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ROUTE DESCRIPTIONS

Here are some quick sketches of the routes we use for our brevets. Please read them before you send in your entry. Click on the title of each route to see an overview map.

We endeavor to use our region's least trafficked roads and search for its best scenery. Sometimes we have to go into towns in order to use their stores or post offices as controls, but in general we try to avoid busy areas whenever possible. All the roads used on our brevets will be found on the excellent Krebs Cycle Products bicycle touring map of "South San Francisco Bay & Monterey Bay", also available in many local bike shops. AAA also has fine maps for its members. Look for "Monterey Bay" and "Coast and Valley". In terms of gearing for the Santa Cruz brevets, the average randonneur will want a triple crankset, and the strongest riders will need a double with a 39x25 or 27 low gear. We use miles on our route sheets instead of kilometers since this better matches American road signs, maps, and cyclists' odometers.

200k = 125 miles300k = 187.5 miles400k = 250 miles600k = 375 miles


Most of our events longer than 200 kms take advantage of the great cycling roads that lie to the south of Santa Cruz. Getting there means some urban riding during the middle of the day after the first part of the brevet is ridden in the morning to the north of Santa Cruz. Virtually all of these city streets do have a bike lane and local motorists are tolerant of cyclists. Still, if this is not to your liking you might consider other events elsewhere.

Our 2016 Routes:

  • El Granada 200k (#1386): Riders will travel north to El Granada in the morning, then return to Santa Cruz via La Honda, Haskins Hill, and Gazos Creek in the afternoon. This is a fine brevet sure to please. This video recap shows the beauty of this route.

  • Sky Londa 300k (#TBD): The Sky Londa 300k route mirrors the first part of our Surf City 600k route. From Santa Cruz it goes north along the coast highway and visits the Pescadero and the Higgins-Purisima areas before reaching the northern turnaround in El Granada. On the return trip south, riders detour inland and climb Hwy 84 to La Honda. With more climbing they will reach Sky Londa at the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains. There follows an afternoon trip over Haskins Hill near La Honda, then riders return to the coast highway via Gazos Creek Road. From Santa Cruz they continue south to Aptos and onward through the agricultural region along San Andreas Road. After reaching the southern turnaround at Jensen Road and Hwy 1, riders return to the start/finish in Santa Cruz.

  • Monterey Bay 400k (#691): Monterey Bay 400k (#691): This route uses many of the roads of our El Granada 200k in the morning before returning to Santa Cruz. From there it goes south to Marina in the afternoon and farther south in the Salinas Valley to the southern turnaround in Gonzales. The route includes fine cycling along the coast north of Santa Cruz and some delightful roads inland from San Gregorio and Pescadero. From majestic redwood forests to coastal hills to bucolic farm roads, this ride's scenery can't be beat. GPS File indicates approximately 10,000 feet of climbing.

  • Surf City 600k (#744): Riders will begin early in Santa Cruz on a Saturday morning and head north along the Pacific Coast Highway. About the time the predictable northwest winds rise, riders should be making the u-turn in Moss Beach and returning south along the coast highway. The route will turn inland at San Gregorio and climb to Skylonda and its beautiful redwood forests. Riders return to the coast via Haskins Hill and Gazos Creek. From there they will continue cycling southward through Santa Cruz and Aptos, and onward around the Monterey Bay to Marina, then southward still through the Salinas Valley to Greenfield, King City, and finally to San Ardo--hopefully with a strong tailwind. From there the route returns to King City under a full moon, but perhaps with a headwind for 40 kms. With about 415 kms done, King City's 24-hour services will make a good place for a short sleep stop and some hot food. GPX file Early Sunday morning riders will remount their bikes and return via the Salinas Valley on River Road to Marina, and then skirt the Monterey Bay back to Santa Cruz. There will likely be headwinds on Sunday afternoon, but the lack of serious climbing should help. If the rider desires to do this ride straight through without a sleep stop in King City, there will be additional 24-hour services found at Greenfield and Marina. The longest stretch between stores at night will be about 40-50 miles. There are two good motels near the start/finish for rest before and then after the ride is done. Sunset Inn and Mission Inn.

Brevet Routes for Other Years

  • La Honda 150K Populaire: This is a good early season ride to build your fitness before trying a 200k brevet. The route goes north along the ocean highway from Santa Cruz, then turns into the coastal hills on Gazos Creek road. From there the route passes through serene redwood forests. Ascending Haskins Hill before La Honda is the hardest climb of the day and the final mile before the summit will test everyone's legs. There are also numerous short climbs along the route and most riders will be glad they brought a triple crankset along, while the strongest riders will want a 39x27 low gear in spots. From San Gregorio and Pescadero, the route retraces itself back to Santa Cruz. All in all, it will be a fine day of cycling--but come prepared with clothing layers for variable spring weather that might make the brevet even harder.

  • Big Basin 200k: This ride is one of the most difficult brevets on the US calendar, but one of the prettiest too. The out-and-back route starts and ends in Cupertino, and travels to the turnaround on the coast at Davenport. There are no flat miles on this mountainous route. We estimate this route contains at least 13,000 feet of climbing. For mile after mile randonneurs will be either climbing or descending through the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains. Riders should be prepared to add at least three hours to the time they usually take to finish other hard 200k brevets. Many randonneurs will be near elimination most of the day, so long stops are not advised. Riders will climb Moody/Page Mill, Jamison Creek, Bonny Doon, and Saratoga Gap, along with many other ascents. Compared to the other brevets in our series, very low gears and especially good brakes will be needed. For those not able to keep the minimum pace on the official route, there are some bail-out options that will (hopefully) get riders back to the start/finish before darkness arrives. Come give it a try and see what you can do! (Route Profile)

  • Chualar 200k: Come celebrate the 10th anniversary of Randonneurs USA by riding the route of the first brevet organized by the Santa Cruz Randonneurs four years ago. There will be a special RUSA gift for all riders who complete the brevet. The Chualar route is on a circuit and is good for riders of all abilities. There isn't too much hard climbing except for Old San Juan Grade (5 miles long with moderate gradients), followed by Carr/Anzar Road (short but steep) in the San Juan Bautista region. Most of the hills will be encountered in the second half of the ride; be sure to pace yourself during the first half and save some energy for the trip back to Santa Cruz from Chualar. Otherwise, this ride has mostly flat to rolling roads in farmlands around the bucolic Monterey Bay and Salinas Valley regions. We estimate about 4,600 feet of climbing. GPS Track, provided by Murali Krishnan.

  • Gray Whale 200k: This is a pure out and back route from Aptos to Moss Beach. Riders will go north from Aptos to Santa Cruz and then travel to Moss Beach along the beautiful coast highway. My Garmin Edge 705 recorded about 5,800 feet of climbing. GPX file on Bike Route toaster can be found here.

  • Half Moon Bay 200k: Neither a classic out-and-back, nor a true circuit, this brevet's route follows various roads as it explores the beautiful coastal regions and redwood forests to the north of Santa Cruz. There isn't any one climb that is overly steep except (depending on one's fitness) the final mile of Haskin's Hill near La Honda. Still, there isn't a lot of flat ground either, so come ready to do some climbing. With fine views of the rugged Pacific coastline, this is surely one of the most scenic brevets in the United States. (Route Profile)

  • Moss Beach 200k (#154): This ride begins and ends in Santa Cruz, and is very similar to the last 200 kilometers of our Surf City 600k brevet. Riders will travel north along Coast Highway 1 to Gazos Creek, then go inland through majestic redwood forests to La Honda. The route returns to the coast at San Gregorio, goes north to Half Moon Bay, and northward still to the turnaround at Moss Beach. From there the route returns to Santa Cruz via the coast highway and Stage Road. Along with climbing Haskins Hill before La Honda, there are numerous short climbs along the route so come ready to do some climbing. Coastal winds can also add to the challenge. You'll enjoy great scenery throughout the entire ride. This route has ~5,600 feet of elevation gain.

  • Moss Beach 200k (#677): Riders will travel north to Moss Beach in the morning, then return to Santa Cruz via La Honda, Haskins Hill, and Gazos Creek in the afternoon. This is a fine brevet sure to please. GPX file on Bike Route Toaster indicates about 6,000 feet of climbing.

  • Gonzales 200k (#1710): This is an out-and-back route from Santa Cruz to Gonzales and back. Riders will travel south to Aptos, Moss Landing, Marina, then through the Salinas Valley to reach the turnaround in Gonzales. There are numerous hills along the way, but no long climbs.

  • Marina 300k (#1408): This is an out-n-back route that starts and ends in Santa Cruz. It travels along the coast to Half Moon Bay and the northern turnaround. From there it returns to Santa Cruz and then goes further southward to Marina and then returns to Santa Cruz. There is nice scenery throughout. Expect about 5,200 feet of climbing.

  • Night Owl 230k: Most brevets have a morning start, but here is one that begins after sundown. This all-nighter will be ridden under bright moonlight and should be very enjoyable, especially as the event uses tranquil rural roads for safe nocturnal cycling. The Night Owl's route is a circuit that begins and ends in San Juan Bautista and does a clockwise lap along lonely Highway 25 to King City, then north through the Salinas Valley. There is a mix of flat farm roads, rolling hills and several long climbs. Due to the non-standard length this ride is not listed on the Audax Club Parisien event calendar, nor does it count toward their awards. It is, however, a RUSA-sanctioned brevet and counts towards all RUSA distance awards. In any case, if you are getting ready for a tough 1200k event or just want a great ride on a summer night, the Night Owl is the brevet for you.

  • Greenfield 300k Route (#593): Riders will cycle south from Santa Cruz along the Monterey Bay, then turn inland along the west side of the Salinas Valley to reach the turnaround near Greenfield. There isn't any hard climbing on this route but afternoon/evening winds might make the return to Santa Cruz harder than the outbound leg. Come experience California's sublime cycling.

  • Pinnacles 300k: This brevet has a mix of flat farmland, rolling hills and several long climbs. The out-and-back route goes from the shores of the Monterey Bay to the hilly inland area south of Hollister on Highway 25. The April wildflowers on every hillside should provide a welcome distraction for weary randonneurs. None of the climbs are overly steep except Carr/Anzar Road, but strong spring winds on the return leg will likely increase the difficulty of the ride. Here is a Route Profile (1.5MB) recorded using the Garmin Edge 305. It is missing the last 16 miles, but shows ~7,500 feet of climbing.

  • San Ardo 400k: This brevet travels south from Santa Cruz in similar fashion to the 300k. From the Pinnacles, it continues southward along lonely Highway 25 through one of California's last unspoiled regions, and then climbs Bitterwater Summit before dropping into the Salinas Valley. Riders travel southward to San Ardo and loop back to King City. From there the route travels northward along Metz and River Roads to the shores of the Monterey Bay at Marina. This ride does not have an excessive amount of climbing but it will likely have strong headwinds in the second half of the event. Cycling north in the Salinas Valley will require a lot of determination until several hours after sundown when the wind typically dies down. Smart randonneurs will bunch up in order to work together. (Route Profile) (Google Earth Route File)

  • Central Coast 1000k (#808): The Central Coast 1000k takes riders from San Jose (near the airport and train station) to San Luis Obispo. There will be many miles of scenic cycling on some of California's best roads. In particular, the lonely "outback" on Hwy 25, the fabulous coast highway, and the bucolic vineyards and wineries of San Luis Obispo county will be quite memorable. The brevet can be ridden straight through or riders can stop along the way for sleep. Recommended rest towns are King City (227 miles for Day 1), San Luis Obispo (212 miles for Day 2), followed by the final loop back to San Luis Obispo (184 miles for Day 3). With an early start on Thursday morning and 75 hours total time, the Central Coast 1000k is designed to allow a travel day home by train, airline, rental car, or bicycle on Sunday. Climbing, as recorded with a Polar 710 HRM with sampling frequency set to 1 minute, is 11,060 feet for Day 1 (San Jose to King City), 10,900 feet for Day 2 (King City to SLO), and 8,340 feet for Day 3 (SLO Loop) for a total of 30,300 feet.

  • Skyline 200k (#145): This is a challenging brevet in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The longest climb on the Skyline 200k is in the morning up shady Eureka Canyon on (mostly) gentle gradients, then the route travels along the hilly spine of the mountains that separate the Pacific coastline from the Bay Area. Randonneurs will be treated to fine vistas of either region from Summit and Skyline Roads (if the weather cooperates.) Several of the short pitches on Summit Road are quite steep, so bring low gears. Most of the hard climbing occurs in the first 65 miles, then it's downhill to the coast via Highway 84. After San Gregorio the normal afternoon winds will (hopefully) push weary randonneurs back to Santa Cruz along beautiful, undulating Stage Road and the coast highway. GPX file on RideWithGPS indicates about 10,500 feet of climbing.

  • Kings Mountain 200k: Here's a challenging out-and-back route with a nice mixture of rolling coastal terrain north of Santa Cruz followed by a crossing of the Santa Cruz Mountains into the Bay Area. On the outbound leg this brevet goes up tranquil Tunitas Creek Road to Skyline Road and then plunges downhill to Woodside via Kings Mountain Road. After the turnaround near Stanford University, the route retraces itself back to Santa Cruz. Riders will be rewarded with a fine day in the saddle over some of our favorite cycling roads, but come ready to do a lot of climbing and some bumby descending (Tunitas Creek) on the return. (RideWithGPS) indicates about 11,500 feet of climbing


Revised: March 22, 2016 © Copyright 2003-2016 Santa Cruz Randonneurs, Inc. except as noted otherwise.