With warm breezes coming off the beach across from the start line, it will be just as difficult to leave Santa Barbara as it was in 2015 when the riders took the same route into Santa Clarita. Winding through Montecito and Carpinteria, the riders will be getting their legs ready for two short but steep KOMs as they approach Lake Casitas. A fast descent down Hwy 150 will take them alongside the lake and into Ojai. Following another KOM up Dennison Grade, the race will return to the picturesque town of Santa Paula, where the base of Balcom Canyon looms just a few miles away.
For many local riders, Balcom Canyon is just too steep and imposing a climb to even attempt. Walking up the top section is the only option for many. This is a unique climb where the riders can easily see the KOM from the start. A popular place to watch the race come by, slowly, crowd estimates have been as high as 5,000 fans in past editions.
Following a “white-knuckle” descent of Grimes Canyon, riders will head through the orange groves near the small town of Piru, and the race will begin its 13-mile eastward push on Hwy 126 toward Santa Clarita. A prevailing tailwind will help keep the race together, and the crowd waiting in Santa Clarita should see another massive field sprint. This stage comes in at more than 100 miles with two sprints, four KOMs and 7,700 feet of climbing. Host Cities for the eighth and ninth time respectively, Santa Barbara and Santa Clarita are home to some of the state’s most avid cycling communities.