Pescadero Road Race

Promoter: Alto Velo

Course: A Hilly 44.5 km loop through Pescadero, San Gregorio and La Honda.

Course Description: There are three major climbs in this race.  The first two come on Stage Road between Pescadero and Highway 84.  Stage Road – Climb #1, Stage Road – Climb #2.  After about 12km gradually uphill on 84 the course turns right and heads towards the finish climb on Haskins Hill.  The descent from Haskins down towards Pescadero is fast and there are a few tricky corners.  The corners aren’t treacherous, but you will want to pay attention and you will have to use your brakes.

Remember that you are on the coast here and while it might be beautiful on the other side of the coastal range where you came from, it can be cold, foggy and wet here.  You would be wise to show some restraint on the first lap descents so you don’t get caught by surprise by a wet patch in a corner that you weren’t expecting.

Road Surface: The roads are all in good shape.

Gearing:  This used to be a lot more of an issue.  Now with 11 speed drive trains I run an 11×26 with my mid-compact 36×52 for almost all of my races.

Facilities: Restrooms and water are available at the start area and there are grocery and convenience stores in Pescadero a couple of miles from the start area.

Weather: Expect cool temperatures due to the early start and also the proximity to ocean. On the eastern portion of the course near La Honda and the Haskins climb it might be warmer/less foggy than the Pescadero side.  In either case, over heating is almost never going to be an issue at this race.  Come prepared for cold and possibly wet weather and be pleasantly surprised if it’s not.  Layers are the key.  I almost always start with a wind vest that I’ll take off and stuff in my pocket at some point.

Feeding: The feed zone has been located on Pesacadero Road shortly after turning off of Highway 84.

Rules Specific to this race: Nothing you aren’t used to but they are especially concerned with the center line rule here.

Race Advice: This is a hilly race.  You need to have at least some climbing ability to do well here.  It is a long way between the two climbs on Stage Road and the climb up Haskins Hill.  It is pretty common for groups to go between the climbs while everybody else picks their nose and waits for somebody else to chase.  On 84 between Stage and Haskins and after the descent of Haskins heading towards Stage Road are the two most likely places for groups to roll away.  Strong riders can get caught out thinking that they don’t want to tow the field around.  They might be thinking that they will attack on the upcoming climb.  But you might find yourself 1-2 minutes down by the time you get to that hill and you might run out of time chasing your prey.

This course tends to slowly beat people down.  None of the climbs are super long.  The longest climb up Haskins is only 2.3km long.  But it will wear on you.  So this race won’t be like Mt. Hamilton where one long climb shreds the field down to small groups.  This race will find riders going out the back in small groups until you end up with a smaller group towards the end.

For the finish the best advice I can give is to get ready to suffer.  No matter what it is going to be some kind of a drag race up Haskins to the finish.  As you get close to the finish the road flattens out.  This is a spot where riders you previously thought were dead might come alive.  Hopefully that is you and you’ll be able to catch the person who is just ahead.  But be careful as it might also be the person behind you!

Corrections and additions, please email me!

Kevin Metcalfe


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