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2018 3CR Route Description and Past Ride Reports

Detailed Route links from RWGPS will be provided here once the route is approved by Randonneurs USA.

The California Central Coast Randonnée (3CR) is a tour of the beautiful region that lies between the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Barbara. The 2018 3CR begins and ends in Santa Cruz. There are many kilometers of fine cycling and wonderful scenery throughout. The 2018 3CR route will be different from the event four years ago due to an ongoing road closure on Hwy 1 north of Ragged Point, but this year’s route has quieter roads and special charms of its own.

All the 3CR participants will leave together at 6 AM, whether they are doing the 1000 km or 1200 km distance. The two events share the same route for the first thousand kilometers. Either distance can be ridden straight through and there will be a full moon to help. It is envisioned, however, that most riders will want to take advantage of the bag drops and grab a few hours of sleep each night. The 1000 km brevet has a 75-hour time limit and is sanctioned by the Audax Club Parisien; the 1200 km ride has a 90-hour time limit and is sanctioned by the Randonneurs Mondiaux. Completing either distance will enable riders to get into the first registration group for the 2019 Paris-Brest-Paris.

The 3CR route is hilly and riders will want to prepare for a randonneuring challenge that will test their mettle. The 1000 km distance has approximately 31,500 feet of climbing; the 1200 km distance has about 39,000. Some gradients are steep and most riders will want a 1:1 low gear. Weather conditions will likely include cool coastal fog, wind, and hot inland summer temperatures. On the remote inland sections of the route, such as on Peach Tree Road and Cahoon Summit, the 3CR will have water stops set up for riders.

Day One: The 3CR departs Santa Cruz early on a Sunday morning and goes south to King City via the quiet redwood forests of Hazel Dell, the coastal hills around Aromas, and the Pinnacles National Monument on Highway 25. After ascending Bitterwater Summit and refueling in King City, riders will tackle lonely Peach Tree/Indian Valley Road and get to Paso Robles for a late dinner. Their day is not done, however, and 3CR riders will climb over Hwy 46 to reach the coast and the overnight control and bag drop in Morro Bay. Approximate Distance: 229 miles/369 km Approximate Climbing (RWGPS): 12,500’

Day Two: From the first overnight stop in Morro Bay, riders will continue through the vineyards and farmlands south of San Luis Obispo. The 3CR reaches Los Olivos on its southern march then begins the return ride north over lovely Foxen Canyon. Riders return to the coast via San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay, and then climb over challenging Old Creek Road and Hwy 46 to reach the second overnight stop in Paso Robles. Approximate Distance: 202 miles/325 km Approximate Climbing (RWGPS): 9,000’

Day Three: Riders retrace their Day One route over Indian Valley/Peach Tree Road to reach King City. Traveling north through the Salinas Valley on Metz Road, riders will turn into the hills past Greenfield and tackle the hot climb up to Cahoon Summit. There is a lovely descent into the Carmel Valley, but soon 3CR riders will need to shift into their bottom gear to ascend Laureles Grade to reach the Monterey Bay coastline. From Marina there aren’t any more significant hills to climb and randonneurs will be happy to reach Santa Cruz and finish off the 1000 km distance. Approximate Distance: 193 miles/311 kilometers Approximate Climbing (RWGPS): 10,000’

Day Four: While the 1000k riders are celebrating earning their well-deserved brevet and getting a good night’s sleep in Santa Cruz, the 1200k riders have one more day on the road to get theirs. The 3CR continues north along the beautiful San Mateo coastline to Half Moon Bay and El Granada, then returns south to San Gregorio. From there the route makes an excursion inland into the majestic redwood forests around La Honda. Though no doubt enjoying the spectacular scenery, weary 3CR riders have one more major obstacle to tackle, Haskins Hill. Once over the top, the route back to Santa Cruz has a few more short hills, and probably a tailwind to push riders back to the finish line to receive their hard-won 3CR finisher’s medal. Approximate Distance: 124.5 miles/200 kilometers Approximate Climbing (RWGPS): 7,700’

Equipment Suggestions: The 3CR is definitely a hard brevet and having low gears to tame steep grades will be desired by most finishers. Most of the gradients along the route are less than 9% but there are several hills that are steeper and a bottom gear with a 1:1 ratio will be appreciated by many riders unless they are particularly strong. The road surfaces vary from excellent to poor, so riding 25-28mm or wider tires is recommended. If you normally ride 23mm width tires, you may find them somewhat narrow for the bumpier sections of the route. Most important of all, each entrant, no matter their gearing or tires, will need to carry clothing layers to cover a wide range of temperatures, and good front and rear lights and effective reflective safety gear. You will see the lighting and safety equipment requirements spelled out in the 3CR Rules section.

Past Ride Reports
Much of the 3CR is based upon our successful 1000k brevet in 2010 and our 1000k/1200k 3CR in 2014. Here are a few ride reports that will help you learn more about the route:

Equipment Suggestions
The 3CR won't require any special bikes or equipment compared to other randonneuring events, but it is definitely a hard brevet and having low gears to tame some steep grades will be useful for most entrants. Most of the gradients are less than 9%, but there are sections that are steeper and a bottom gear with a 1:1 ratio will be appreciated by many riders unless they are particularly strong. The road surfaces vary from excellent to poor, so riding 25-28mm or wider width tires is recommended. If you normally ride 23mm width tires, you may find them somewhat narrow for the bumpier sections of the route. Most important of all, each entrant, no matter their type of gearing or tires, will need to bring good lights, both front and rear. You'll see the lighting and safety equipment requirements spelled out in the 3CR Rules.


Revised: January 8, 2018 © Copyright 2003-2018 Santa Cruz Randonneurs, Inc. except as noted otherwise.