Big Bear Finishes Stage 6 Strong With A Party at Snow Summit’s Finish Line
I’ve always wanted to go to the Tour de France.
The thought of sitting at a roadside cafe in a small French town in the countryside, nibbling on a baguette and having a glass of wine as the world’s greatest cyclists roll through is quite appealing to me. Then packing up and going to the next village and doing it all over again.
Mark my word, I’ll do it someday. But until that happens, I’ll settle for the the Tour de France of California. It’s called the Amgen Tour of California, and from May 13-20, it is rolling through the Golden State, top to bottom, and ending at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles. In between it hits San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Palmdale, Big Bear Lake and Mt. Baldy, with the finishing stage starting on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, past the Hollywood sign and onto LA Live.
After each stage, there is a Lifestyle Festival for fans with cycling vendors, cancer awareness education, food, entertainment and, as in the case of Big Bear, a Michelob Ultra beer garden.
Yes, a beer garden. Now we’re talking!
Well it doesn’t take much of a genius to figure out where PubClub.com will be for the Amgen Tour. It may not exactly be a cafe in France, but this cycling race will be experienced American-style, in a beer garden in a beautiful Southern California mountain town.
Big Bear is the finish to Stage 6, which starts Friday, May 18, in Palmdale (anyone driving to Mammoth knows Palmdale well, or at least the 14 Freeway). After riders complete what is being called “The Big Bear Climb” – a 7,000-foot climb at the end of their 78.3-mile race that makes this the toughest of the eight stages – spectators will be kicking back in an interactive lifestyle festival and cycling expo on the grounds of Snow Summit Mountain Resort.
The racers are due to arrive between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., but the festival takes place before, during and after the race. It’s open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
The festival has continuous music, the aforementioned beer garden, food concessions, an open-deck full bar, health & fitness expo, cycling demonstrations, Jumbo Trons with live race coverage, bike safety clinics, San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino’s “Lucky 7 Bingo Game,” Arrowhead Regional Center’s Mobile Medical Clinic free health screenings, national sponsors and vendors, cycling gear, official race merchandise and family activities to keep the young ones entertained, such as bike rides for kids.
For those who want to continue partying into the night, Nottingham’s Tavern down the street is the place. Among other activities, it’s having goldsprints contests, a sprint competition on stationary bikes.
Big Bear is offering V.I.P. Finish Line Experience Packages and discounted lodging at www.bigbear.com.
The next day, join the riders again in Mt. Baldy. Just an hour away, there’s parking along the site of the road, a Michelob Ultra beer station near the summit and after the day is done, the cozy Mount Baldy Lodge for beers and pool, or dinner by a fireplace. The riders are due at the top of Mt. Baldy at approximately 4 p.m.
Then on Sunday, check out the start in Beverly Hills (Rodeo Drive and Brighton Way, 10 a.m.), followed by the finish at LA Live, where you can have more beers at these LA Live bars. All the spectator viewing spots at the start, finish and along the route, plus the post-race festivals, are free.
There are rolling road closures, however, so get to your destination at least two hours early. At some places, such as Big Bear and Mt. Baldy, spectators watch from the side of the road from their mountain bikes. The pros go past just a couple of feet from the fans; its like sitting courtside at a Lakers game.
No, it’s not the Tour de France. But for the Amgen Tour of California the good ‘ol American way is a fun way to see world-class cyclists.
AMGEN TOUR POST-RACE FESTIVALS & BEER GARDENS
Approximate riders arrival time is 3:45 p.m. at all stages, except LA Live, which is 11:50 a.m.
• Sunday, May 13: 610 3rd St., Santa Rosa, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
• Monday, May 14: 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
• Tuesday, May 15: 3050 Berryessa Road, San Jose for the start (9:30-11:15 a.m., race start is 11:15 a.m.) and for the finish in Livermore at 59 South L Street, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, May 16: 522 Pollasky Ave., Clovis, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
• Thursday, May 17: 1801 Panorama Drive, Bakersfield, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
• Friday, May 18, Snow Summit Parking Lot, 800 Summit Blvd., Big Bear Lake, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
• Saturday, May 19, 8401 Mt. Baldy Road, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
• Sunday, May 20. Beverly Hills start, Rodeo Drive and Brighton Way, 10:10 a.m. Finish at LA Live, 1111 Figueroa St., 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.