Tour De Los Padres is a challenging bikepacking route that is about 275 miles that traverses through some of the most scenic areas of the Southern Los Padres National forest.
UPDATE (Ride Recap): After taking the shuttle ride from Santa Barbara to Frazier Park on Thursday afternoon, most of the group got together to socialize over enchiladas and margaritas at La Sierra Mexican Restaurant. There were a lot of friendly people who showed up this year to have a good time and make new friends, which is what this event is really all about.
There was more snow than expected in the higher elevations and the wind was gusting at 60 to 70 MPH! It was so windy that night that it was hard to even sleep in our motel rooms. Thankfully the wind died down by Friday morning and it was pretty nice weather for the group start. I am not sure how many exactly were at the group start this year. There were a handful of riders who were not on the Trackleaders map. A friend of mine who took the group photo said he counted 21 riders, so I guess I will go with that. Big Johns could not make breakfast in time for a 7:30 start, so we started a little late around 8:20.
It was a cold morning and it quickly got cooler as we climbed up Mt. Pinos, which is the highest elevation section of the entire ride. There was quite a bit of snow at 6,500 ft. and there was about 4 to 5 inches of fresh powder at 8,000 ft.! The snow made for an interesting decent. We were all pretty sloppy looking by the time we made it to the first resupply stop in Pine Mountain Club. Everyone had mud caked on their bikes and it looked like we had just rode 150 miles, instead of only 20 miles. A lot of riders made it to “The Place” for lunch in Ventucopa by late afternoon. This is the last resupply stop for both routes and is where the shorter “Tour” route splits from the longer “Proper” route.
The route this year was in excellent shape. We did not get any huge rainstorms this year, so there were no big wash outs like last year. Big Pine-Buckhorn Road and Cameusa Connector trail were recently re-built, and were both in excellent shape. The course was riding very fast this year. The Carizzo Plain did not have huge wild flower displays like last year, but it was at least full of green meadows.
The proper route had 8 starters, 5 ended up finishing and there were 3 riders who had to unfortunately call it quits. Only 1 out of 3 rigid riders finished this year, proving that this route is better suited to at least a hard tail bike. The top proper route finishers were Art Degoede of Arroyo Grande, CA and Tony Buoncristiani of Ketchum, ID who both finished together and shared the fastest time of 2 days, 10 hours, 37 minutes.
The shorter “tour” route was very popular this year. 100% of tour riders finished this year! The fastest time on the tour route was Devin Carter of Newbury Park, CA who ITTed a week after the group with a time of 1 day, 7 hours, 0 minutes
There were also many other bikepackers on the route riding alternate or shorter versions of both of these routes. Here seems to be a local bikepacking community forming around this event, which is exciting to see.
Tour De Los Padres is a challenging bikepacking route that traverses through some of the most scenic areas of the Southern Los Padres National forest. Elevations along the route range from sea level to about 8,500 feet. This expedition is a true test of physical endurance, but most importantly mental toughness. You will ride forested singletrack, ride high elevation plains, see ancient Chumash paintings, and travel through some of the most remote backcountry California has to offer.
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*Event location is tentative, check the website for updates.
For additional information latest updates, please visit: www.tourdelospadres.weebly.com