November 2005
Amtrak Century
by Heather Baroff

Could there be a more pleasant 100 miles of riding? Several times I have gathered a handful of friends to ride from Santa Ana and return from San Diego by train. It’s always been a wonderful way to spend several hours with special friends. But, this was the first time I participated in Orange County Wheelmen’s Amtrak Century!

This is one of the most fun, easy and satisfying century rides around! About 1,000 riders registered, of which 14 LGers braved the early hour wake-up call (4:00am) for the sleepy-eyed drive to Irvine. Once there, the organizers loaded our labeled bags and coolers onto semi’s to be driven to San Diego where they would be waiting for us, sorted alphabetically for easy pick-up.

Heather (left) with La Grangers
photo by Susan Gans' camera

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for a century, mostly sunny with a mix of overcast. The accumulated elevation was around 3,200’. The ride is very well supported with great food at the rest stops, and sag wagons if needed. There are many opportunities to stop at favorite haunts en-route for extras if you wanted. The only requirement was that you be in San Diego at 4:30 p.m. if you intended to be on the train back to Irvine.

As Susan Gans (our LG ride coordinator extraordinaire) predicted the return train ride back was one huge party. The bikes were individually wrapped in cargo blankets and carefully loaded onto semi’s by the ride organizers for the return drive to Irvine, leaving the whole train for the ride participants. With everyone having brought a menagerie of delectables and “refreshments,” we shared lots of stories and laughs. There was to be no sleeping in our car, and the end seemed to come too soon!

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