A Quick Guide to the Amgen Tour

amgen photo


The Amgen Tour of California is just around the corner. Please enjoy this quick guide, which answers some questions and gives you tips to help you get the most out of your experience.

What the heck is the Amgen Tour of California?  The Amgen Tour of California is an annual professional cycling race, and one of the most prestigious in the world. Many pro teams use the tour as part of their preparation for the Tour de France. The tour features 8 race stages starting in 8 different cities over 8 consecutive days. Folsom will be hosting Stage 2

Didn’t it come through Folsom before?  Yes, it did. Folsom has been on the route,  but the riders only passed through.  Stage 2 is a time trial, and they’ll be here the whole day.

What’s a time trial?  Also called ‘the race of truth’, the time trial is where each of the 128 riders will take off, 1 minute apart, and ride a 12.5 mile circuit. No team, no drafting, just a cyclist against the course.

Sounds exciting! Tell me about the course! The 12.5 mile route will start in front of the famous Snook’s Candy Shop at Sutter and Wool streets in Folsom’s Historic District, and head up Sutter to Riley. A left turn onto Riley and across Rainbow Bridge to Folsom-Auburn Rd and turn right. Heading north towards Folsom Lake, they’ll turn right onto Folsom Lake Crossing and up East Natoma to Green Valley. Left on Green Valley to the county line at about Shadowfax, then make a U-turn and head back, finishing on Leidesdorff St., by Karen’s Bakery.  It should take each rider about 25 minutes, and the difference between first and last could a matter of seconds.

When’s it all happening?  Monday May 12 – The schedule goes like this:

10am – 50 amateurs taking off 30 seconds apart.

11 am:   25 of the world’s fastest professional women riders start at one-minute intervals

12:50 pm:  Opening ceremonies (including National Anthem sung by Folsom’s own Jessica McKillican)

1:05 pm — 128 of the world’s top professional men start at one-minute intervals; last 10 at two-minute intervals

3:55 pm — Awards Ceremony

Sounds awesome! Where’s the best place to watch? Almost anywhere along the route, really. On Sutter before at either end of Rainbow Bridge (no pedestrians allowed on the bridge). The upstream side of Lake Natoma Crossing. Along Folsom-Auburn, Folsom Lake Crossing (lots of room, plus it is safe and beautiful), East Natoma and Green Valley.

Got a map? BAM! http://www.folsom.ca.us/depts/parks_n_recreation/amgen_tour_of_california_news/time_trial_route/default.asp

Okay, what else can you tell me?

Don’t miss the Lifestyle Festival in the plaza near the railroad turntable, between Sutter and Leidesdorff from 10am to 430pm.

Live music by James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash Band – Visit the Beer Garden – Watch the race live on outdoor video screens

Engage in entertainment and interactive experiences delivered by race partners and vendors, including cycling products and demos, ideas for healthful living, family activities, games, food and more.

You mentioned food. What food? There will be food trucks from:

Wichon on Wheels/Wicked ‘wich/Sacatomatoes * Happy Cow * Wandering Boba * Simply Skewed * Miz Shirley * Dave’s Dawgs * Rudy’s Hideaway

Can we see the bikes up close?

Yes, now, don’t interfere with them, but the bike crews will be working from the Trader Lane parking lot. You can walk through and see all of the action, and some beautiful bikes.

What about parking? There ain’t none. Not in the Historic District, anyway.  The streets will be closed. You can park on Riley at Kohl’s, Wal Mart or Lembi Park and walk down, or on Natoma at City Hall and City Park. There may be some street parking available, but pay attention to signs.

Got a map for that? Booyah! Here ya go: http://www.folsom.ca.us/depts/parks_n_recreation/amgen_tour_of_california_news/parking_information/default.asp


Can I ride my bike? Of course! There will be 3 valet bike services and it’s only $2 per bike.  The bike trails will be open, making it easy to access the event from either side of the river.

What should I bring? A cowbell if you have one. Seriously, it’s a tradition.  A camera. A positive attitude.

Remember that safety is the first priority –  These bikes can get up to 45 mph, and there will be escort motorcycles, chase cars, camera cars and officials in cars. Stand clear!

Why is this important to Folsom? This could turn out to be the biggest one-day event in Folsom’s history. Teams and news crews from around the world will be here. It will be televised internationally.

Think about it this way, advertisers will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a 30 second commercial on TV, and Folsom is going to have a 4 hour ‘commercial’ featuring our beautiful city.

Who do we have to blame, er, thank for this? Robert Goss, Director of Parks and Recreation, and an avid cyclist lobbied the powers that be, and with the help of City Council and City Manager Evert Palmer, he was able to convince the people running the tour that Folsom would be a great place to hold the time trial this year.

Where can I get a beer? Outside of the beer garden at the festival you can enjoy a cold one in one of the great watering holes along Sutter Street. Lockdown Brewing Company, at upstairs at 718 Sutter makes some great beer, and they carry others’ as well. Samuel Horne’s 719 Sutter, has an outstanding selection as does their sister restaurant, the Fat Rabbit at 825 Sutter.

Scarlet’s will be open as well. They don’t specialize in beer, but they’ve got some nice ones on tap, and full bar too. They also have a great patio which faces the intersection where the cyclists will make their first turn.

Pizza? Chicago Fire – 614 Sutter   Burger? Sam Horne’s – 719 Sutter, Hampton’s – 608 Sutter

A good cup of coffee? The Black Rooster – 807 Sutter. They have gelato, too!

Some candy – Snook’s. They’re just great. See if they have their Habenero Salted Caramels. Just the right amount of salt, sweet and heat.

How can I avoid it? Stay away from the historic district.  Note the following street closures, from 930am to 430pm:

• Rainbow Bridge and Folsom Lake Crossing will be closed

• Lake Natoma Crossing will be limited to one lane per direction

• Folsom-Auburn Road will be limited to one southbound lane only (no northbound traffic)

• East Natoma Street will be closed between Folsom Lake Crossing and Blue Ravine

• Green Valley Road will be closed between the County line and East Natoma Street

• Riley Street, Sutter Street and Leidesdorff Street in the Historic District will all be closed.

Where did you get your information?

I interviewed Robert Goss, and I went to these websites. You can too:

The Amgen Tour official website: http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/host-cities/city-folsom

Folsom City www.folsom.ca.us/depts/parks_n_recreation/amgen_tour_of_california_news/time_trial_route/default.asp

Discuss with the community http://www.tomatopages.com/folsomforum/index.php?showtopic=40518