The Amgen Tour Countdown Picks Up Speed!

Lake Tahoe, CA/NV…The countdown continues to the Sunday start of the 2011 Amgen Tour. If you are a local of have visited in the last few days you had to have noticed Lake Tahoe is now festooned with giant bikes to let everyone know something Big in the cycling world is about to land. We haven’t as of yet seen any of the giant cyclists that rode those bikes into town however.

Today on the big countdown the The Slow Rollers Bicycle Club presents the Spirit Bike Parade where all types of bikes and costumes are encouraged – almost mandatory. Bikes will be rolling from the “Y” (the intersection of HWY 89 and HWY 50) across town to the Stage 1 Start at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, on May 12. Details:

In North Lake Tahoe, the Squaw Valley Institute hosts “Soulcycler, Around the World Bike Tour” with local photographer/cycling enthusiast, Rick Gunn.
Barton Health 2011 Lecture Series features topics ranging from nutrition, preventing injuries, maximizing performance and more. A local professional trainer will present ‘Pedaling to Peak Performance,’ at Embassy Suites, May 12, 6 – 8 p.m.

Two (May 13)…
The Opening Gala and Official Team Introduction is Friday, May 13 at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. For a black tie evening attendees will get to rub elbows with the pros, indulge in a four-course meal, host bar and silent auction. For tickets and details: 2011 Race Opening Gala.

The Village at Squaw Valley will hosts a free outdoor cycling movie, Breaking Away (1979), directed by Peter Yates and starring Dennis Quaid. And at the Crystal Bay Club, Jackie Greene and Band will have you moving and grooving until the early morning hours.

One (May 14)…
The inaugural Start at the Top – Lake Tahoe Legends Ride, allows cycling enthusiasts to ride the Stage 1 first lap and compare their time to the pros, Saturday, May 14. Details:

The North Lake Tahoe Bike Swap, the Tahoe City Street Dance: right downtown, right under the stars and the 3rd Annual Wellness Weekend at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe all take place on May 14.

Eric Burdon & the Animals will be playing at Harrah’s South Shore Room on the eve of the Stage 1 start, Saturday, May 14.

Throughout the first day of the race, various events will be taking place between the north and south shores of Lake Tahoe. For full details and a schedule of events:

Amgen Tour of California Overall Start…(May 15)
Stage 1 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California is Sunday, May 15. The peloton begins at its highest start elevation in six years, 6,300 feet above sea level in South Lake Tahoe. After a lap and a half around the Lake, Stage 1 finishes at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. Stage 2 starts at Squaw Valley USA on Monday, May 16.

As part of the Stage 1 start on May 15, a special program, Breakaway from Cancer, will honor a Lake Tahoe cancer survivor, patient, caregiver or advocate who has made a difference within their community or proved an inspiration. In addition to leading the walk just prior to the Stage 1 finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, Lake Tahoe’s designee, a resident of the area, will receive special access to the tour, podium recognition and presentation ceremony involvement. Nominations from the public will be accepted at through Tuesday, March 22.

The Lifestyle Festival is May 15, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., at the Stage 1 Finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe, and will feature a health and fitness expo, cancer awareness education, cycling gear, family activities, bike safety, food and entertainment.

The 2011 Amgen Tour of California will cover nearly 800 miles and visit 15 Host Cities for official stage starts and finishes, while other cities along the route also will have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite professional cycling. Stages for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California include:

Stage 1, Presented by Michelob Ultra: Sunday, May 15 – South Lake Tahoeto North Lake Tahoe-Northstar at Tahoe Resort
Stage 2, Presented by the California Travel and Tourism Commission: Monday, May 16 – North Lake Tahoe-Squaw Valley USA to Sacramento
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 17 – Auburn to Modesto
Stage 4, Presented by UnitedHealthcare: Wednesday, May 18 – Livermore to San Jose
Stage 5, Presented by Rabobank: Thursday, May 19 – Seaside to Paso Robles
Stage 6, Presented by Herbalife: Friday, May 20 – Solvang Individual Time Trial
Stage 7, Presented by Nissan: Saturday, May 21 – Claremont to Mt. Baldy
Stage 8, Presented by Amgen: Sunday, May 22 – Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks

For best viewing points, where to catch the riders up close, a complete list of events and lodging accommodations, click to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. For details about the Tour and information about volunteering, visit