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Palm Desert Century

November 10 2018
Palm Desert, California, USA

The Palm Desert Century is a recreational road bicycle event in the low desert Coachella Valley. Mostly low traffic roads & pristine desert scenery flanked by the soaring San Jacinto Mts make this another marquee safe, scenic and sensational century ride on roads less traveled Shadow Tour century experience.

The ride starts and finishes at the new grassy University Park on Cook St, just off the I-10 Freeway in Palm Desert. The course proceeds southeast through Indio and La Quinta to the small desert town of Mecca, located near the north shores of the Salton Sea, about 200 ft below Sea Level. From there, the very remote Box Canyon Road, proceeds gradually uphill for 15 miles to Chiriaco Summit, which is the 50 mile point, and course turnaround. The course then returns to the Start/Finish in Palm Desert along the same route.

Total climbing elevation for the century is about 2,200 feet. Riders may ride distances from 20 to 100 miles, based on individual conditioning levels and weather factors on the day of the event.

SHORT COURSE RIDERS: May select distances from 20 to 60 miles.

FULL COURSE RIDERS: May select distances from 20 to 130 miles. Full Course Riders may participate in the Optional Chip-timed Individual 15-mile gentle grade "Chiriaco Summit Time Trial" from Mecca, below Sea Level, to Chiriaco Summit, el 1,300 ft. Additionally, Full Course Riders may participate in an Optional "Super Century" of 130 miles, riding the Chiriaco Summit section twice. subject to time cut-offs. The TIme Trial and Super Century are free options, included in the Full Course price.

The Palm Desert Century route offers an entirely unique Coachcella Valley cycling experience. The out-n-back course design allows riders to select distances from 20 to 100 miles, based on personal conditioning, weather, winds, etc. The gentle start glides southbound through well developed cities of Palm Desert, Indio, and La Quinta, before turning east into the low deserts checkered with Orange and Date Tree groves, and vast fields of crops, at the northern shores of the Salton Sea.

Full Century PDC riders have a rare opportunity to ride Box Canyon Road. Just beyond the quiet desert town of Mecca, east the railroad tracks, Box Canyon Road transforms into a remarkable and scenic 15+ mile desert pass with no feeder roads, stopsigns, stoplights, or intersections. It gradually ascends at a 1-2% incline from 200 ft BELOW Sea Level, to the Chiriaco Summit, nearly 1,300 ft ABOVE Sea Level. On the climb, prevailing winds are usually tailwinds. 

This showcase segment of the PDC starts near the 35-mile point and ends at the 50-mile turnaround, at Chiriaco Summit, adjacent to Interstate 10. This segment includes an optional timed element, a one-way uphill Individual Time Trial, from Mecca to the Chiriaco Summit. Timing is completely voluntary. CEP Timing will be providing timing services. They also time the El Tour of Tucson, with over 8,000 timed riders. Timing chips must be returned at the Finish Chutes. An $85 replacement fee applies. 

The summit finish will have a well-stocked Rest Stop, Lunch for riders who choose this options (vs. the finish line in Palm Desert), and is the Full Century turnaround point. The most immediate reward is a paid-up freewheeling spin back down to Mecca. Sensational sight lines to the Salton Sea are visible though canyons walls, near Mecca. The striking profile of the San Jacinto range looms large in the distance.

The route continues along the same roads to Palm Desert with full support. Subtle transitions emerge as riders leave behind the remote, sometimes harsh, and undeveloped low desert vegetation, returning through La Quinta and immaculately groomed, wide pepper-tree-lined boulevards, past deluxe PGA Golf Courses and Resorts and communities, to a festive finish with music, medals, and exhibitors at the grassy 3.5 acre new University Park in Palm Desert. An included Subway lunch meal will be available here, for riders selecting the finish line option. An optional Post-ride meal will also be served at the finish. Bring folding chairs and blankets to enjoy hanging out post-ride.

Shadow Tour has listened carefully and implemented your thoughtful rider feedback over the years. We offer Long and Short Courses, with separate prices. Jerseys, T-shirts, and Post-ride meals are completely optional, so no need to purchase something you may not want. The innovative Shadow Tour Refund/Rollover/Transfer Policy helps if your plans change unexpectedly, and remains one of the only such policies in the business. We communicate details to riders before, during, and after the event. We maintain previous event Photo Galleries, weather data, and Full Century Finisher Lists for historical continuity. We allow riders to choose online or mail-in registration. We accept walk-up registrations whenever possible. 

We believe the PDC represents the next major step up for our desert cycling events. Palm Desert offers huge potential for adding many more cool elements in the future. 

Please join us. And once you're in, please encourage all your cycling friends to join you! Consider bringing the whole family for an affordable quality family adventure with something fun for all. Whether it's visiting the Living Desert, a relaxed family Sunday Brunch at Tommy Bahama's, or a stroll along El Paseo Drive, there are countless great reasons to make it a weekend. 

Routes: 20, 30, 50, 60, 70, 100 miles
Difficulty of Greatest Route: D - Difficult terrain with longer, steeper hills
Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time (PST)
Start Address: University Park, 74-902 College Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92211
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