Adam de Vos – Santa Cruz is where I’m currently living preparing for the 2015 season. With the H&R Block’s busy race schedule, it’s going to be full gas from the gun so it’s important to get in a good block of training in the sun.
Santa Cruz is a lot like Victoria, my hometown in British Columbia, which is why it appeals so much to me. This is my third year coming here and of the 4 or 5 spots I’ve spent a good bit of time training in, Santa Cruz is by far my favourite. The price of avocados in SoCal might be less but you can’t beat the north for riding. Some may say it can be a bit chilly in the first months of the year, it’s probably a soft Californian telling you this, so don’t pay too much attention.
Since arriving in January, I have been treated to jersey and shorts riding every day! Since I have spent a good bit of time here I thought I would compile a list of some of the highlights should you ever find yourself in Santa Cruz:
- Like most of NorCal, the roads can be a bit rough in certain places: pack chamois cream, throw on some 28mm tires, and maybe even just buy one of these these.
- Be prepared to climb, and if you’re planning a route, take into account a low average speed. You won’t be setting any average speed records but you will probably set some VAM records so pack a 28-tooth cassette as well.
- When it’s an easy day head to Verve for a coffee, it’s the best in town and when they are offering the elusive La Colmina beans, be sure to pick some up… The best I’ve ever had! After going to Verve, ride over to the Pacific Cookie Company factory; you can get the slightly deformed cookies that didn’t make the cut for a quarter a piece!
- On Saturdays hit up the group ride. Like any good Saturday ride, these are the world champs so be prepared for some epic sprints. Everyone is friendly though especially if they find out you are Canadian. When the group stops at Corralitos for a refuel, be sure to pick up a sausage from the Corralitos Sausage Co. Just make sure the group doesn’t leave without you. Perfect recovery food.
- Make sure you ride to Pescadero at least once. You may have to battle a headwind but once you arrive, pick up some of the world famous artichoke bread to refuel and on the return you will feel like an absolute boss riding at 45km/h.
- Be sure to enjoy the other stuff besides riding too. Santa Cruz has a big peer/amusement park to have some fun at, watch the surfers off East Cliff Drive, or check out the renowned Mystery Spot.
If you are planning your next bike vacation, hopefully this list convinces you to skip the one trick pony Tucson and head to Santa Cruz instead.
How many times do you really want to climb Mount Lemon?
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