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  1. #1

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    Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    With only two stages left to go the 2011 Amgen Tour of California will end in the south on Sunday. Chris Horner of Team Radio Shack holds the lead, but anything can happen tomorrow as the world class cyclists race to a finish at the top of Mt. Baldy.

    I got to see the finish of Stage 2 in Sacramento, and a group of us rode our bikes (in the rain) to a small hill on the Stage 3 route to watch the race go by on its way to Modesto.

    While you may only see the cyclists for a few seconds, the anticipation is palpable. About 30 minutes to an hour before the first riders pass by, the road is closed, with only police and official race vehicles passing by. An announcer's car will blare out the status of the race. Then come more vehicles. You know they are getting close when you see a helicopter and small plane approach.

    Anticipation builds. Lead vehicles (mostly motorcycles) are followed by the first of the racers, along with motos with cameras, which in turn are followed by team cars. At some point the largest group of riders (the "peloton") passes by at astonishing speed, followed by more team cars, ambulances, and one or more "broom wagons" the signify the end of the caravan.

    Standing there, you realize just how close the race has come to your feet. If you are lucky, you may find a water bottle or two discarded at the side of the road, which you are free to keep as a souvenir.

    A friend of mine was standing at the side of the road with her camcorder running when one of the race favorites stopped right in front of her for a quick wheel change due to a flat tire. She personally cheered him on, and he left a water bottle behind.

    No other major sporting event allows spectators to come as close to the athletes (and for free!) than a bike race on the road. If you haven't had the experience, and the race comes nearby, you need to get out there. Tomorrow's stage starts in Claremont, passes twice through Baldy village, and ends at the top of Mt. Baldy. The final stage starts in Santa Clarita and ends in Thousand Oaks.
    Have bicycle, will ride. Finished 2012 with 10,089 miles, 683 hours, and 482,000 feet of elevation gain.
    2013: 201 rides, 8171 miles, 544 hours, 480K feet.
    2014 so far: 5595 miles, 311,000 feet


  2. #2

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    Sacramento near the finish line:


    What the finish looked like on TV (I'm standing on the right wearing a red jacket.):


    On the open road:




    The race leader in the peloton:


    More of the peloton:


    Roadside wheel change (from TV):
    Have bicycle, will ride. Finished 2012 with 10,089 miles, 683 hours, and 482,000 feet of elevation gain.
    2013: 201 rides, 8171 miles, 544 hours, 480K feet.
    2014 so far: 5595 miles, 311,000 feet


  3. #3

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    Here's my video of the Sacramento finish from my facebook page:



    If you can see it there, I also have it on photobucket:

    2011 ATOC :: video-2011-05-16-15-12-27.mp4 video by trekkiedad - Photobucket
    Have bicycle, will ride. Finished 2012 with 10,089 miles, 683 hours, and 482,000 feet of elevation gain.
    2013: 201 rides, 8171 miles, 544 hours, 480K feet.
    2014 so far: 5595 miles, 311,000 feet


  4. #4

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    Outstanding race today, as Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner crossed the finish line at the top of Mt. Baldy. And there was plenty of excitement generated by other members of the peloton, as well.

    Chris remains in the lead over his teammate Levi, and it's likely they will finish the race in that position.
    Have bicycle, will ride. Finished 2012 with 10,089 miles, 683 hours, and 482,000 feet of elevation gain.
    2013: 201 rides, 8171 miles, 544 hours, 480K feet.
    2014 so far: 5595 miles, 311,000 feet


  5. #5

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    Very COOL!

  6. #6

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    And Horner wins the overall, with teammate Leipheimer in second!
    Have bicycle, will ride. Finished 2012 with 10,089 miles, 683 hours, and 482,000 feet of elevation gain.
    2013: 201 rides, 8171 miles, 544 hours, 480K feet.
    2014 so far: 5595 miles, 311,000 feet


  7. #7

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    They came pretty close to my place yesterday, I thought about going out to get pictures, but I was pretty tired from my 12 mile run.


  8. #8

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    TD, Great pics and thanks for sharing. It really is something to see in person.

    In 2009 I watched the wet end of Stage 1 in Santa Rosa. Looking forward to them coming back next year.




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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    Wow- great pictures! Thanks, guys!

    Hubby and I got to Solvang to watch the time-trial. Unfortunately I was working yesterday, so we couldn't go watch the finish. Sad, since it was *right* here close to us. ::sigh::

    Next year. I'll post my pictures to Flickr once I figure out who's in them, and which are worth posting.

    And I second TD's summary of watching the race in person. It's awesome.
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  10. #10

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    We rode bikes to Norwegian Grade. We get to Olsen and Moorpark Roads and here they come! Two minutes later the peloton came. Then we rode back home.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    Biking to where-ever you're going to watch the race is a great way to do it! We've biked to Balcom Canyon in previous years to watch the race and the bikes are the first ones to clear the crush when it's over. We beat the cars out of there, and for sure the pedestrians.
    I pledge allegiance to the Earth, one planet, many gods, and to the universe in which she spins.

  12. #12

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    That's where I was going to go (Balcom Canyon). It's a pretty tough ride.


  13. #13

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    For a while there, I was beginning to think I was the only one here following the race!
    Have bicycle, will ride. Finished 2012 with 10,089 miles, 683 hours, and 482,000 feet of elevation gain.
    2013: 201 rides, 8171 miles, 544 hours, 480K feet.
    2014 so far: 5595 miles, 311,000 feet


  14. #14

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    From Camarillo to the top of Balcom Canyon isn't too bad. Depends how far down you go once you hit that hill.

    When we went, it was 11 miles from our house to the top of the hill and we could see a long way down towards the bottom. We stayed pretty close to the top but we saw some people that went waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down. The big part of the hill was on the north side. From 118/ Bradley Road to the crest is pretty short. Steep, but short.

    I was following the race, just not on MC!
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  15. #15

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    Re: Amgen Tour of California (Bicycle Race)

    This is always one of the TV-watching highlights of the year. I was at the finish line for stage 3 last year when the race came into town. I don't have any pictures online right now but if there's interest I'll post them. And yes, even though it's practically over in an instant (I've hauled butt on a bike before but these races are something else entirely) it's still a fantastic experience.

    It's really too bad stage 1 had to be called off. Seeing them race around Lake Tahoe would have been one of the best parts of this year's race. But of course this was preferable to trying to have a bike race on what would have been icy roads. It's a good thing it was moved to May from February beginning last year: partly for the more appropriate weather, but also because it won't conflict with the Winter Olympics on the years those are held.

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