A few miles from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Haute Route San Francisco riders gathered today to check in and pick up their race packets. The 3-day, 181-mile course will take them north over the bridge into Marin County, south to Half Moon Bay, and then to Angel Island for a final time trial.
One of the world’s top destinations for business, culture, and cycling, San Francisco drew an international peloton for the challenging three-day event. “I got the Infinity Pass and I figured I’d do all the North American events,” said Andre Kokis. “I did all three of the seven-day events in Europe over the past few years and I loved the experience. I’ve ridden once in the San Francisco area. It’s great riding and beautiful scenery so I was looking forward to coming back. The time trial on the island will certainly be something spectacular.”
Stage 1 starts by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge for a classic Marin County loop. After an initial climb over the shoulder of Mt Tamalpais, riders will pause in Muir Beach for a feed station before riding north along the coast. Turning inland at Point Reyes Station, the course climbs gradually until the drop into Fairfax. Leaving Fairfax, riders reach the biggest challenge of the day: a timed segment that includes the road past Alpine Dam and up to the summit of Mount Tamalpais.
Simon Edwards-Parton, a British member of the Poison Spiders Cycling Club who recently completed the Haute Route Pyrenees – Haute Route Alps double, offered this insider view of the course: “I live here in the Bay Area. Stage 1 is a beautiful course with absolutely stunning views, great coastal riding, and really quite big climbs. They’re not Alpine-level, but these are good 30 minute to hour-long climbs. Going up through the trees you’re pretty sheltered from the wind, but I hope people brought low gears.”
The course is only one factor that drew riders to Haute Route San Francisco. “Meeting people is what I love about these events,” said Mindy Simmons, who earned her entry by winning her age group in the 2018 Gran Fondo National Series. “The timed segment format allows you to have that camaraderie, because you get to be competitive for a bit, but between the timed segments you get to chill out and meet people. Then, with three days of riding, you get to see them more than once, so you get to rebuild those connections day after day.”
As the sun started to dip behind the Golden Gate Bridge, riders came together at the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf for the Opening Ceremony and to meet new and old friends at the opening night Pasta Party. After a good night’s sleep, the real party starts at 7:00am on Friday morning when the peloton rolls out from Sports Basement Presidio to create lifelong memories over three days of stunning views, big climbs, and thrilling descents.