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cycling trip Southern California Base Camp

Dates: 3/19 - 24, 2017

(6 days, 5 nights; Sun -Fri)




Assembly Point: Santa Barbara

(airline service to Santa Barbara; Timberline van shuttles from Santa Barbara to Solvang, CA and back).

Meeting time, 3/19 - airport 1 pm, hotel 1:30 pm

Drop off time: 3/24 - 5 pm

Tour Cost: $2,390

(includes all lodging, breakfasts and dinners, support van, round-trip shuttles, leaders, tour maps & narratives)

Single Occupancy Lodging Cost: $520

Inn Highlights

  • The Landsby


For years, we have eyed Santa Barbara County for a cycling adventure, this year it is on! Santa Barbara and the Solvang in the scenic Santa Ynez Valley just inland have served as a mecca of sorts for cyclists. Whether it’s steep climbs or beautiful, serene rides to the ocean, Santa Barbara has you covered. Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara County is the northernmost gate of the Southern California Kingdom. It is blessed with a year-round, Mediterranean climate, world-class wineries and gorgeous surrounding countryside. If you have an interest in great road-bicycling you owe it to yourself to join us and visit the Santa Barbara region. We are visiting the best time of the year; the wild flowers are out in spectacular fashion. The lush green grass hills are filled withspecks of yellow and orange. The ranches will be filled with colts and calves – cow and buffalo.

While enjoying the splendors of Solvang after a day’s ride, it will be evident why the area had been used by Lance Armstrong and his Discovery Team as a winter pre-season training rides, has become a fixture for the Amgen Tour of California, America’s version of a Tour de France and is now joining the Timberline family ofclassic rides. Day 1 Santa Barbara to Lake Casitas Our first day’s ride might be the most beautiful of the week with hill climbs, dramatic Lake Casitas as well as the remarkable Pacific Ocean, then throw in the subtle beauty of the central coast's rolling hillsides and picturesque pastures and itis hard to see what this ride doesn’t have.

Starting from our Santa Barbara hotel, this ride to Lake Casitas and back has options for 40, 50 and 67 miles with up to 6100 feet of climbing. Prepare to experience subtly beautiful farms along the rolling farmland and orchards of Carpinteria. Once we hit Casitas Pass road, the climbing begins until you reach Casitas Summit. As we catch our breath at the summit at the second hillcrest, beautiful views of Lake Casitas explode. Those brilliant views will sharpen our desire to visit the lake; which we will accomplish via an exhilaration descent on wide roads with sweeping turns. After enjoying the Lake close up, it is off to the beach as we ride up the coast back to Santa Barbara. Day 2 Old San Marcos Pass to Painted Cave Road The next day we are off to the wonders of Solvang before you start to think that our 35 mile day is a goof off day filled with coffee shops and Pinot Noir tastings our route takes in one of the best climbs in Southern California. Old San Marcos Pass – the original route over the mountains - and Painted Cave Road offers a tough but stellar cycling climb with winding mountain roads and panoramic views.

Beginning near sea level, we climb out from our hotel into very rural and remote terrain. Almost immediately we have excellent views of the Santa Barbara Coast and Pacific Ocean. The climb is made up of 3 distinct segments: The initial climb: this portion of the climb gives us nice views of the coast and surrounding Santa Ynez Mountain Range (part of the Pacific Coast Range). There is a ½ mile section with an average grade of 11.0%. Who needs coffee to wake up!! Along the second portion of the climb, we ride along a lightly traveled road that for about a very unique ½ mile includes Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park with a canopy of trees that cover the road and surround us as we climb. The final segment begins in the community of Painted Cave and travels 3.5 miles to the top of the climb. The final couple miles are along a ridge which offers views to the west of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Barbara/Goleta area and to the east of the rugged Santa Ynez Mountains. This final stretch is tame by comparison to the first two. Of historic note, Laurel Springs Ranch, once owned by Jane Fonda is located along our route, just past the Painted Cave community. We have a ride option that has about 2000 feet less climbing, if you are not feeling it that day, which every bit as lovely.

From there we enjoy the well-earned descent to Cachuma Lake and the rolling country side to Santa Ynez and our home the rest of the week: Solvang. This is a great afternoon to explore Solvang. Day 3 Solvang to the Beach. The following morning calls for another great day of riding. There are so many hills and roads to choose from. So on this fine morning we are headed East to the ocean on a restful route. After skirting the edge of Hans Christian Andersen Park, we jump onto a great road to ride. Santa Rosa Road, a 20 mile or so stretch, which takes you on a slightly ascending cut through green-pastured hillsides as we peddle toward Lompac and the beach. On this route we will pass several more wineries. The Sanford Winery has an extra-special setting and is worth a visit and rest stop. The ride passes through Lompoc on our way to the day’s goal; Vandenburg State Marine Reserve. After a return through Lompoc, we will take a Northern route though the vineyards and wineries of the region.

Day 4 Four Canyons: Ballard-Foxen- Cat-Drum Today is about canyons – four – and wineries – tons including: Fess Parker, Kendal Jackson and Foxen. This route winds its way up, down and around through the pastoral roads surrounding Santa Ynez Valley on Ballard and Foxen Canyons. It continues along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail out to Cat Canyon into Los Alamos. The ride concludes with a climb up the north side of Drum Canyon followed by a long descent through the valley.

First up is Ballard Canyon, which is a beautiful quiet canyon with picturesque scenes of the lower Purisima Hills’ pastoral grasslands and meadows dotted with grazing horses, cattle, goats and alpacas. The soft rolling green hills lined with miles of grape vines fill up the rest of this bucolic landscape. This is gorgeous back country. The gentle climb up to the top of Ballard Canyon has amazing views of the Santa Ynez Valley! We then head north up Foxen Canyon another beautiful quiet canyon with horse ranches and contoured green hills with old oaks. You can see the San Rafael Mountains in the far distance. We are traveling what is known as the “Foxen Canyon Wine Trail” with many of the Valley’s oldest and best-known wineries and vineyards. Cat Canyon is our third canyon. The rolling flat terrain on the bottomlands passes through the open meadows and grasslands with grazing cattle and horses. The road wiggles along the side of the mountain with gorgeous views of the canyon and valley. The descent on Cat Canyon goes through Solomon Valley with its acres of vineyards and golden hills.

After a break in Los Alamos, it’s on to the final canyon of the day - Drum. Drum Canyon weaves through the Purisima Hills. The six miles along the valley passes through gorgeous colored fields of lupines and yellow wildflowers. Farmland occupies the majority of the landscape with a few working ranches and farmhouses. Another fantastic day riding along the beautiful and quiet four canyons surrounding Santa Barbara County. Day 5 Back to Santa Barbara After our exertions on Figueroa, today is a delightful ride back to Santa Barbara. After a few rolling hills, it is downhill to the beach. Along the way we will ride through Gaviota State Park, beaches galore, including Refugio and El Capitan State Parks and even a butterfly park in Goleta. A beautiful ride to end a great ride in a Garden of Eden for cyclists.


Pre-tour Assemble, bike fitting and Orientation Dinner  
Day 1 Santa Barbara - Lake Casitas - Carpinteria 40, 50 or 60
Day 2 Old San Marcos Pass - Painted Cave – Cachuma Lake – Santa Ynez - Solvang 35
Day 3 Solvang – Santa Rosa Rd Lompoc - Vandenburg Marine Reserve 65
Day 4 Four Canyons: Ballard – Foxen –Cat - Drum 60
Day 5 Solvang – Gaviota St Park – Refugio – El Capitan 37

Total cycling mileage: 237 - 257


Routes, mileage and accommodations are subject to change due to safety, road/trail conditions, weather and availability.