Monday, February 19, 2007
Tour of California
|Once againg the Tour of California rockets through my home town. The prologue of the tour was in San Francisco yesterday. Local hero, Levi Leipheimer, won the prologue which ends at the top of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco at the base of Coit Tower. A total unknown, Jason Donald, came in second.|
Today the tour leaves Sausalito:
"Starting on the northern side of the San Francisco Bay, Stage 1 will cover almost 100 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. The stage begins with a climb from Mill Valley up to Mt. Tamalpais State Park before turning toward Muir Beach. The route mirrors that of 2006 all the way to Valley Ford, but where the riders headed east to Santa Rosa, the 2007 route will continue north to Bodega Bay and turn onto Coleman Valley Road, a landmark climb in Northern California. Then, spectators can watch the stage win unfold as the field heads downhill from Occidental for three finishing circuit laps in downtown Santa Rosa. In 2006, Santa Rosa set the mark for one of the most enthusiastic and largest crowds of the entire Amgen Tour of California."
I am delighted that they are finally testing the hills here. In the winter months you can often see notables training here. Three time Tour de France winner, Greg Lemond used Santa Rosa as his winter training base, and, as noted, Levi Leipheimer lives and trains here.
Last year it rained and the Tour of CA took a very mild course due to the slippery roads. This year, one of the roads coming in from the coast is Coleman Valley Rd. Listed in bike tour guides as the "Coleman Valley Rd. Experience" (!) coming up from the coast is an exceedingly steep climb. I have ridden DOWN the hill and overheated my brakes. Gotta say there is a stunning view of the ocean from the top, but these guys will be facing the wrong way to see it.
The race ends with a couple circuits of downtown. Last year saw a crowd of 35,000 - a notable number of people for a town of 200,000.