Need location suggestion for first century. Located in Phx, AZ and willing to drive

Hi All, any suggestions on where to do my first century next weekend? I’m based out of Phoenix and would prefer flat, low altitude, and cool. I’ll be making this into a mini-vacation so I’m willing to drive.

My only thought so far is San Diego?

Thanks,
Kyle

Also, bonus points for having the route be on a protected bike lane or similar

San Diego is beautiful. But not flat, no protected bike lanes.

How flat and protected do you need? The Santa Ana River Trail is about as flat as you can get and an EASY century, though pretty boring.

Hi and thanks for that info. That looks like a great fit. My primary cycling discipline is not century type riding so I’m trying to make it as easy as possible on myself.

Is the traffic on the santa ana river trail pretty mild as far as other cyclists/runners? of the san diego bike paths are so crowded and the inland ones can be quite hot!

The Loop in Tucson?

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Runners, no. Very few runners. Fairly busy with cyclists but I wouldn’t call it crowded. I rode to the beach and back yesterday and slow cruised it and only had a couple of “annoyances” that were nothing more than just annoyances. It is about 30 miles end to end and I think virtually completely protected the entire route. You can ride along the beach for some number of miles with a ton of foot traffic if you want (I have done it and would do it again). A lot of people do a “Queen Mary Century” riding from Corona, to the Queen Mary and back.

If you ride the SART, bare in mind NOT to park in Corona, start at another park or at the beach.

You can look at the “flybys” on this ride and get an idea of traffic, I wouldn’t call it bad. Also note, I averaged 100w on my PM for this ride, so even at a super chill pace, you won’t be out there all day. Looking at 500’ climbing for 60 mile round trip.

https://www.strava.com/activities/5988722751

No advocating for or against this route, just information only.

Thank you! Good information for sure. Just curious- why should I not park in Corona?

This is (more or less) where I did my first 100 miler. Spent most of the day on a really nice bike path. Temperatures might not be cool, but definitely a few degrees lower than Phoenix.

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Under normal circumstances, it is an in area with no surveillance, no passing traffic, and a prime target for window smashers. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I ride by there is class on the ground in multiple parking spots.

But also, currently, there is construction taking up that parking area.

Whoa, wild. I had no idea so thanks for the heads up

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thats a good idea! Good loop for sure