Route Description Confusion

Century, 100k, Piccolo, Metric, Half-Metric.  What do these descriptions mean?  It can get a little confusing, especially when there’s no consistency with all the different event distance titles.

Depending on the event organizer, the type of event or even the event organization/organizer, the same route distance can be called different names, all making it even more confusing for everyone.

In addition, there isn’t any consistency in the colors used to mark the different route distances.  Go to one event, and the century is marked with white paint.  The same century distance at another event could be marked in yellow, orange, pink, etc.

Snow skiing uses a color-shape rating system that is consistent at all the ski resorts throughout North America.  As an example, a Green Circle means that the trail is considered easy.  A Blue Square represents an Intermediate rated trail and a Black Diamond is for Advanced trails.

Currently, one of biggest issues is that there’s a lot of confusion trying to figure out which color to follow at each event.  This can cause some safety issues and unintended consequences when an event participant follows the wrong color and ends up on a longer or shorter route.

The CAAM Tour Series (CTS) has established a color-distance system that is being implemented among a growing number of events that are part of the CTS.  

Below is a general clarification of the different cycling route distances and some of the more common descriptions used.  Keep in mind that each event may use a different name or description that is not consistent with the table below.  This table is just a general reference tool.

  Typical Route Descriptions
Miles 124 miles 100 miles 74 miles 62 miles 50 miles 31 miles 15 miles 10 miles
Kilometers 200k 160K 120k 100k 80k 50k 25k 16k
General Description 200k Century Metric Century Plus Metric Century Half Century Half-Metric Century Quarter Metric Century Family
Gran Fondo Events     Gran     Medio Piccolo  
CAAM Tour Series Route Marking Colors   Yellow   Orange   Green