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Old 03-18-12, 10:23 PM   #1
dstrong 
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Amgen TOC 2012 - Stage 2 - SF to Santa Cruz County

Looking for opinions here (opinions??? on BF???).

My brother and I are making plans to attend Stage 2 of this year's TOC. I am trying to figure out what might be the most rewarding way to see my first pro stage.

We will have a car and could also bring bikes.

I had a few thoughts:
  1. Start - Get up to the start first thing in the morning and enjoy the spectacle. Head back home and watch the coverage on TV.
  2. Finish - Head to the finish first thing in the morning and try to get close to the finish.
  3. Start and End - Would it be possible to drive up early in the morning to watch the start then high-tail it down to Soquel to be there for the finish? Since we'd be arriving late we could park when we got close then ride into the finish area.
  4. KOM - Get up to Empire Grade or Bear Creek and wait for them to come by. Again, we could park close (or not) and ride to a spot with a good vantage point. We're planning to do a ride the day before and we could possibly go ride Empire Grade...which would then make watching the pros climb it even more spectacular.

Wadya think folks?
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Old 03-19-12, 08:40 AM   #2
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I live in the area, stage 2 passes pretty close to my house.

I don't think it's possible to see the either of the climbs and still get to the finish on stage 2. Maybe if you parked on Alba (which has no place to park) and rode to the Empire Grade KOM, then after the race went by rode back, drove down Alba, then down 9 to Santa Cruz. Even then I don't think you could do that and still park and walk to the finish in time. The descent down San Jose-Soquel will be fast and it's just a few flat miles from there to the finish in Aptos.

I think it would make more sense to spectate at a KOM on stage 2 and see the finish at stage 3. Riding to the KOM is best, and there's usually a bunch of people there, making it more of an event.

You could watch the start and finish of stage 2 but road race starts are pretty boring. I would not drive that far for one.
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Old 03-19-12, 10:02 AM   #3
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Expect a lot of road closures along the route, especially on the hill climbs and at the finish. Trying to see the race at more than one point will be difficult unless you can find parallel routes around the road closures.

Also, TOC starts are notoriously short and boring, unlike European races where they have elaborate sign-in ceremonies, speeches, and product giveaways.
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Old 03-19-12, 01:05 PM   #4
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Trying to both start & finish is pretty hectic. Good luck with that.

The benefits of the watching the start is that you can get upfront & personal to the riders and support staff prior to the race. If you're into bikes, equipment, swag and racing then arrive early and check it out. The starting line is pretty boring although listening to Dave Towle is almost worth it.

Standing around at the KOM area has it's benefits too. Lot's of other like minded enthusiasts will be there. Maybe a bbq & beer bash too. You might want to park away from the area and spend the morning or afternoon doing a ride of your own before or after they pass.

And then the finish line. Will probably have a bike expo there with lot's of swag. The race will be broadcast live on a big screen and as it nears, the excitement builds. I found if you can lounge in a beer joint somewhere close to the finish route, you will be in heaven.

Have fun.
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Old 03-19-12, 02:28 PM   #5
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Trying to both start & finish is pretty hectic. Good luck with that.

The benefits of the watching the start is that you can get upfront & personal to the riders and support staff prior to the race. If you're into bikes, equipment, swag and racing then arrive early and check it out. The starting line is pretty boring although listening to Dave Towle is almost worth it.

Standing around at the KOM area has it's benefits too. Lot's of other like minded enthusiasts will be there. Maybe a bbq & beer bash too. You might want to park away from the area and spend the morning or afternoon doing a ride of your own before or after they pass.

And then the finish line. Will probably have a bike expo there with lot's of swag. The race will be broadcast live on a big screen and as it nears, the excitement builds. I found if you can lounge in a beer joint somewhere close to the finish route, you will be in heaven.

Have fun.
good advice. you sound like a "pro" spectator.

too bad they don't have more routes like, what is it,stage 3?. a "lollipop" route with a leg out to a point with a sprint then a loop back to the finish line from there.

people can watch both the sprint and the finish. plus the vendors have a captured (and idle, even better ) audience to extract money out of for a time that is dependent on the length of the loop. gotcha coming and going, so to speak!

if i'm counting correctly, that's a win (2), win, win situation, if you're counting cyclists, spectators and vendors.

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Old 03-20-12, 08:23 AM   #6
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The Bear Creek Road KOM is the closest to his house and would be easiest to get to...there should be a good sorting out of the field by then...but the idea of hangin' at the finish, taking in the atmosphere, watching the big screen and then seeing the finish and the podium presentation is attractive also.

Well...two months to figure it out.
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Old 04-24-12, 08:02 AM   #7
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3 weeks to go. Anybody else making plans to attend Stage 2? I'm leaning towards hanging at the finish. I think riding to the KOM would be fun but we're aiming to ride from Zot's to the coast on Saturday, so I'm not sure if I'd want to go ride Empire Grade the next morning!
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Old 04-25-12, 01:27 AM   #8
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I'm going to find a spot in the presidio or on el camino del mar before the Legion of Honor. First time, any tips? How early do I need to be there before the stage log time estimates? Crowds? How long after they pass through will you be able to go on your way?
?

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Old 04-26-12, 03:18 AM   #9
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Personally I like to see the speed. So I'll be camped out at a downhill section somewhere. On the outside of a corner where they're going around at maximum lean without touching the brakes really shows the speed.
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Old 04-26-12, 08:50 AM   #10
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The route descends Jamison Creek which is a horrible climb. That might be a great place to watch high speed descending.
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Old 04-27-12, 05:25 PM   #11
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You could find a spot near the turn from Summit to Old San Jose road, but you'll have to get there early before it closes. It's a sharp turn with a little concrete traffic triangle in it that may surprise anyone with extra speed.

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Old 05-01-12, 11:54 PM   #12
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Hi Dstrong,

You will have no problem catching the start and finish for Stage 2. Of all of your options, this is the easiest and less hectic. Once the race leaves, head south on I-280 to Hwy 17 to Hwy 1.

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Old 05-06-12, 01:12 PM   #13
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Thanks redbike2001...due to time constraints we're not going to be able to take in the finish, so the plan now is:
  • Drive to SF, park in China Basin by 9a
  • Ride bikes along Embarcadero, past Marina Green and to the GGB
  • Return to Marina Green 30 minutes prior to planned start (1105)
  • Leave Marina Green by 1130, returning to car and driving south to intersection of 35 and Bear Creek Rd
  • Walk or ride to Bear Creek KOM
  • Scream and yell as the riders come by
  • Maybe go to David Bruce Winery for some wine tasting

I might not be looking in the right places but I still don't see any rosters for the teams.
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Old 05-09-12, 09:28 AM   #14
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http://www.steephill.tv/tour-of-california/#rosters

Starting about half way down on the right
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Old 05-14-12, 10:30 PM   #15
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Looking for opinions here (opinions??? on BF???).

My brother and I are making plans to attend Stage 2 of this year's TOC...
So? How was it?
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Old 05-14-12, 11:24 PM   #16
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It was a blast. We made the start in SF and were able to see a lot of riders around the team busses. Levi, Boonen, Hincapie, all rode by within a few feet of us on their way back and forth to sign in. We raced down the peninsula and got to the Bear Creek KOM in plenty of time and got some good pics that I'll be able to post on Wednesday. All in all, a great day.
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Old 05-15-12, 03:02 PM   #17
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pretty fun! Skipped the swag though in favor of staking out a picture spot.
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Old 05-17-12, 09:30 AM   #18
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pretty fun! Skipped the swag though in favor of staking out a picture spot.
Great pic of Sagan! My report from Stage 2 is here.

And my ride report from the previous day is here.
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Old 05-17-12, 02:48 PM   #19
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Nice shot! How long did you have to hold down your spot to get that one? By the time I got there I didn't even try for a finish line shot and went for the final turn off Soquel Dr. onto Cabrillo and managed to get a pretty good look. Got a few podium shots as well from behind the NBC camera stand. Fun day!
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Old 05-18-12, 01:36 PM   #20
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About an hour -- I was right under the finish-line "jumbotron" which was unattractive to other folks (at first) because you couldn't see the TV
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