Inaugurated in 1991 as a 350-athlete competitive summit, the Sea Otter Classic has blossomed into a sprawling event with more than 50,000 spectators, 10,000 cyclists, and 300 vendors peddling bikes and gear with demos and samples of new products. Situated within Laguna Seca, the festival draws amateur and professional athletes into competitive mountain- and road-bike races, and recreational cyclists behold Monterey County's striking vistas in three Gran Fondo routes. Children's bike events plant the seeds for the next generation of cyclists with a skill-developing play zone and friendly races.
A charter member of the MLS, the San Jose Earthquakes played their first four seasons as the Clash before claiming the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003. Though the team moved to Houston in '05, the franchise was reinstated in '08, bringing professional soccer back to the Bay Area. Buck Shaw Stadium serves as the team's current home, though a new stadium will shoot skyward in 2014, complete with luxury suites for fans and exhausted referees alike.
Today’s Groupon replaces your normal hands and feet with highly skilled climber appendages. For $35, you get five day-passes to Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, including climbing equipment rental and use of the facility's fitness equipment and sauna (a $93 value), plus a two-hour beginner or technique climbing class (a $31.50 value) and one yoga class (a $12 value), a $136.50 total value. Pacific Edge is co-owned and run by a staff of instructors with years of climbing and yoga experience, and was the Best Outdoor Sports School winner in 2009.2000 Feet: The nagging feeling that you’ve left your oven on is misguided. You haven’t. 5000 Feet: Breathing becomes labored; earthly memories fade. 10,000 Feet: Why does it smell like Christmas? 20,000 Feet: Weight of the treasured Elf Stones lifted only by inspiring visions of the Gates of Shamagor. 30,000 Feet: Break for lunch.
LeMans Karting helps visitors satisfy their needs for speed, safety, and social interaction. Nine-horsepower SODI RX 7 karts take drivers soaring at speeds of up to 42 mph across indoor and outdoor tracks as they compete for the fastest finish. High-grip track surfaces help drivers reach top speeds, and high-visibility lighting and flagmen keep everyone safe as they round corners and pass other drivers on the wide course. On certain days, the staff connects the indoor and outdoor track into a single, giant mega track that hosts extended races when it’s not busy fighting Godzilla.
LeMans Karting also offers endurance racing for drivers who want to sharpen their driving skills or land a job as Vin Diesel’s chauffer. The center also offers private parties for birthdays and bachelor parties and can help plan charity or corporate events.
At Wedding Faire, brides-to-be attend edifying panels, peruse wedding wares from hundreds of vendors, and try on around 400 styles of dresses from local bridal salons. Enthused betrothees explore 25,000 square feet of matrimonial merchandise and events, glimpsing new styles at three daily fashion shows and dropping in on workshops featuring wedding tips from industry insiders (some events entail additional fees). At Saturday's wedding luncheon, brides and professionals mingle and enjoy scrumptious eats as wedding maven Sasha Souza presents a collection of her favorite bridal trinkets and tricks. Afterward, a book signing allows attendees to shake Sasha's hand and propose marriage to her.
Half Moon Bay Kayak Company’s fleet of colorful plastic shells slices through the glimmering waters of Pillar Point Harbor, carrying crews of paddlers past playful harbor seals and chattering pelicans. Co-owners Doug Connor—who has conquered rushing rapids as a member of the United States Wildwater team—and Chris Manchester—who has kayaked along thousands of miles of coastline, including the world’s second-largest barrier reef—channel their passion for paddling into a range of kayak and standup-paddleboard rentals, lessons, and tours. With expeditions to locales as far-flung as Honduras and Mexico, Half Moon provides sea explorers with exotic open-water explorations as well as local excursions to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, San Gregorio State Beach, and next-door neighbors’ unattended kiddie pools.