Recently, the 2013 Amgen Tour of California host cities were announced. In contract to past years, the route will run from the south to the north, starting in Escondido on May 12 and finishing in Santa Rosa on the 19th. Unfortunately, in 2013 there will be no finish atop Mt. Baldy or the "grueling climb" up to Big Bear.For those of us not competing (which is all of us!), what of the L'Etape du California ?
As a former road rider and someone who loves climbing, what makes the Tour of California exciting to me are the long, difficult climbing stages. Stages 2 and 3 are likely to include some climbing but, until the routes are announced, it is anyones guess. The only mountaintop finish that is definitely included is stage 7's finish atop Mt. Diablo, which climbs about 3200 feet in under 11 miles with an average gradient of 5.7%.
These changes mean one thing for those of us who enjoyed doing Mt. Baldy - a new route for the L'Etape du California. From what I've seen, there may be two L'Etape rides - one up Palomar Mountain and another at Mt. Diablo.
The California Tri-Team is sponsoring a ride at Palomar Mountain. Like last year, they are hosting two "preview" rides - one on March 9 and a second on April 6. They have not mapped out the route yet as it will be dependent upon the Tour of California route. The rides are open to anyone but, if you want Gatorade, Clif Bars, route cards, SAG support, etc., they are requiring riders to pre-register. To sign up for the rides, you can go HERE.
The L'Etape du California website lists two rides this year - one up Mt. Diablo on April 28 and a second in Escondido on May 11. There is little information yet available on either ride as registration is not yet open. However, the organizers have said they expect to open registration in mid December so it could be any day. My recommendation is that you get on the email list so you get notified when registration is open. Click on the L'Etape link above to go to the event site.
Lastly, if you noticed from the California Tri-Team site, they offer a $10 L'Etape registration discount when you sign up for the L'Etape du California. The discount code is CALTRI.
I did the 2012 L'Etape ride and one of the preview rides. It was a good time and well run. I would recommend this event to anyone who is available for the ride.
I'm certainly going to make sure I get my registration in for L'Etape. How about you? Is this on your 2013 list of objectives? If not, what rides are you targeting?