The Coast Ride sets off every MLK Jr. weekend and spans from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. The 400 or so miles are covered over three big days where riders depart at roughly the same time at roughly the same place to get to roughly the same destination at… a wide variety of finishing times. That is, you pay for the privilege to put your duffel bag into a moving truck with everyone else’s and upon arrival to the set destination, it’s up to you to find your meal and accommodations. Rest and repeat.
The ride is well into its third decade, which began as a pilgrimage among a small group of friends with backpacks and no vehicle support. These days, the ride has built such a fun reputation that if the weather is right, the group will swell into the three or four hundreds.
I’ve done the Coast Ride with my friends at inGamba each of the past six years. Beginning in January 2016, that was my first month of a post-World Tour career. I drove clear across the country to my new home in California and started this mega ride literally the very next day. With a half dozen editions in my legs – not to mention, riding pieces of the route in training camps and many Tours of California – I’m very familiar with the traditional San Francisco to Santa Barbara course.
I’m in the midst of rehabilitation from a broken elbow, which I suffered at Big Sugar in late October last year. After quite a bit of R&R, I spent November and December literally getting my legs back under me, so by January and with a big season ahead, I was anxious to bank some bigger miles.
For these reasons, I wanted to test out something new, exciting, and different. It is called the coast ride, after all, so why not tackle the entire California coast?
I’ve schemed doing this route in past years. Point to point rides are unique and challenging. To have the logistics covered from a single point to point ride is an undertaking. To piece nine of them consecutively together over 1,100 miles is a bit like planning half of a grand tour.
So from Oregon we set off south to the Bay Area, overlapped the traditional Coast Ride, and then continued south with Mexico as our destination.
Link to the entire route.