Best Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Century

The Best of the Bay Century

It may not be the East Bay's most beloved bicycling event, the most well-attended, or the most prestigious, but you gotta love the concept. Take some of the best cycling roads in the East Bay and string them together in a variety of configurations that offer progressively greater levels of difficulty. First is Short BOB, an 83-mile course with 6,000 feet of climbing. Add the infamous Sierra Road loop east of Milpitas and you have Tall BOB, a 99-mile ride with 8,000 feet of climbing. Closest to a true century is Long BOB; it pegs a 23-mile loop onto the beginning of Short BOB. Finally, for the real diehards, there's Super BOB: 125 miles and 10,300 feet of climbing — or, as organizers the Cherry City Cyclists of San Leandro put it, a course that's "extremely challenging." All courses start near the Orinda BART station and include roads ridden in the 2006 Tour of California: Bear Creek, Happy Valley, Wildcat Canyon, Grizzly Peak, Skyline, Redwood, Niles Canyon, and more. Support is generous and rest stops nicely gapped. This year's event featured barely 100 riders, yet everything else is in place for an unforgettable ride.

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