Hi to all the Ships at Sea,
Sandy is quite the writer. With all his experience, imagine he’s only 21 years old. Remember you’re only as young as you feel. Enjoy this article he wrote below. Although my photograph is not from the Amgen Tour of California as he speaks about, it does put my mind in a place of determination.
All the best,
Before I start writing on today’s subject, I must apologize for being absent for almost 5 weeks. I took my flu shot as I was supposed to, but I learned when they say the elderly are most susceptible, they are not lying. I’m thankful I took that shot, as it might have been more severe.
Anyway, I am back and excited to write about America’s Premier Road Race… The Amgen Tour of California.
This year, it is a story of grit, determination and desire to move forward in the face of what to others might seem as insurmountable obstacles: the sport stunned by an overwhelming scandal, major sponsors withdrawing support and the fear of public condemnation. Faced with all this, two young ladies Kristen and Kelly marched on. Their leadership and entrepreneurism may prove to bring about the greatest racing competition yet.
For the first 7 years. An estimated 17,500,000 viewers, not to mention the additional millions that have seen it on 5 continents, have viewed the race live on the roads of California, according to the Highway Patrol.
This road statistic is based on 2.5 million people standing by the roadside each and every year. The race, in its first 7 years has ridden through 91 cities, towns and villages. The 2013 race will showcase 13 more host cities for the first time.
As far as California goes, the ATOC has introduced to the world, via TV and Social Media, not only familiar vistas such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood and sensational seascapes, but it has traversed many never-before-seen mountain peaks, vineyards and historical monasteries along the vast expanse of the Golden State that beckons tourists yearly.
As a rule, the race has traveled from North (San Francisco) to South (San Diego County). This year in the interest of diversification and new geological challenges, the race will start on Sunday May 12 in Escondido and 742 miles later on May 19th will end in Santa Rosa.
The international field will consist of 13 of the world’s top teams and almost 150 riders. In stage one, they must climb Mount Palomar, an effort that is compared to the arduous Tour de France’s Alpe d’Huez .
The second stage will see the riders going from the 100 degree heat of the Desert through the San Jacinto mountains and finishing atop the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Parking Lot… one of the toughest climbs anywhere giving the viewers a different look at the resort communities of the Coachella Valley.
Stage 3 starting in Palmdale will follow the route of the Famous Furnace Creek 508 though Santa Clarita.
Stage 4 has been part of earlier Tours. The riders will have an opportunity to enjoy cool ocean breezes after sweltering through the heat of the Desert. Like Stage 3, the Santa Clarita-Santa Barbara is a route used in the past. However, this race it is run in a reverse direction… South to North.
Stage 5 is from Santa Barbara to Avila Beach tracing the route used successful in the 2006 race, but again reversing direction. Avila is a picturesque harbor town with quaint shops and a beautiful Beach.
San Jose, the only city to take part in every edition of the ATOC, will be Stage 6. It will feature an individual time trial with a unique twist at the end… the most difficult sprint finish in the History of the Tour… the 3-kilometer climb up Metcalf Road (from Sea Level to 1000 feet in elevation attacking several pitches of at least a 10% grade.
Stage 7 starts in Livermore and concludes on the Summit of Mount Diablo. The experts predict that it is more than likely; the Tour will be won, or lost on the climb to the Peak.
Once again Stage 8 will capture the beauty of the entire San Francisco Bay Area, the final stage starts in the Marina District and concludes in picturesque Santa Rosa.
The State of California is home to over 30 million cyclists. Professional Cycling should not be damned, or abandoned because of the inconsiderate acts of a few selfish “win at all costs” individuals.
The ATOC stands as beacon for an untarnished, clean competition. Annual, the almost 800 mile event has been an example of what it is to go all out and do your best.
To paraphrase the late Grantland Rice who once wrote, “It’s not who wins, or loses, but how you play the game that counts!” The ATOC symbolizes competition you can trust and is worthy of support.