The best place to park is along West Cliff Drive (by the run course), and ride your bike down into transition at Depot Park. All of the spaces along West Cliff are free and unlimited during the day. By parking along West Cliff you can guarantee that cars will not be trying to access the water-side lane while you are riding, and it provides another location for your family and friends to view the race.
There is a paid parking lot behind the soccer field at Depot Park. The problem with this lot is that the meters don’t start until 9:00am but you can purchase an all day ticket in that lot.
There is some free parking and some metered parking along Center Street, parking at the Boardwalk, and in the neighborhoods behind the Bay and Laguna Intersections. Do not park in any private or permit only zones, or areas marked with no parking signs.
Santa Cruz had a number of lots available for parking and they can be found here.