Central Coast Trails EP: 4 - Super Tri Tip

The Central Coast is about as tailor-made as it comes for 24/7, 365 bike and run adventures. With a mild, sunny climate, an extensive network of trails and gravel backroads, and a spine of volcanic peaks encircling the valley, the sky’s the limit for linkups and shenanigans. 


One of the most classic challenges in San Luis Obispo is the “Tri Tip Challenge,” driving to and climbing the Cal Poly P, Cerro San Luis, and Bishop Peak, with a celebratory tri tip sandwich at the famous Firestone Grille. We weren’t doing that. 


My friend Scout Hollister’s time in SLO was coming to an end, so we cooked up a bike + run version of the Tri Tip, which involved biking between objectives and considerably more suffering. Our ill-conceived edition, the “Super Tri Tip,” started with a pre-dawn, 20-mile ride to the coast, followed by a run up Valencia Peak, a coastal behemoth towering over Montaña de Oro State Park. 


Bombing down Valencia Peak, the shadow of the mountain loomed over the Pacific, blocking the sun from the coastal bluffs. We unlocked the bikes, threw on wind shells, and reversed course, spinning directly into a savage headwind in the Los Osos Valley. Scout and I took turns pulling, eventually rolling into SLO and parking the bikes for peak 2, Cerro San Luis. We ran up steadily, passing dogs, mountain bikers, and sorority mobs on the fire road encircling the mountain. From the summit, we snuck down into the rock garden for some more technical downhill running, and wrapped back around to the bikes, where we transitioned for a short jaunt over to Bishop Peak.


At Bishop, we were a bit smoked, but knew pastries soon awaited us, so we locked up and threw on the trail runners for one last bit of uphill. Having pulled the majority of the bike leg, Scout was slowing down, but we rallied on the last switchbacks and topped out together, snapping a quick selfie on the rocky summit block of SLO’s most iconic peak. After that, it was all downhill to Scout Coffee, where we ate our weight in croissants and schemed up the next ridiculous adventure.