Words can not describe the atmosphere that surrounds the Tour of California Camp, but imagine this:
Riding 4-5 hours a day
3 hours ahead of the Pro Peloton of the famous Amgen Tour of California
Watching the crowds gather and cheering you on
Seeing behind the scenes of the crews getting ready for the Pros
KOM and Sprint’s
The most beautiful California scenery
See how unique this camp is?
Unofficial Day One, campers arrived in San Diego where we decided to check out the local foodie scene at The Crack Shack This gave us a chance to catch up, unwind from our travels and of course, eat the delicious local food.
Back to the hotel for camp debriefing and to get the camp goodie bags!
Official Camp Day One – San Diego
The first stage of the tour started and ended in San Diego, we picked up the course just a couple miles from our hotel. It was an overcast day but that didn’t stop our athletes from making their mark on the course.
Athletes ended up with around 76 miles and about 6,000ft of gain. With fresh legs, it was all smiles even through the hard work.
After riding we decided to make it a block party. Pulled out the lawn chairs, ordered pizzas and set up to watch the Peloton ride through on their last sprint of the day. After that we packed up and drove the two hours to Pasadena where we were staying for the next stage. Quick dinner at a local pub and the crew was ready for some much needed recovery sleep!
Stage Two: South Pasadena to Santa Clarita
A total of 4 KOM’s on this stage through the winding mountains of Angeles National Forest including Highway 2, Big Tujunga and Little Tujunga Canyon. Some athletes chose to jump in the van after the last KOM, cutting off the last sprint, others opted for a couple more minutes of torture!
True to California weather it was overcast in the morning, which burned off by the afternoon for some sunshine, the descents made for chilly weather but nothing an Endurance Nation kit can’t fix and since each camper received two new cycle jerseys, matching was also not a problem!
At the end of the day, athletes ended up with around 70 miles and 8,700 ft of elevation gain. We drove the 40 minutes to Thousand Oaks for the next stage and of course, tons of carbs for dinner at Buca di Beppo! Since this was an earlier day, we enjoyed some beers outside by the pool and had some much needed recovery time.
Stage Three: Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara
Athletes were rested, recovered and ready for another day of riding. We rolled out of Thousand Oaks in the vans and decided to drop in right on the Pacific Coast Highway which was about 20 or so miles into the stage. Partly to get a little more sleep and partly to ensure we could roll to the finish as a team!
After traversing the flat strawberry fields of Oxnard and Ventura, we rolled through the undulating terrain of Lake Casitas, Carpinteria and Montecito. At this point all of the campers met at a SAG stop and we worked like a team to stay together and pushing forward.
Then the famous Gibraltar Road, a beautiful twisting mountain road with an 8% average grade. Fans and teams have long requested a finish here, and road conditions have finally made it possible this year. We experienced magnificent views of Santa Barbara and the beach below.
The team was able to climb to the finish but the vans got stopped by fast approaching tour. It is our hope next year to have a van shoot ahead early enough to get to the top so campers can begin to change out of cycling gear and watch the finish line. Mileage damage was 85 miles and around 6,400 ft of elevation gain.
After descending the mountain back to the vans, a quick change and some Core Power Protein Drink we were on our way to the next stage city. Stopping along the way for dinner (Hamburgers and old fashion milkshakes) everyone was ready for sleep the moment we arrived in Cambria, but not without a quick dip in the hot tub!
Three Day Stage Totals: 231 miles and 21,100 ft of gain…. Four more stages to go!