Next weeks Amgen Tour of California is a great race that I’ve loved to watch over the past few years. In the first few years of the race, I would venture out and love to watch the action! In 2010, I was able to capture this awesome pic of Lance & George climbing up Mines road, although they almost ran over me in the process!
I’ve bought the VIP passes in the past, but felt like I was missing something until last year. I saw that the Breakaway from Cancer Masters Cycling team was pre-riding the routes with riders who raised money for their charity. Not only could you enjoy the VIP tent for the finish, you also got to pre-ride the whole route. I rode last years Livermore to San Jose route last year and loved the experience. That final climb up Sierra road was unbelievable last year! This year, I’m in even better shape and signed up for two stages! Below is a breakdown of the routes and profiles that I will be “enjoying” next Monday and Tuesday!
2012 Breakaway Challenge
Ride stages of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California and enjoy a VIP finish experience!
Join the Breakaway From Cancer Masters Cycling Team while they ride stages of the Amgen Tour of California to help promote awareness for Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer® initiative.To raise funds for the charity, the team is seeking other riders to ride a stage with the group.
This year, participating riders will also enjoy a VIP finish line hospitality suite, with gourmet catering with hot and cold dishes, desert selections plus beer, wine, soft drinks and coffee bar serving while providing live TV feed of the approaching race. Rolling support is provided during each ride by Mazda team support vehicles.
Riders choose which stage(s) they wish to join. The Breakaway Rides can be challenging and are catered for stronger recreational or completive cyclists. The rides typically leave between 7:30 and 8:00 in the morning to ensure arrival in the finishing city about one hour prior to race finish. Race finish arrive time it typically between 3:00 and 4:00pm
STAGE 2 – San Francisco to Santa Cruz County, May 14
Cycling fans who love the electric feel of race starts will be hard-pressed to find anything better than the Stage 2 start of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California in San Francisco. Beginning at Marina Green in San Francisco’s Marina District, the start line will run right to the break wall of San Francisco Bay. The backdrop? Breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Marin Headlands. However, the riders’ stay in the great city of San Francisco will be short-lived because within a few minutes, the race will have passed through the Presidio with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. From here, Stage 2 will continue south on Highway 1 through the San Francisco suburbs of Pacifica and Daly City.
Making its way down the Devil’s Slide, north of Half Moon Bay, the peloton will enjoy the most spectacular coastline in the world. The stage will then turn inward and start the assault up Bonny Doon, which, in previous editions of the race, has determined the winner of the stage.
With the stage finish moving to Aptos this year, the riders will face another 42 miles of racing and another KOM. The last several miles of the stage are downhill, followed by a short run down Soquel Avenue to the finish. Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California will certainly be a long and difficult stage, but it won’t be a surprise to see a large pack of riders contest the finish in an exciting Sprint.
Stage 3 – San Jose to Livermore, May 15
Stage 3 will begin in San Jose, the only city to have played host to the Amgen Tour of California all seven years of the race. This year, the typical downtown start has been moved to north San Jose, just a few miles from the infamous Sierra Road climb. While the riders won’t be expected to tackle a Category 1 climb just two miles from the start as they have been in the past, the route into Livermore is one that the race has taken before: Calaveras Road and Highway 84. While Livermore will be hosting their first stage finish in 2012, riders have raced thru the town during previous editions including the Stage 4 start in 2011. Home of the renowned Lawrence Livermore Labs, the City of Livermore (established in 1869) played a prominent role in California’s Gold Rush history and is home today to a thriving wine industry.
Just 28 miles into the race, the riders will contest a challenging Sprint to the finish but the race will just be getting started. Heading out north on Livermore Avenue, the riders will likely face a stiff headwind coming down the valley. After passing through the town of Danville, the Amgen Tour of California will grant a wish that has been made for the past six years by riders and fans, “Please climb Mt. Diablo.” For the first time in the history of the race, the riders will climb Mt. Diablo. One of the most revered climbs in California, race organizers, cyclists and fans alike are excited to have this climb as part of Stage 3 of the 2012 race.
After a fast and technical descent into Walnut Creek, the race will then head east into the Town of Clayton where the second Sprint of the stage will take place. From Clayton, the race will connect back to a familiar route into Livermore. Just nine miles from the finish, the riders will likely tackle blustery winds as they battle the final KOM of the stage up Patterson Pass Road followed by a quick descent that will take the race onto Cross and Tesla roads. On Livermore Avenue once again, it will be just a few miles to what is sure to be a sprint finish in historic downtown Livermore.