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BEST OF SPORTS

Bucolic Biking SERIOUS CYCLISTS know that Santa Barbara County offers some of the world’s finest biking. Ride routes the pros do with help from The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, 805-6867700, alisal.com. The 10,000-acre rustic-chic retreat in the Santa Ynez Valley sets the wheels in motion with a cycling package for two ($1,680) that includes two nights of luxe lodging—with breakfast, lunch, and dinner—spa treatments, jerseys, use of new carbon-fiber Motobecane road bikes, and two guided, customized rides each day. “The top racers in the world either go to Spain or come here to train,” says Alisal cycling guide Eric Larsen. “There are flat roads and grinding hills. I’ve lived here on and off for most of my life and I still find places that just blow my mind.” Currently available September through May, the package also provides horseback riding, tennis, and golf for those who want to slow down the pace. –V.M.

Made of Steel

Even for a triathlete, ZACK BERTGES, zackbertges.com, moves more than most. An Ironman finisher in the United States, Canada, and France, he keeps busy back home as an elite conditioning coach, founder of Santa Barbara Iron Team (a multisport mentorship to empower local youth programs), and host of Coach Z’s Endurance & Strength podcast. When it comes to top contenders for friendly competition and camaraderie in town, here’s who Bertges puts on the podium. –V.M.

MUST DOs

For a Thursday night thrill, the summer race series REEF AND RUN, 805-886-8123, reefandrun.org, offers ocean swims of three different distances with the occasional biathlon to boot. | A touching tribute, the half-mile swim, 16-mile bike, and three-mile run known as KENDRA’S RACE, ucsbtriathlon.net, celebrates the life of late UC Santa Barbara triathlete Kendra Chiota Payne and contributes to her fund designed to fast-track future female athletes. | On September 6, PIER TO PEAK, 805-284-4720, runsantabarbara.com—the half marathon with a mean streak—climbs nearly 4,000 feet from sea level. But a usually sunny inclination and sweet views make it a high point of the summer for many runners. | Those in the know beat the workout plateau at SANTA BARBARA ROCK GYM, 805770-3225, sbrockgym.com, where mind and body gain better balance and fitness goals lie within reach. | Having debuted November 2013 along a 2.2-mile stretch of Cabrillo Boulevard, SB OPEN STREETS, 805-216-1223, sbopenstreets.org, annually paves the way for human-powered play with a car-free block party. This year’s event is on October 25 and it’s far from pedestrian. | For a post-training treat, Santa Barbara Iron Team member chef Renaud Gonthier of RENAUD’S PATISSERIE & BISTRO, 805-569-2400, renaudsbakery.com, dishes out delightful protein and carb combinations as well as the necessary sugars to replenish your reserves.

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Best of Santa Barbara 2015  

The Best of Home, Garden, Food & Wine, Style, Entertaining, Kids and More!