We had a real treat today. We got to see the end of stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California at Snow Summit. What’s interesting is that, not knowing about the race, we had originally intended to come up to Big Bear Lake on Friday night. At the last minute, we decided to drive up on Thursday night instead, which allowed us to take a stroll over to Summit Boulevard to see the race.
If I’d known about the race and the day’s events ahead of time, I may have brought my bike, to participate in the King of the Mountain Challenge:
The morning of the race, participants can ride on the same course as the professionals, just hours before the Pros make it to Big Bear. Start at the finish area at 10:00 a.m., ride to Snow Valley and then back through the finish line.
As a fan of the Tour de France, I’ve always wanted to see a race live. Watching a bicycle race live is not at all the same as watching a race on television, where you get to follow the riders for the length of the course. No, it’s all about the anticipation when viewing in person. The riders come up the road, pass you by, and are gone. Just like that.
I’ve included a copy of the spectator map from the Big Bear Climb and marked our location with a red dot. There were activities at the finish line that we didn’t partake of, and that’s where most of the crowd was. Only a few people were on the north side of Big Bear Boulevard, providing me an excellent view of the race.
The final stretch of stage six took the riders up Summit Boulevard, to the finish line at Snow Summit.
Very few people were on the north side of Big Bear Boulevard, leaving me ample space to observe the race and take pictures.
Perhaps a dozen or so escorts from the California Highway Patrol passed us, making sure the road was clear ahead of the riders.
Here comes the stage winner, Sylvain Georges of AG2R La Mondiale.
About a minute and a half later, the peloton rounded the last turn.
Bringing up the rear for this mountain finish is the polka dot jersey. According to the race web site, Sébastian Salas kept the jersey, so he must have fallen back near the end of the stage.