Friday, May 6, 2011

L'Etape du California riders...

whether you are a local, or have come from far away, welcome to Claremont. I wish you a good ride tomorrow, it looks like the weather is going to cooperate, and it should be an excellent day for a ride through the mountains. I will be sweating those final switchbacks with you in absentia, plugging away in sympathy as the miles roll by. I will be taking some photos in the morning as you roll out, and then may follow along to Baldy Village where I shall await your return from your loop through, and above, San Gabriel Canyon. Maybe I will have a beer and a burger at Mt. Baldy Lodge while I wait. Sorry, for that one. Yours is a righteous undertaking but don't forget to enjoy the undertaking, be amazed by the scenery, revel in the accomplishment, and all that jazz. Have fun and I'll see you around.

Just a little addendum here. It takes a ton of people to get something like this organized, and set up and ready in time for the riders to roll out. Sometimes they are required to keep ungodly hours preparing last minute necessities, other times they are stressing out to get things ready within a limited and set period of time. Some of them get paid for their efforts, while others volunteer their time. I was at the Depot this morning as one such crew of workers were busy unloading barricades and boxes of goods from trucks, I know that a group of students from
El Roble Middle School busied themselves with stuffing swag into bags for the riders, and I know there will countless others along the route directing traffic, manning aid and fuel stations, etc. So, how about a round of applause for everyone working round the clock tonight and tomorrow to ensure a successful event.

Addendum II, events like this bring in people from near and far, and the topic of the moment is bikes, something I know a little about. For instance there was the couple who had stopped in town for breakfast on their way to a Mother's Day weekend in the desert, they were interested in what was going on, so we talked about it for a while, about the next big name in American racing, etc. Then there was the guy walking by, who saw me with camera in hand and inquired if I was indeed the so-called Claremont Cyclist. I don't think there is a single blogger around who does not appreciate it when our readers take the time to say hello. Then there was the city worker cleaning up a little graffiti, who talked about wanting to get a road bike, and inquired about what to look for. Then there was the rider, in from Colorado for the weekend to ride L'Etape du California, and wanted some suggestions for dinner and breakfast. I am sure similar scenarios played out all around town today, and probably still are this evening. Random encounters that probably would not have otherwise taken place if not for L'Etape.


  1. Hi Michael,

    Where do you think would be the best place to watch the ride (also for TOC)? And for those of us who can't ride up to the village, how should we get there? Since parking is probably going to be very limited and traffic stopped. Thanks.

  2. In both cases you could always just hang out at the expo area in Claremont Village - not as exciting for L'Etape since the riders will be riding straight of town and into the mountains, the racers during the TOC on the other hand, will do a few laps in town before heading out. During the TOC the expo area will also include a very large screen so you can watch the race as it progresses without leaving town, so just staying in Claremont is not a bad option. As for driving up the road, I think you are right, once the riders head out during L'Etape, I would not even consider driving up Mt. Baldy Road, even with the road open to traffic, it is going to be very congested. A better bet would be to go over to Glendora Mountain Road and drive up it to find a good spot to watch from - you can get there well before the riders do. For the TOC, of course, everything will be magnified, there will be road closures, there will be far more spectators, so it will be even more critical to pick your spot in the mountains early. Even though the final climb to the ski lifts is going to the the most dramatic to spectate, it is also going to be the most difficult to get to. Don't forget, even though L'Etape finishes up high, the riders have to come back down on their own, and awards are given out at the Depot; I am not sure yet, but I don't think this will be the case for the TOC where both finish and awards are likely to be up top. Kind of a convoluted answer I know, there are just a lot of different variables involved, and what is important to see for one person, may not be for another.


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