Spectating the Tour of California
February 4, 2009 11:35 PM   Subscribe

I would like to watch Stage 2 of the Tour of California. What can we expect? Where would the best places to spectate from?

The stage begins in Sausalito, crosses the Golden Gate, and basically follows the coast all the way down to Santa Cruz on Highway 1.

I've never been to a bicycle race before, but I'd assume that the best place to watch would be on one of the steeper climbs. There are two climbs, one just south of Half Moon Bay and one just north of Santa Cruz. Would it be possible to watch the beginning on the Golden Gate and then make it down to Half Moon Bay for the climb?

Tour of California/France/whatever race veterans, please help get the most out of spectating my first major race.
posted by clearly to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can get most of your questions answered by browsing the threads at Roadbikereview.com.

Your best bet to see some extended action is at the finish, where the peloton will do a few laps in town. You can pick out individual riders better on the steep hills, so for stage 2, Tunitas Creek road (near Half Moon Bay) or Empire Grade (near SC) will be the places to be. Even there, expect to wait a couple hours (if you want a good spot and due to the road closures) for about 5 minutes of action as the escorts, peloton, then follow cars zoom by.

I expect the GG Bridge to be absolutely packed with people. You'll have a fair/slim chance to beat the race to the finish, but consider the time to fight the crowds back to your car, get out of the city to SantaCruz, park your car, & fight the crowds already there. Starting fromTunitas Creek you may also have a chance to get to SC down Rte 1 before the rolling road closures. I don't think you could get from the start to Tunitas in time to see anything.

don't let any of this discourage you from going. Virtually every big name in cycling will be racing, including 4 former winners of the Tour de France, 8 current or former World champions, and numerous winners of other major races. I'm not going to miss it!
posted by TDIpod at 12:19 AM on February 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Tunitas Creek Rd is pretty local to me, and while I'll probably see the race from there, be forewarned that it's narrow and windy, so your field of vision will be narrow. Also, there's very little room on the shoulder to park. I imagine lots of folks will be riding up ahead of the race (and/or coming up the other side from Kings Mountain Rd/Woodside, which is a shorter climb).
posted by mosk at 2:12 AM on February 5, 2009

What I've done in the past is to ride over the GGB into Sausalito to watch the start. There's generally a ton of people there so you get the energy of the crowd on the start and see all the riders pass as they do - plus you can mill around the camps and see them going to and from their buses before the start. You avoid a lot of traffic and have much better access without a car, obviously, and for this stage's route there's likely to be a LOT of places along those climbs where you just can't park very close.

This though, since it's going over the bridge and down the coast, I may just head over to Great Highway or somewhere in the Presidio (Lincoln) and get back to work. :)
posted by kcm at 6:00 AM on February 5, 2009

Oh, and if you want to preview a smaller race experience, check out the Cherry Pie Criterium this sunday in Napa. (It is this sunday; the link has the wrong date). There will be a couple pro teams there who are tuning up for the ToC, including Christian Vandevelde (5th in last years Tour de France) and Dave Zabriskie (current US Crit champion).
posted by TDIpod at 12:20 PM on February 5, 2009

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