The pro cyclists racing in the 2010 Tour of California will enjoy some of the best road cycling in the Bay Area when they ride the signature climbs of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties on May 12.
The race will start at 11:15 AM on Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Assuming the highway hasn't washed into the Pacific Ocean by then, the racers cycle south on Highway 1, hanging a left after Half Moon Bay to climb Tunitas Creek Road and past the Tunitas Creek Bike Hut in a near carbon copy of the 2009 Stage 2. After skirting past the bicycle friendly community of Woodside, they ride past La Honda and Pescadero as they return to the Coast Highway.
Another climb up Bonny Doon Road south of Davenport takes the cyclists into the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains, before the cyclists turn onto Empire Grade Road for the thrilling, 60+ mph descent past the UCSC campus into Santa Cruz. Here's the view coming down Empire Grade.
Unlike last year, the racers will continue straight on Bay Street to West Cliff Drive for a finish at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which will be really cool, I think. Local Santa Cruz organizers were concerned about the railroad tracks in the street next to the Boardwalk, so I'm glad they have something worked out for this.
IMPORTANT: Please post comments for this article at the new CYCLELICIOUS 2.0 version of this page.
The route actually goes down Western Drive and Swift St to West Cliff, and along there to the boardwalk. It appears that a short loop up Beach Hill (Front, 3rd, and Cliff, and a left on Beach) is the solution to the train tracks on Beach. They still cross the tracks on Pacific by the wharf, but it's not parallel with the road.
I'll have a good lens all that week. There will be so many excellent photographic opportunities and I wish I could be at all of them!
Devil's Slide area, Tunitas Creek Bike Hut, top of La Honda, Bonny Doon and Pine Flat Road, the turn at Empire Grade, anywhere along West Cliff but I think the lighthouse would be excellent, and of course by the Boardwalk as well. I'll probably take some test photos to see what turns out the best.