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Santa Ynez ride

Old 06-30-22, 04:43 PM
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sanmateoclimber
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Santa Ynez ride

Hi SoCal people,

I'm going to be spending the long weekend in Santa Barbara, and I managed to bag spousal permission to bring my bike down for a good ride. I'm not familiar with the area, but it seems like it might be a good idea to drive 30ish miles from Santa Barbara to Santa Ynez to do this loop: https://www.epicroadrides.com/cyclin...n-canyon-loop/



I'm curious if anybody knows these roads and has any tips they would care to pass along? I'm wondering if there's a best place to park in Santa Ynez, if there are good spots to know for breaks/refilling bottles, etc.

Alternatively, if you were in Santa Barbara and had one day for an epic road ride, what would you do? It seems like driving to Santa Ynez is probably a good move, but I'd be happy to convinced that there's a great ride I can do directly from Santa Barbara or nearby.

Thanks in advance, and happy trails!
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Old 07-01-22, 02:45 AM
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it's better to drive up ca hwy 154 over san marcos pass and park at the large lot/turnout just west of the big traffic circle where the 154 meets the 246 and happy canyon rd.
you'll know it when you see it driving towards santa ynez as the turnout will be on your right. the roads are scenic and there is just enough support if you need to grab a snack or some water.
prefer the figueroa mountain brewery tasting room in los olivos for a tasty beer stop if you end up doing the ride(s) later in the day. since you're riding on the weekend, highly recommend starting
at the crack of dawn and being back to the lodging by 10 am at the latest to avoid the busiest traffic. can't recommend riding
from santa barbara up and down (and back) san marcos pass/ca hwy 154. lots of fast and heavy traffic. it's done by cyclists but pretty sure none of us like it.

directly from santa barbara, there is the old san marcos, painted cave, east camino cielo and gibraltar rd loop. either direction is a beast. about 40 miles from dtown santa barbara with over 5k el gain
with some of it double digit grades. zero support once into the hills/mtns. epic and a socal must-do. bring your best climbing bike/gears and eat your wheaties/bring two bottles. east camino cielo (in either direction)
is arguably the most scenic mountain road in socal. generally pretty low traffic as well but if you can knock it out before 11am on a weekend, there'll be less traffic and it'll be cooler.
give yourself 4.5 hours to do it if you're in decent but not world-class shape and you're okay with thrashing up painted cave or gibraltar. make sure your phone is fully charged...you'll want to take lots o' pics.

there's also the fig(ueroa) mtn loop from the parking area described above in the first paragraph. slightly easier than the gibraltar/painted cave loop but only slightly. again, zero support/stores once into the void.
definitely worthy as well.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 07-01-22 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 07-03-22, 08:21 AM
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Personally I wouldn't even leave Santa Barbara. I'd pedal up Gibraltar, over Camino Cielo and down Painted Cave.
That's one of my all time favorite rides ever.
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Old 07-03-22, 08:26 AM
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Thanks man -- after a little more research (and the previous response above,) that's exactly what I decided to do with my one big Santa Barbara bike day. I was actually just getting everything together to hit the road as this notification came in. A few more gulps of coffee then it's OFF TO GIBRALTAR!!!
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Old 07-05-22, 03:11 AM
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and it went exactly how...?
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Old 07-05-22, 08:24 AM
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Uhhhhh, yeah, this was pretty okay I guess.

HAHA no this ride was a stunner! Up Gibraltar, across El Camino Cielo, and down Painted Cave for a gorgeous loop. Unforgettable views, an epic climb to give you a real sense of accomplishment, and hey why not throw in some roadside viewing of mysterious Chumash cave paintings on your cruise back down to town? I got stung by a bee in the neck on the dreamy descent down San Marcos Rd, but I don't think even that wiped the grin off my face for more than a few seconds.

I love that Santa Barbara just kind of quietly has an epic Mount Diablo-sized climb tucked away back there. I only passed three other cyclists on the climb, and almost no car traffic at all. Just me and the mountain, exactly as it should be. I'm also curious to try the clockwise version of this some day, tackling the steep narrow climb of Painted Cave road.

I would definitely recommend doing this ride early to avoid the heat of the day, if only because water could be a real issue on a hot day. I read that there is a water spigot by the roadside somewhere on Painted Cave, but I never saw it (I had half a bottle left and was on my way down, so I wasn't looking too hard.) Otherwise, no water sources once you've left town.

I got out for a shorter bonus ride yesterday morning too, and just made an easy loop by going east along the coast, north through Montecito, and back west along Mountain Drive. A great little ride in its own right! After the big ride Sunday, my legs were not too disappointed to only do like 1200 feet of low grade climbing in the beautiful foothills.

Love ya, Santa Barbara, I'll be back!
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