LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev.- Lake Tahoe’s natural geography of steep climbs and long descents against postcard views will offer plenty of sites to catch race action as the top women cyclists compete in Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race Empowered with SRAM, May 8-9.
With the start and finish line at Heavenly’s California Base Lodge, spectators will be updated with live race announcements, and entertained with high-energy music, local and Amgen Tour of California exhibitors, food and beverage.
Race organizers are encouraging individuals to ride their own bikes/walk wherever possible to limit the number of vehicles on the road.
“This historic race for women’s cycling within our own backyard, near our homes, favorite beaches and trails reflects Tahoe’s appeal as a top cycling destination,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “We’ll be out to celebrate the first two stages of the Amgen Tour of California women’s race.”
“North Lake Tahoe is excited to have such high caliber women’s professional sporting events in our region,” said John “JT” Thompson, tourism director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “We look forward to showing off our natural environment that organically lends itself to the outdoor sports enthusiast.”
With a route that runs clockwise around Lake Tahoe, Stage 1 is full of ups and downs.
Iconic Emerald Bay is one of Lake Tahoe’s most photographed areas and a spot to watch the racers, who are estimated to top the summit between 11:34 to 11:41 a.m. The athlete who completes the three designated climbs during both stages with the fastest cumulative time will receive the “Queen of the Mountain” designation. Emerald Bay is the first location for the challenge. Parking for these vantage points on the West Shore is tight with only two parking lots available: Eagle Falls Trail Head and Vikingsholm Visitors Center. Spectators’ best bet is to get there early before traffic schedules hinder access.
Kings Beach is nestled in the heart of North Lake Tahoe and will offer prime viewing opportunities for the race, passing through at approximately 12:45 p.m. Public parking is located next to the Kings Beach State Recreation area, the largest public beach on the north shore. Viewers can also watch from the top deck of Caliente Restaurant.
Crystal Bay is a few miles up Highway 28 and viewers can watch from Reservoir Road or Stateline Lookout (Fire Trail) behind Tahoe Biltmore Lodge & Casino. The race should pass through Crystal Bay around 12:50 p.m.
Spooner Summit – at the conclusion of the two plus mile uphill grade from the scenic Lakeshore Boulevard in Incline Village – on the southeast corner of the lake, where Highways 50 and 28 intersect, is where the cyclists ascent to an elevation of 7,150 feet around 1:29 to 1:58 p.m. This is the second “Queen of the Mountain” challenge. There are three parking lots here: Spooner Lake State Park, Snow Park and the Tahoe Rim Trail Access Road.
The last ascent is up Keller Road in South Lake Tahoe to the finish line, expected to take place between 1:49 to 2:40 p.m. Parking is available at the festival area at Heavenly Mountain Resort’s California base.
Local Viewing Venues
Bijou Community Park off Al Tahoe Drive in middle of South Shore, the “Y” where Highway 89 and 50 intersect, and Camp Richardson Resort off of Highway 89 before Emerald Bay each have parking areas (available on a first-come, first-served basis).
The course for Stage 2 includes two-laps through South Lake Tahoe and Meyers, Calif., the town seven miles west of South Shore.
As much of this stage route winds through neighborhoods, the best spot for many South Lake Tahoe locals to watch the race may be their front yard. For other viewing suggestions:
Pioneer and Black Bart Avenues: park along Black Bart Avenue; walk or ride your bike to Pioneer Trail. You’ll be able to watch the riders fly past four times.
Pioneer Trail, between Washoan Boulevard and Busch Way: park along the frontage road and cheer the riders as they head toward Meyers and again when they return.
Highway 89 between Portal Drive and Cornelian Drive; limited parking. The final “Queen of the Mountain” challenge will be on Apache Drive with another opportunity to see the riders up close. Get there early for parking along lower Mohican and lower Chippewa, and walk up to Apache Drive to see the riders before they turn onto Mandan Street. There is no parking permitted along Apache Drive during the race.
Along Ski Run Boulevard riders will turn off Pioneer Trail onto Ski Run for the final push to the finish line.
Times for the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race Empowered with SRAM are approximate based on average speeds of the peloton, and are subject to race dynamics. The area visitor bureaus encourage spectators to abide by the “pack-in pack-out” motto to help keep all areas clean, as well as bike or walk to key race viewing points.