It goes without saying that a double century’s purpose is to be challenging. 200 miles on the flat is not easy, but add some mountains and it becomes very hard. It helps mentally to participate in a ride that is not only challenging, but scenic. Tour of Two Forests is one of these.
I was privileged enough to ride the Tour of Two Forests double century twice in the early ’80s. It started in Palmdale CA at 5:30AM, made a huge loop through the Los Padres National Forest and back to Palmdale, 210 miles with over 10,000 feet of climbing. I completed the ride in around 20 hours the first time, and 18 hours the second time, which was well behind the fastest time of 10+ hours. This was the toughest ride I’ve ever ridden.
If you decide to do this ride, which is held June 8th in 2018, know it’s not as well supported as it used to be. I recommend that you take a CamelBak water pack, or better yet ride with a group that has a SAG wagon (SAG is an old cycling term, that means Support and Gear). The ride is currently supported with what the organizers call “leap frog” support, instead of fixed aid stations, where I guess they keep passing you as you ride and drop water and snacks and drop bags along the route.
Originally, when the ride began in 1980, anyone was allowed to ride. Now, with limited support, only experienced riders who have completed 3 double centuries in 15 hours or less during the last year are allowed to ride.
2017 TOTF Route Map
Original 1980 Route Map – it’s about the same, but notice the jog on the right where it goes to Palmdale.
Original 1980 Route Slip
Patches awarded for finishing the ride (no really – these are two separate patches! 😉 )
1980 Patch 1982 Patch
I have seen there are still some “patch rides” around, but not like in the ’80s. Every ride of any size back then was a patch ride, and people would proudly display all of their patches on their riding clothes. I guess times have changed!