Travel Tuesday: San Francisco (Golden Gate Overlook)

A series of stories & tips about training & traveling. 

Four miles from my house in the heart of The City. It’s easy to draw inspiration in San Francisco.

Travel is great for so many reasons –  expanding our perspective, trying new things, learning about other ways of life, adventure or relaxation. But sometimes the best way to recharge is with a solid staycation. And that’s exactly what’s on tap for Travel Tuesday this week.

I’ve lived in San Francisco for over seven years now, as many years as square miles in the city. I’ve covered most of that by bike or foot and let me tell you, a lot happens in that 7x7mi space. World class parks, like Golden Gate, Presidio and Crissy Field, provide a wealth of gorgeous outdoors almost impossible to imagine in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city.

And that’s precisely why there’s no reason someone visiting San Francisco should go for a run in a stop light interrupted, overcrowded street outside their hotel. Heck, sometimes it’s easy for residents to fall into their routine and forget how fulfilling it is to run in these parks!

If you have time for one run in San Francisco, incorporate the Golden Gate Overlook on the Coastal Trail into your mileage. I recommend this because if you run shorter distances, it’s easier to park a rental car or get a Lyft to the Golden Gate Bridge parking lot. If you’re looking for a longer run, it’s a 5mi one way from Union Square via Crissy Field. My favorite is to start from gate at Presidio and Pacific and enjoy The Presidio on one of its signature mystic mornings. I’ve linked that route here:

Presidio run to Coastal Trail (8.7mi)

While it’s true that the views and San Francisco are tough to beat, anywhere I’ve lived or traveled to, I’ve found favorite tracks that put my mind at ease as I cruise through. What are some of your favorite “back pocket” runs in your hood? Leave a reply below!

Travel Tuesday: Santa Monica Mountains (guest feature, David Cruz)

A series of stories & tips about training & traveling. 
Photo Mar 19, 9 44 21 AM

This week’s edition of Travel Tuesday takes us down (the?) I-5 to the mountains of Santa Monica. On a recent trip I brought my bike and to be honest, I probably would have just gone out and back on the PCH. But I was lucky to catch resident and Every Man Jack teammate, David Cruz. Local knowledge ftw!

I’ll be honest, the limited riding I did between Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades fit right into the stereotype of heavy LA-area traffic so when David mentioned the “Santa Monica mountains,” I was definitely pumped.

David dropped some serious knowledge on this ride, and I thought it would be really cool for anyone visiting or living in the area looking for roads to read his tips firsthand. So, take it away, David!

The riding outside of Santa Monica is very unique to anywhere else in the country.  Being next to the Santa Monica Mountains, gives you many different options.  If you want great TT efforts, you can simply head out onto the PCH and although its a little dicey in the beginning, the roads open up past Malibu, especially in farm country, with no lights, wide shoulders and an incredible view of the ocean the whole time.  And of course, if you are into climbing there are plenty of canyons to venture into: Decker, Encinal, Mulholland, Yerba Buena and a few more which all head into the valley. 

We climbed Latigo (home of Laird Hamilton) which is a very long and famous climb into the SaMo mountains.  What makes this area great is that you can connect so many different climbs together that an 8k elevation gain is all possible 10 miles from my apartment.  From Latigo most people descend on Mulholland down to Rock Store, we stopped a little further down at the “Old Place“.  If you are tired, the only downside of climbing into the valley is that you need to climb out of it in order to get back home.  We climbed Stunt which is a solid 4 mile climb back over to the top of the SaMo mountains. Piuma is a little longer and the views are nicer.  We then descended Tuna Canyon which is pretty famous for skateboarders heading down since its only one way road.  

4 hours fly by just bc you are having fun… long rides never feel like a chore here since you have so many people willing to go far and just ride.   

I can confirm everything David writes about the canyons, including the epic one way descent of Tuna Canyon. I’ll leave you with this harrowing video of longboarders BOMBING down is insane road! I’ll stick with the bike, thanks much.

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Travel Tuesday: Cycling in Cape Town, South Africa

A series of stories & tips about training & traveling. 

Photo Mar 24, 12 45 25 PM

Heard of the Cape Town Cycle Tour? I can’t blame you if not, I hadn’t before researching how to ride bikes in Cape Town during a business trip in 2011. But the Cape Argus event is “world’s largest timed cycle race” and I can attest that the route is one of the world’s most beautiful.

I didn’t do the race, I just missed it. But some quick googling turned up iRide Africa, an outfit that rents a range of quality road and mountain bikes and does private tours on road and dirt. A quick email resulted in a Giant TCR and a ride with one of iRide’s pros.

It was incredible. The riding I do every weekend in Northern California makes it tough to be awestruck by riding in other places. Snobby? Sure. But riding in the Bay Area is exceptional and diverse. Having said that, this was hands down the coolest ride I’ve ever done. Sheered cliffs, big climbs, fast descents, oceanside flats – this ride had it all.

It also is not for the faint of heart. To the tune of:

So long as you aren’t looking for a beach cruiser tour of the wineries (which also sounds awesome), do not go to Cape Town without renting a bike and doing this route. And instead of figuring out the ride by yourself, give iRide Africa a call. Lunch next to Ostriches included!

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