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Prepare for the Ride

March 30, 2015

Due to the lack of rain this Spring the gravel roads are getting a little more challenging. Be prepared for loose conditions with some small rocks, especially on the early sections. The roads are very similar to some sections of "strade bianche" in Tuscany. Please bring wider tires and refrain from lightweight tubes. We suggest 700x28 Continental Gatorskins to avoid punctures, on the recon ride this weekend we had 5 flats due to poor tire/tube selection. Some areas are very remote and riders need to be self-sufficient, though mechanics will be on hand at each rest stop to assist you. Free spare tubes will be provided at the rest stop mechanical aid stations courtesy of Continental Tires, the Eroica global sponsor. 

Also, if you can fit low and easy gearing to your bike it will make the climbs more enjoyable, otherwise, be prepared to push and walk. Riders were using 28 and 32 tooth rear cogs this past weekend. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you are riding the long route, we suggest to leave at 5:30am and all the long route riders must have headlights and taillights on their bicycles (safety items, modern lighting equipment is acceptable) as the sunrise on the 12th of April is at 6:34am (approximately). 

Cass Winery will be the first rest stop after 12miles.  It is a short distance from the city and some long route riders who are starting early will be passing through this rest stop since the food station will not open until 6:30am, but the stamp station will be open. Please make sure to get your Road Book stamped prior to riding through the vineyard.  From 6:30am there will be food and drinks available.  Be prepared for a tough climb out of the vineyard, the grade reaches 13% on this gravel road.  After the summit, riders are on pavement for the next 13 miles. Please make sure to RIDE SINGLE FILE on the roads with no shoulder.  

The climb up to Olea Farm Olive Oil,  rest stop #2, at Mile 29, is steep and off-camber. You will be rewarded with homemade olive oil French Fries and other fine food. Be careful on the way down and watch your speed. Riders will be coming up the narrow gravel road!

For those doing the long and medium routes, you will be turning left at Kiler Canyon off of Arbor Rd. Here the short route turns right and heads back to Paso Robles.  Kiler Canyon is the most challenging of all the gravel roads. The first half is maintained, but once the road enters the narrow canyon, the road deteriorates so pick your lines carefully. Some of this has been recently graded just to make it tougher. Be cautious on the descent to Peachy Canyon as there are some hidden rocks that may puncture your tire. 

We are fortunate to have Hidden Mountain road in the inaugural Eroica California. This is a private road through the wineries owned by Nadeau Family vintners, and Adelaida Cellars. It is a tough climb, but the road surface is good after the first 1/2mile through an orchard. Please be respectful of the property. Once the road turns to pavement, watch for oncoming winery traffic at Daou Winery. There is a spectacular view of vineyards from the top. It is a great spot to take a photo (If you are going to take a photo, please stop your bike and take a photo), but again please watch for the traffic as this is a very popular winery.  There is a steep descent to Adelaida Rd. Please test your brakes at the top and watch your speed and look out for cars. 

The third rest stop at Halter Ranch Vineyards, Mile 54, is where the medium route splits from the long route and returns to Paso Robles.  Long route riders should make sure to fuel up as the next rest stop is nearly 30 miles away. Medium route riders will take Vineyard Rd and Peachy Canyon back to Paso Robles.  This is a beautiful route. 

Cypress Mountain road is in ideal shape. The main climb comes in two sections. The later portion is the steepest part of the route reaching close to 20% just before the summit (see a photo of the summit on our Facebook page). There will be a water station at the summit. Be careful and watch your speed on the descent to Santa Rosa Creek Road and on the long descent into Cambria. Check your brakes at the summit before you proceed. Please obey the caution signs along the way. The next rest stop will be in downtown Cambria at Heritage Oaks Bank parking area, near Mile 81. After the rest stop there will be a tough little climb up to the Highway 1.  Again please watch for the traffic and obey the CHP officers directions at the intersection of Highway 1. 

Cayucos (Mile 95) has a grand entrance planned for all long route riders. Eat, drink and be merry at the beachside street fair. Don’t get too comfortable as you still have a long way to ride!!

Climbing Santa Rita Creek Road is your next major obstacle. The climb is long but relatively mellow and the route is beautiful. There will be a water station at the summit. Be prepared for a twisty, gravel descent before the road turns back to pavement. Again, check your brakes at the summit and watch your speed going down. There is one final rest stop along Santa Rita Road at Mile 113. Get what you need for the final 14miles. There will be a port-a-potty at this rest stop. 

Finally, riders will retrace their path across Arbor road but this time will turn right on Kiler Canyon and enjoy a nice descent into Paso Robles. By this time you will certainly be feeling heroic!


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