The day began under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as riders gathered near the Presidio in the early morning light for the second stage of Haute Route San Francisco. Following a beautiful first stage in Oakland, the group was buzzing with excitement for the panoramic ocean views and a ride through the redwoods on the classic North Bay 90-mile route with 8,500 feet of climbing.
With exclusive access to the west-side pedestrian path, the Haute Route peloton rolled across the Golden Gate Bridge on a neutral start before regrouping at the base of Hawk Hill. After a scenic ride through Sausalito, the riders turned up Panoramic Highway and got their first look at the breathtaking Muir Woods as they took on the first timed section, a 4.5 mile climb up Mount Tam, filled with redwoods, moss-covered boulders and babbling brooks. Breaking out of the heavily forested road to a sweeping view of the ocean and Marin County, riders then enjoyed a four-mile descent into Stinson Beach and took some time to refuel.
Haute Route ambassador Frank Overton was overjoyed following the descent: “The descent of Mount Tam was the best ever with the back and forth. It felt like a rollercoaster at high speed. It was so good!”
Olympic Bronze medalist speed skater and pro cyclist, Mia Manganello, was also enjoying her experience: “Haute Route is extraordinary. I’m impressed with how the event is organized and how people with a range of abilities can come out and enjoy the rides and then hammer when they want. Everybody gathers together to regroup and eat and then hammers again. It’s not the last time I’m going to do an Haute Route, for sure.”
After the descent, riders encountered a roughly 3.5-mile climb up Pine Mtn. Pass, followed by a winding descent to Alpine Dam. The next climb started almost immediately, rising 820 feet in two miles at an average 8% grade, taking riders through more of the redwood-filled forest before a twisting descent to Route 1.
After spinning back through Sausalito, riders took on the final 2.9-mile timed climb up Hawk Hill, which rises 700 feet onto the Marin Headlands, to cross the finish line with the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge in the background.
At the finish, Diana Cedeno of San Francisco was already looking forward to her next Haute Route event: “It was great. It was hard because yesterday was tough, but the views were amazing, everyone has been so friendly, and it’s a great experience. This is my first Haute Route, but I think I would do it three more times! My longest ride is usually 80 miles and I’ve never ridden multi-day events before.”
Also riding her first Haute Route, endurance athlete Jamie Brede loved her experience and plans to ride the Mavic Haute Route Rockies this summer: “Yesterday was fun and I think today was a harder effort. The views are heaven on earth. The Muir Woods are absolutely gorgeous, all of the wild roses, wild lupine, huge woods and salty sea air was incredible.”
She added: “I’ve done lots of races and events of all different kinds. The thing I love about the Haute Route is the community and how everyone comes together and works together. I also really enjoy the road racing aspect and the chance to practice tips and tactics. It is very unique.”
American Jeff Mahin was the fastest rider on the timed sections today ahead of fellow riders Rupert Cox and stage one leader Andrew Shimizu, who held onto the overall general classification jersey. In the women’s category Melanie Wong was the fastest rider on the timed sections for stage two while Breanne Nalder took the overall general classification jersey for the second day.
Tomorrow, Haute Route riders will travel to Angel Island, which is being totally shut down for Haute Route San Francisco’s final stage. The stage 3 time trial will consist of two laps of the 4.9-mile perimeter road around the island with rolling terrain and short, punchy hills adding up to 425 feet of climbing per lap.