Landslide, bridge closure in Big Sur result in modified route for popular cycling tour
Following lengthy review, organizers of the Arthritis Foundation California Coast Classic (CCC) Bike Tour presented by Amgen have announced a route change. This year’s 8-day flagship fundraising ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles takes place Sept. 9-16 and registration is currently open.
The new routing is for days 3 and 4, and is a bypass around the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge on Highway 1 in Big Sur, which became structurally unstable after heavy storms caused a landslide last winter. The California Transportation Department (CalTrans) tore down the bridge in March and is building a replacement slated for completion in Sept. 2017.
“While we’d prefer to keep our traditional route,” said Shannon Marang Cox, ride director for the CCC Bike Tour, “our main priorities are rider safety and preserving the essence of the CCC riding experience. Chances are very slim that the bridge will be ready by early September, so we’ve decided to plan on our alternate course through Carmel Valley. The route is incredible, offering views of rivers, pastures, vineyards and mountains. Next year, we’ll return to our original course, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime year to ride CCC.”
“In true Arthritis Foundation spirit, we explored many options and are forging ahead with a plan,” Marang Cox continued. “We’ve consulted with our route team, taken several scouting trips, and kept in regular contact with CalTrans to find out whether or not the bridge will be done in time. In order to plan properly, we have to make the call now.”
Days 1 and 2 of the 2017 California Coast Classic remain unchanged, as riders depart from Pier 39 in San Francisco and travel along the Pacific coast to Santa Cruz, then Monterey. On Day 3, cyclists will ride the famed 17-Mile Drive, and then head southeast to new territory, pedaling through the bucolic Carmel Valley, alongside the Salinas River and trees draped in Spanish moss. The ride will stop for an overnight in King City.
The Day 4 route traverses the rolling Santa Lucia Mountain foothills and takes riders on a spin between Lake San Antonio and Lake Nacimiento on the way to their overnight stop in Paso Robles, which is known for hot springs and world-class wineries. On Day 5, the riders rejoin the original CCC route into Oceano, continuing to Buellton, and Ventura, and arriving in Los Angeles on Saturday, Sept. 16.
“In developing our alternate route, we selected roads that provide the exceptional rider experience that CCC is known for,” said Eli Campbell, CEO of Sentio Cycling, which provides logistics assistance to CCC. “The bypass adds about 45 miles and an additional 2,700′ of elevation gain, pending final permitting. Our 2017 route will rival previous years’ and offer a top-notch and rewarding experience for all.”
Registration for the California Coast Classic, named one of “The 30 Best Road Biking Trips” by Outside Magazine, is capped at 250 riders and expected to sell out again in 2017. The eight-day, full-service, fully supported ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles raises funds to support the research, advocacy, and programs of the Arthritis Foundation. It is open to beginner and experienced riders who commit to a fundraising goal. More information is available at arthritis.org/CaliforniaCoastClassic.