You’re pardoned if you didn’t know that a world-class sports competition, featuring many of its top athletes, wrapped up yesterday in Thousand Oaks. It was the Amgen Tour of California bike race, and is seen as a lead-in to the Tour de France in July.
The Tour of California covered 8 stages, beginning at Lake Tahoe. It included many of the world’s best cyclists, including California resident Levi Leipheimer, who placed second to fellow American Chris Horner. In Europe, where bike racing is as popular as soccer and Formula One auto racing, many racers are household names. In the U.S., bike racing has more of a cult status, even among the many commuter biking enthusiasts at blogging.la.
However, the Tour of California could change that. Cult members showed up along the route, or followed the action on the Versus cable channel or website. The weather was excellent, and the route showcased much of the beauty of Central and Southern California. In particular, on Saturday, the riders climbed more than 6,000 feet up Mt. Baldy (i.e., Mt. San Antonio), the 10,000+ foot highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains that border the Los Angeles area, and the snow-capped biggie that many of us see outside our windows. The “Mt. Baldy” climb could become an iconic staple of the Tour of California the way the infamous Alpe D’Huez has for the Tour de France.
It was an exciting race, and a great chance to show off our neck of the woods to the world, and, hopefully, to some Americans too.