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Carolina Century 102-Mile and Athens to Atlanta 87-Mile Route Elevation Profile Comparison

roadskater's picture

Lots of skaters have asked how the Carolina Century compares with Athens to Atlanta in terms of distance and elevation. It's hard to say but my impression has been that:

  • First! People will ask is the Carolina Century for skaters or cyclists...forget that...it's FOR people with Multiple Sclerosis, who can't enjoy the sport we do as we do. Skaters and cyclists of good will are invited to contribute and participate in honor of people with MS and in support of multiple sclerosis, research and treatment; every other goal of the Carolina Century is secondary to helping people with this disease.
  • Beyond this, we focus on a great route, excellent rest stops, useful support, great company, and representing our sport with love.
  • If you come, you can help us show that roadskaters are safe and friendly...and if you can't help us with that this is not your event...come to have a fun, relaxed, rural, smooth, beautiful, rolling hills route (the shorter routes are scenic, as well, particularly the 51, also the 31 and 82.
  • Athens to Atlanta has an unrivaled reputation as the top roadskate of the year for distance junkies.
  • Both events have a safety talk the night before, with preregistration for the sunrise start. This is a required meeting for skaters, and cyclists are welcome.
  • The Carolina Century starts and finishes at a church, where the people are opening up their facility to us without charge as a gift to the community in service of people with Multiple Sclerosis. Please thank them and show by your actions that you appreciate their donation to our cause and for our benefit as well.
  • A2A is point to point, and Carolina Century is 1 or 2 loops (actually 1 loop or a group of connected loops and lassos that let us double-up rest stops on the 102, 82 and 72).
  • Carolina Century is organized as a tour for fast and slow, skaters and cyclists, an extension of the distance season, and a great time to get in a last long ride or roll for the year with friends in a more cooperative pack after A2A.
  • The Carolina Century will never match Athens to Atlanta, and isn't trying to...it's another way to celebrate roadskating with roadcyclists and to prove to the world our record of safety and ability to mix with cyclists and other traffic.
  • Athens to Atlanta connects two interesting and wonderful cities; the Carolina Century avoids cities and skirts the edges of interesting and wonderful towns.
  • Since the Carolina Century avoids cities, and hotels and airports are in cities, there's a 35-minute drive to the start in the morning, but you finish back at your car, your stuff, your comforts, and have free lunch (or dinner, as the case may be). Rental cars are inexpensive and if you need a ride, I'll try to find one for you if you contact me well in advance.
  • Like A2A, The Carolina Century has lots of places with fast runouts. 
  • All vaguely urban sections occur early in all routes.
  • There's only one T into a downhill stop of any significance (on the 51 and 102 only) where a skate brake or skate wheel wear are in order (on a maintained bike it's a firm but easy stop).
  • On the 72, 82 and 102, there's one superfast supershort drop with a curve leading into it but with a great runout.
  • We cover the route thoroughly at the safety talk, and you get maps and turnsheets.
  • There are several long drops similar to Silver Hill but only one as fast; most are longer and slightly less fast with very few driveways.
  • It is at least as smooth; the route was picked to be smooth, scenic, safe, rural.
  • The largest climbing sections are not as long as A2A, but there are lots of rolling climbs.
  • The difference between min and max elevation is not as great.
  • Cyclists are encouraged to donate and ride, and we expect about 8 to 10 times as many cyclists as skaters, plus there are two starts, one for long distance skaters and cyclists (preregistered only), another for those who'd like to sleep in and ride or skate less.
  • The entry fee is $25 in advance/$30 day of.
  • Preregistration required for 10 hour support and rollout at 730am.
  • Sleep-in start at 9am with reg at 8am for anyone needing 8.5 hours or less support.
  • Additional routes of 21, 31, 51, 72 and 82 miles.
  • The Carolina Century start/finish is the same location, basically in the countryside, so we can start and finish there, getting the more urban areas completed while we're fresh and drivers are still in bed (still there are very few sections of road over 3 lanes...the vast majority is rural two-lane like the first half of Athens to Atlanta outside the 10 Loop in Athens).
  • It's not a race (go FAST WITHIN THE LAW and represent roadskating and cycling to other participants and the people of North Carolina with skateylove...please...we're working on our future).
  • Police will not be stopping traffic or creating a festival for you, but they seem to respond very well to a wave and hello in almost every situation...let's show them we are skilled and considerate road users out raising money for MS.
  • Like A2A, you are entirely responsible for skating and cycling within your skill limits and within the law. If anyone can see you not following traffic laws, even a regular driver, you hurt our cause a little.
  • We don't plan to have awards or have an official clock, because that sounds like a race to some folks, but we are interested in such things and would like to keep records and to honor your effort...more than anything else we thank you for donating to help people with MS.
  • We have lots fewer volunteers than A2A and are more of a tour, but we do have Bike Response Team support and motorcycle club course monitors and cyclists joining us for the fun and safety.
  • There will be cyclists so there'll be plenty of people to chase.
  • Travel notes: If coming from out of town, fly in to GSO airport, grab an inexpensive rental car (or make plans with us for a ride to the start and finish), and stay at one of the moderate hotels near the intersection of NC68 and I40. This will put you in good shape to drive to the start finish by going around instead of through Greensboro. The Carolina Century should be a very inexpensive skate weekend relative to almost anywhere we go usually.
  • All conditions are subject to change of course.

Here are some graphs showing the courses comparatively, using the best data sets I had from A2A 2008 (mine) and RSNCC 2008 (TomB's). Thanks to Skatey-Mark and Eebee for additional data.

More information at the more general cyclist-oriented page: carolinacentury.com

More skatecentric info at: skate.carolinacentury.com

Here's a map of where the airport hotels are, and how to get to the church that serves as our start and finish area.

Hotels near GSO airport to Gospel Baptist Church Carolina Century Start/Finish

View Larger Map


Gospel Baptist Church
5945 N Church St
Greensboro, North Carolina
United States
36° 13' 15.4524" N, 79° 47' 21.0876" W


Benjamin11's picture

These animations are pretty

These animations are pretty cool for comparison.


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