2017 Sea Otter Classic Camel Valley Summary:
- Event by: Sea Otter Classic
- Starting Location: Laguna Seca, Montery, California, USA
- Bike Length: ~ 146 km. Elevation gain: ~ 1000 m.
- Hill profile: One medium and one short hill.
- Good for: Base training.
- Route Highlights:
- Riding on Laguna Seca raceway!
- Semi-dry California hills.
Ride Beyond Taiwan
In March I have completed my military service requirement as a Taiwan citizen. As my oversea travel ban was lifted with the end of my service, what can be better to do a ride outside of Taiwan to celebrate my freedom? Thus I took a business travel opportunity and joined the Sea Otter Classic Camel Valley Ride.
Sea Otter Classic is an annual bike festival with product booths (lots of discount stuff), bike races, bike rides and parties. It is held at Laguna Seca, a classic raceway commonly appeared in many race car video games.
Dawg enjoying the sunshine.
A mountain bike downhill racer.
Although Sea Otter is more for mountain biking, it does have a road bike gran fondo ride through the beautiful Camel valley wine region, which I did this time (the other shorter ride was through Monterrey’s beautiful coast.)
Start: Laguna Seca Raceway
The ride started on the raceway, which was very cool.
Product booth flags at background.
Soon we left the raceway and onto regional country roads.
Soon the country road connected to a local farming road. Many veggies as well as strawberries were planted on the road’s side.
As we continue east along the road, vineyards started to appear. As big as America, these vineyards were huge and spanned many miles in all directions.
A ranch gate.
And out first stop was also at a vineyard.
Ample supplies in this ride.
Vineyards closer view.
Back on road!
Another ranch with beautiful purple flowers.
Cool winery uphill overseeing the vineyards.
Also growing cactus!
These were probably strawberry pickers, as strawberries couldn’t be picked by machines (yet).
Crates for farm products.
“Cruz” probably means these would go to Santa Cruz, a famous surfing place in northern California.
Our second stop was at a ranch.
Big US cop motorcycles.
Heading towards the mountains.
At this point we began our turn into Camel Valley and back to our starting point. Here the flat farming fields were replaced by great California mountain valleys.
Unlike Taiwan with abundant rain and many trees, here Camel Valley was pretty dry, and only brushes appeared on the hills.
Valley vineyards with a white watch tower.
Rock entrance mark.
About this point we began our major hill climb in this route.
Cool event vehicle.
Great hillside view.
Our third stop was just at a barn.
Shortly after passing Camel Valley downtown, we began to climb again over the valley hill and get back to our raceway starting point.
Great hills near the raceway.
Through the highest point on the hill!
The final effort would be up a short yet steep hill to the raceway’s entrance.
A 16% grade climb. Nothing compared to Taiwan’s hills but kind of big with my gear (36-28).
A raceway gate??
The main entrance!
The Sea Otter’s Camel Valley gran fondo was a safe nice ride with great north California semi-dry scenery. While not as dramatic as many Taiwan rides, it was a relaxing ride to enjoy. Definitely recommend it.