THIS COURSE INCLUDES STEEP CLIMBS AND TECHNICAL DESCENTS.
The Mt Tam Century begins on flat-to-rolling terrain before a 1.4 mile, 430-foot climb to the Big Rock summit of Lucas Valley and a thrilling descent through the redwoods into the ranches and grasslands of West Marin. Here the route parts ways with the other courses, wending its south and east to the town of Fairfax and the ascent to the top of Mount Tamalpais (Tam), which begins on Bolinas-Fairfax Road. The narrow and twisting road levels out as it approaches a golf course and begins to climb again to the top of Pine Mountain, site of the first rest stop.
From the here the road descends in a series of tight left turns with a decreasing radius to four miles of rolleurs ending at a dam at Alpine Lake. A two-mile ascent takes riders to a left-hand turn onto Ridgecrest Road, which offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and golden grass hillsides for the six miles of rolleurs, some with challenging grades, up to the top of Tam. At the very top is a checkpoint and the turnaround.
Riders now descend three miles that they just ascended and must take care to avoid riders finishing their climb to the top of Tam. They continue descending south to Pantoll . Continue the route by keeping left onto Panormic Highway past the Mountain Home Inn the the Junction at Four Corners and a sharp left turn onto Muir Woods Rd. These roads have sharp technical turns that require extreme caution.
A few miles past the Muir Woods gate we encounter the Santos Meadow Rest Stop. Fuel up for the stunning views ahead as we turn north on Highway 1 as it passes the Bolinas Lagoon toward Olema and into Pt. Reyes Station, where riders find their third rest stop. The course continues north on Highway 1 to a right on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, following the flat creek bed inland to Platform Bridge Rd where we make left on Petaluma Pt. Reyes Rd. up to the Nicasio Reservoir and right turn on Nicasio Valley Rd. A relatively flat stretch leads to the fifth and final rest stop at the Nicasio Schoolhouse.
A few miles later, riders begin the climb back up Lucas Valley Road to Big Rock. Riders should exercise caution on the DEMANDING DESCENT FROM BIG ROCK AT LUCAS VALLEY ROAD. This descent has several sharp left-hand turns with a decreasing radius. The remainder of the route is almost all downhill to the finish.