!
And most importantly, a portion of every entry fee will be donated to Challenged Athletes Foundation!
SPECIAL REGISTRATION POLICY: Because this is a charity benefit ride for CAF, cancellation vouchers from other events and/or volunteer ride credits may not be used; and there will be no cancellation vouchers provided if you sign up but can’t make it. All no-show registration fees will be donated to CAF.
Early Entry Fee of $90 includes: Chip timing, special finisher award, delicious post-ride lunch (including sandwich wrap, chips and fruit*), four fully stocked checkpoints along the course for the full century and three for the metric century, and plenty of roving SAG. A portion of every basic entry fee goes directly to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. (*In the past we offered a mexican-style buffet lunch. Unfortunately, the cost for a private banquet room and staff has become prohibitively expensive. Since the purpose of this event is to raise money for CAF, we’re scaling down the lunch so we can up the donations. We hope you agree with this decision.)
Solvang’s Finest Century (and Finest Metric Century) is dedicated to raising money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
The challenge of riding a century, or participating in any endurance sport, is a lot of fun; but people with disabilities sometimes don’t have access to the special equipment and training it takes for them to pursue this type of lifestyle. Through the Challenged Athletes Foundation, you can provide funding for hand cycles, sports chairs, training and competition needs that will allow athletes with disabilities the freedom to enjoy a fit lifestyle. Since 1994, CAF has raised over $30 million and provided funds to over 5,000 athletes across the United States and around the world.
There are three easy things that you can do to help: First, simply register for this event! A portion of your entry fee goes directly to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Second, send in a tax-deductible donation with your entry. Third, purchase a jersey at the event; proceeds will be donated to CAF. Finally, if you want to do more (and we hope you do), we’ll help get you started with your own fundraising! We’ll show you how to get dialed into the Challenged Athletes Foundation Race For A Reason program and set up a fundraising web page to track your progress. The Challenged Athletes Foundation will provide you with postcards, newsletters, videos – all the tools you need to make your fundraising a success. You’ll also receive some great incentive prizes from CAF when you reach your fundraising goal. Just think, you can challenge yourself on this beautiful Solvang ride and also help someone else overcome their challenge as well. It’s a win win situation!!!
When you join the Race For a Reason program, the more you raise, the more incentive prize choices you’ll have. The 2012 Race For A Reason fundraising incentive prize was awesome – and we’ll post 2013 info when avaiable! For example, raise just $350 and win a pair of Oakley sunglasses. The more you raise, the more choices you have: Garmin training devices or GPS, Apple iPod Touch, Apple iPad, Trek Bike, Pro 3D CompuTrainer, and more! In addition, the highest fundraiser who raises more than $7,500 will also win a 2013 pass to all Planet Ultra single day events. Click here to learn about, and register for the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation Race for A Reason Program.
Jerseys will be available in limited amounts at the event for $65. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of jerseys will be donated to Challenged Athletes Foundation.
Interested in sponsoring this event? Click here to contact us!
Our host hotel is the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott located at 555 McMurray Road in Buellton, 800-638-8882. The Marriott is offering a Planet Ultra rate of $169 per night. Rate expires September 16th so please don’t delay in making your reservation. Our overflow hotel will be the Days Inn in Buellton, (805) 688-8448. Ask for our special rate there is $110. If you prefer to be in Solvang, please stay at the Royal Copenhagen Inn, 1579 Mission Dr.; 805-688-5561. It’s right in the middle of town – and a good bargain.
All riders must check in Friday evening from 7pm to 9pm or Saturday morning between 6:00am and 8:00am in the designated meeting room (which for 2012 was the Grandstand Ballroom) at the Marriott.
New for 2012 and beyond, Solvang’s Finest Century will be timed. At packet pickup you’ll receive a number plate with a timing chip on the back. Please hang the number from your handlebars, facing forward. You must pass through the timing chute both when you start and when you finish in order to get a time. The chute will be at the back of the hotel.
The ride starts and finishes in the parking lot at the rear of the hotel. We’ll have an open starting window from 7:00am to 8am for Century riders. If you plan on finishing the century in under 6 hours, please start closer to 8am. The start time for the metric century is 8:30am. If you start early, or start from a location other than the back of the Marriott, you will not be listed in the results. Please no early starts, or you’ll get to the checkpoints before they’re open. We’ll have a staging area in the parking lot where riders will gather to be sent off. Come with your friends that you want to ride with, and hit the road together. We greatly appreciate your cooperation in making this run smoothly.
Regardless of start time, the course closes at 4:30pm. No exceptions. If you’re not sure if you can complete a moderately difficult century in under ten hours, we recommend the metric century option. The metric covers much of the same route as the century (minus the first 35 miles) – and is a nice challenge with lots of climbing. Please note: Riders must reach Checkpoint 2 at mile 57.9 by 12:30pm. All riders who miss this cut-off are required to take an alternate, shorter route back to the finish.
Twilight begins at 6:05; Twilight ends at 17:24. Sunrise is at 6:32; Sunset is at 16:58.
We will have checkpoints along the way to provide you with a wide variety of food choices including bananas, PB&J sandwiches, Clif bars, granola/fruit/energy bars, Hammer Gel, Sustained Energy and/or Perpetuem, Heed, and Endurolytes, plus other snacks and goodies. Lunch will be served at the finish line in Buellton from approximately 1:30pm to 5pm.
Planet Ultra route sheets include lots of useful information to help riders navigate the course. For example, we’ll let you know if a turn is at a stop sign (SS), traffic light (TL) or T-intersection (T-int). We know that riders like to have the course marked. However, many of the towns/cities/counties specifically request that no markings are placed in the road. Our permits are contingent on NOT doing this. Most importantly, the Solvang area is host to many, many events, and there are road markings all over the place – most of which will NOT be for our ride. If you don’t pay attention to your route sheet, you’re likely to follow some random arrow which puts you off course. So please, ALWAYS HAVE YOUR ROUTE SHEET WITH YOU and be aware of where you are on the route. Our experience is that riders get lost whether the course is marked or not – because they’re not paying attention. Fewer riders get lost when they’re mindful of where they are on the route sheet. Please understand and take responsibility for navigation. Make it part of your experience.
Not allowed! If you bring one, you will be disqualified from the event without a warning. The definition of a personal SAG is any vehicle (motor or otherwise), anywhere on the route, operated by someone other than Planet Ultra staff, that is providing any type of aid, assistance, or motivation to any rider, or taking photographs, or simply out cheering. Please understand that our permits simply don’t allow dozens of extra vehicles on the roads or at the checkpoint locations. Imagine the traffic from all those cars! If you’re bringing someone with you who wants to be out on the course helping, please have them contact us and join our volunteer staff. We can always use extra help out on the course.
NOTE: Route sheets will be available as an excel file to registered riders if so requested via email between two weeks and four days before the event. However, we cannot guarantee that the route sheet will be 100% accurate. Though not anticipated, last-minute routing changes may be required.
The event starts and finishes just down the road from its namesake, Solvang, a quaint, Danish village with excellent restaurants, window shopping, real shopping, horse-drawn carriages, parks, people in costume, wine-tasting, vineyards, and lots of fun things for the whole family to see and do. Bring your family and make a weekend of it. We promise they’ll all have a great time while you ride your bike!
We’ve put together a wonderful and unique century route, unlike any other organized ride in the area. Riders will experience the very best of the Santa Ynez valley and then head out to points beyond. This figure eight style course starts with a tour of Solvang, Los Olivos, Ballard and Santa Ynez, and then heads up the well-known Foxen Canyon. The route then loops back around towards Solvang via Zaca Station, Hwy 154 and beautiful Ballard Canyon. Then riders head South towards Buellton and veer off on the famous Avenue of the Flags which becomes Santa Rosa Road. Taking the back roads of Lompoc, riders will head up and over Harris Grade and drop back down to Hwy 135 towards the great little western antique haven of Los Alamos. From Los Alamos, riders encounter the last big climb of the day, up and over Drum Canyon, a quiet, twisty, 800 foot, 3.4 mile ascent. Drum Canyon has a steep, technical downhill, so please pay close attention to your speed. Once you reach the bottom, you’ll hop onto Hwy 246 back to Buellton, with a big shoulder all the way to town! 100 miles with 4,900 feet of climbing. Four SAG stops along the course.
Metric century ride: Riders will cover the last 60 miles of the fantastic century route. Leaving Buellton, riders veer off on the famous Avenue of the Flags which becomes Santa Rosa Road, and the first climbs of the day. After a blast down Hwy 1, riders take the back roads of Lompoc, heading up and over Harris Grade and dropping back down to Hwy 135 towards the great little western antique haven of Los Alamos. From Los Alamos, riders encounter the last big climb of the day, up and over Drum Canyon, a quiet, twisty, 800 foot, 3.4 mile ascent. Drum Canyon has a steep, technical downhill, so please pay close attention to your speed. Once you reach the bottom, you’ll hop onto Hwy 246 back to Buellton, with a big shoulder all the way to town! 62 miles with 3,100 feet of climbing. Three SAG stops along the course.
Towns/regions visited: Solvang, Ballard, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, Foxen Canyon, Buellton, Lompoc, Los Alamos, and back to Buellton.
The very best coffee, chai and hot chocolate in town is at the Bulldog Cafe, 1680 Mission Drive – just a few miles up the road in Solvang. Their pastries and brownies are amazing too! They open at 6:00am. Wireless internet also available.
If you are staying at a hotel in Buellton or Solvang, other than the Marriott, please park there and leave your car there during the event. If you are driving into Buellton on Saturday morning for the event, please be very careful how and where you park. Also, allow more than enough time to find proper parking. Please do not park at the Marriott, or any other hotel, unless you are staying there.
Use Hwy 101 to get to Buellton from either north or south. Take the Hwy 246/Solvang exit towards Solvang, and make a left onto McMurray Rd. The Marriott is on the left.
Click here for the Carpool and Room Share blog
We always need volunteers! We can only put these events on with the help of loyal, trustworthy, motivated individuals running the checkpoints along the way. To provide a little incentive, when you volunteer for a Planet Ultra Century event, you receive a voucher for 50% discount on any future Planet Ultra single-day event . So please contact us to let us know when and where you’d like to help. We also appreciate when riders recruit family and friends to help. So if you recruit someone that wouldn’t use the voucher, you’re welcome to use it yourself. Ride credits must be used within a year of the date of volunteering.