After so many trips to the Central Coast, for wine tasting, cycling, getting out of the heat, and just plain getting away, I decided to do a cycling ride or race, the Country Coast Classic on the coast with some friends. We will head over to Cayucos on Friday, do some beer and wine tasting, then do our ride on Saturday morning.
So, why Cayucos? With a population under 3000, this town reminds me of my hometown (Kingsburg) when I was growing up, less the intense summer heat, of course. Cayucos is the Hispanic made word from the Chumash word for kayak or canoe. Maybe I should bring my kayak too?
The Chumash people settled here back in 11,000 to 10,000 BC, in a large village south of Cayucos, at Morro Creek. The first Europeans did not arrive until 1769. Perhaps it was Juan Crespi, a Franciscan missionary and expedition member. The town took its name from Rancho Moro y Cayucos, a Mexican land grant, awarded in 1842. A bit later, in 1867, Captain James Cass settled on 320 acres, and founded the town of Cayucos.
Perhaps, for those of you outside of California, you might remember an ill-fated Pacific Southwest Airlines flight 1771, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. A disgruntled and recently fired employee shot the crew, the plane crashed with all 43 passengers and crew. What made this event memorable for me is that a few people I knew were scheduled on that flight. They missed the flight since an elderly board member of one of my client hospitals told the others that she would not run to catch the flight. So, they all decided to take the next flight, and travel together. What a wise move!!!
Getting back to the present, Cayucos is best known as a sleepy beach town, a respite from the heat of the Valley, or the smog of the Los Angeles basin. It has a distinct laid back vibe, a strong 50s feel, and lots of sunny, sandy beaches. I would say hiking, biking, and fishing are the main activities, along with “beaching” and relaxing. Or for me, eating some good seafood!
Located between Morro Bay and Cambria, it is a slightly forgotten place on the coast. Only 30 minutes from Hearst Castle, Cayucos is about halfway between SF and LA. The summers are cool, and sunny, while winters are sunny and mild. The Cass Wharf, a free public fishing pier, is their big attraction, along with the sandy beaches.
As you might guess, seafood is a big attraction here, with numerous restaurants specializing on the “fruits” of the ocean. With nearby wineries and breweries, it makes a great destination for almost all types of travelers.
When we were kids, taking a day trip or an overnight trip here was a big deal. We enjoyed the cooler weather, as much as the food or the beach time. We never turned down a chance to visit when our relatives offered to bring us along.
But ostensibly, we are here to cycle the Country Coast Classic, and less so for beaching, eating, and drinking. I am not sure if we are doing the quarter or half century at this point. The quarter goes: starting from the Pinedorado Grounds in Cambria up the coast to the Elephant Seal Rookery and back. Ride the whole way for 25 miles or just to Hearst Castle and back for 15 miles. This is a great choice for families since this section of Highway 1 has wide shoulders. A well-supplied rest stop awaits you at the Vista Point turnaround. The half century: Pedal up Hwy 1 from the Pinedorado Grounds in Cambria to Ragged Point and back. This route has one hard hill climbing up to Ragged Point. Rest Stops with scrumptious goodies are found along the way at Vista Point and at Ragged Point. Riders must ride single-file on a narrow shoulder on the northern portion of this route to Ragged Point. This ride is a good test of your riding skills.
For myself, along with the ride, I want to stop at the Firestone Walker Brewery for some of their great “805” brew. They describe it like this: A light, refreshing blonde ale, created for the laid back California lifestyle. Subtle malt sweetness is balanced by a touch of hops, creating a versatile beer with a clean finish. 4.7% ABV and available wherever beer is sold if they don’t have it, demand it.
What next? Well, just drive over on Friday for the race on Saturday. Whatever else happens on Friday, I am certain it will involve brews, wines, and seafood. Then check into the race, and the hotel. Get a good night’s rest, load up on coffee and carbs, and GO!!!