We meet at 10:00 A.M. at Cafe la Strada, on Cannery Row. After a safety briefing, we introduce cyclists to their bikes and do some final check of the bike fits. Then we head out along the coast route through Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach's 17-Mile Drive, where we make our first stop to view the sea lions at Bird Rock. We continue into charming Carmel for the mid-ride feed zone, then it's inland to Carmel Valley Village.
The breakaway ride continues up-valley to ride the “Cachagua Loop” through the remote valley of the same name, with a brief but steep climb back to Carmel Valley.
Our team dinner tonight is at the Los Laureles Lodge, also our home for the next two nights.
As we do every morming, we meet for a team breakfast briefing to go over the day's stage. Today's stage heads up-valley on the very remote and quiet Carmel Valley Road. Once through the Carmel Valley Village, vehicle traffic is rare, leaving cyclists to experience the country road in almost complete solitude. The road climbs gradually for 20 miles to the summit, where we turn around for the descent back to the Village.
The breakaway continues from the summit until the road reaches its end at Arroyo Seco Road, then reverses course back to the Village. Team dinner tonight is once again at the Los Laureles Lodge.
Today we depart from Carmel Valley and head back towards the coastal town of Carmel. From there, we head south along the scenic coast road towards Big Sur, making a feed zone stop at Rocky Point, an aptly named restaurant perched over the ocean on a rocky point.
The standard route heads back to Monterey from Rocky Point. There are two breakaway options of different lengths. The shorter option continues south over Bixby Bridge to Hurricane Point, the high point on this route with amazing views. The longer option continues south to the Big Sur Lodge, in the redwoods. Both breakaways return to Rocky Point to rejoin the standard route.
Tonight's lodging is at Intercontinental The Clement, a luxury hotel on Cannery Row, literally built over the Monterey Bay. Final team dinner is at the C Restaurant, overlooking the bay.
Today's route is a shorter morning ride from Monterey into the remote hills of Fort Ord, a former Army base turned into a park. Most of the roads in the park are closed to cars, allowing cyclists to enjoy some car-free riding. The ride through Fort Ord exits onto the Monterey Bay Trail, a paved cycling path through the coastal sand dunes and along the beaches. Finally, we return to Cannery Row for the end of our 4-day experience.
Had a great time cycling on the Desert Escape Tour. Undiscovered Country Bike Tours really know what's needed to provide exceptional service on a fully supported bike adventure. From start to finish everything was taken care of - from great bikes that were accurately sized, to goodie bags, maps, repair kits, drinks and snacks - they had thought of everything. That combined with a great group of people of all ages and abilities made for a very enjoyable experience. The cycling was challenging but lots of fun - everyone could go at their own pace. Scott and Rick, our guides, were very friendly, fun to hang out with and they went out of their way to make sure everyone was looked after. The accommodations were very comfortable and there were plenty of opportunities to enjoy the facilities at the resorts. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend - I'm sure I'll be back for another adventure.
TripAdvisor January 2013