OUTSIDE: A Higher Gear
Tour of California sends world-class bikers through world-class sights.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Think you’re a badass because you biked from Sand City to Asilomar? Think again. This Thursday, Feb. 23, 16 pro cycling teams ride from Cannery Row to, oh, San Luis Obispo. For those counting at home, that’s more than 130 miles. (Sand City to Asilomar? Thirteen.)
It’s part of a breakthrough, breathtaking eight-day, 700-mile stage race spanning the state like a Tour de France West. (Look for Lance Armstrong’s old Discovery Channel squad to contend on the quads of George Hincapie, who won a stage in France, Giro d’Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli, and ferocious climber Tom Danielson).
This stage, as the longest, most hilly and visually stunning piece of the Tour, should be the most dramatic. After the riders launch from Cannery Row, Highway 1 awaits.
Here, courtesy of the Tour’s organizers, are some recommended spots to watch the wheels fly by:
1. Cannery Row, Monterey
At 9am, join the world’s top professional cyclists and KWAV 97FM’s Morning Radio Host Barry Brown at the start of the Queen Stage on historic Cannery Row. Meet the pros—take photographs, get autographs, experience the two-loop promenade, and pick up cool race merchandise, a commemorative program, and free stuff from Clif Bar. The cyclist sign-in area and stage will be along Cannery Row itself, with a spectator viewing area during the start of the race along Cannery Row and Wave Street.
2. Sprint Zone, Big Sur
Join the excitement in front of the Big Sur River Inn at 11am for the Sprint Zone, where the first cyclist to cross the sprint line will be awarded a $1,000 bonus. Clif Bar brings prizes and giveaways. Here’s a thought: stay overnight in Big Sur, enjoy breakfast amongst the coastal redwoods and catch all of the action at the Sprint Zone.<>
<>3. Pacific Street, downtown Monterey>
Just after 10am, watch the cyclists rush down Pacific Street in Downtown Monterey. An ideal viewing point along Pacific Street is on the street between Scott and Jefferson Streets.
4. Colton Hall, Monterey
Just after 10am, watch the cyclists turn from Pacific Street and onto Jefferson Street as they head up the forested hills of Monterey.
5. Veterans Memorial Park, Monterey
Watch the cyclists gruel up Skyline Drive and through Monterey’s pine forests. You’re sure to get a glimpse of the cyclists as they wind up Skyline Drive and through Veterans Memorial Park.
6. Carmel High School, Carmel
The descent on Highway 1 between Highway 68 and Point Lobos is steep, so don’t blink when you watch the cyclists fly by and into the mouth of Carmel Valley. Cheer on 16 of the world’s top professional cycling teams near Carmel High School, at the intersection of Highway 1 and Ocean Avenue.
7. Crossroads Shopping Village, Carmel
At the mouth of Carmel Valley, view the world’s top cyclists take off at the official start line, where the race will be de-neutralized and take off in full force.
8. Carmel River State Beach, Carmel and Point Lobos State Reserve
Spend the morning at Carmel River State Beach or Point Lobos State Reserve and watch riders zip along Highway 1.
9. KOM, Big Sur
A great photo opportunity, the King of the Mountain will be held between Ventana Inn & Spa and Nepenthe, two of the most popular destinations in Big Sur (and great places to watch the race). Watch the cyclists climb up the hill and begin their descent out of the Big Sur Valley and continue through the rugged coastal terrain of Big Sur.
10. Nepenthe, Big Sur
Have lunch or breakfast at Nepenthe and watch the race just after the KOM.