06 April 2015

L'Etape California 2015

L'Etape California - ride a stage of the Amgen Tour of California

A challenging fun day for cyclists. All about the 2015 L'Etape California:

May 16, 2015 - San Dimas/Claremont (TBD) to Mt Baldy 

It is a tradition that AEG organizes a timed ride in which amateur riders can ride one complete stage of the Tour of California. Typically they select the hardest stage, and this year that would be the Queen Stage of Stage 7 up to Mt Baldy, an incredibly steep and difficult final climb. Test your metal alongside retired pro Jens Voigt, who is this year's ambassador for L'Etape 2015.

Two courses are offered in 2015: a shorter 40-mile more direct route to Mt Baldy (5,000 feet of elevation gain over a 13-mile climb) and a traditional longer 80-mile loop course climbing to Mt. Baldy Village, along the scenic Glendora Ridge and Glendora Mountain Roads, and then up the final climb to Mt Baldy.

What is special about this year, is that L'Etape is ON THE SAME DAY AS THE PRO RACE, which means once you cross the finish line, you will join other L'Etape participants inside the finish line barriers for special viewing of the final climb where ONLY L'Etape riders will be allowed for the conclusion of the professional race. ONLY L-Etape riders will be allowed to ride their bikes across the finish line barriers; ONLY L'Etape rider will be treated to a BBQ while waiting for the pros to arrive; ONLY L'Etape riders earn the really cool Shut up Baldy tshirt (below).

Enjoy the celebration at the finish line with fellow L'Etape California participants. 

Before departing the start area in the morning, you will be given a specific event bag into which you may load any items you want at the finish area. This bag will be transported to the top for you. A jacket, warmers, replacement drinks, clothes and walking shoes are recommended items to include in your bag. All items must fit into the one event bag (not your own bag). All L'Etape rider services will be within the last 1-mile of the finish. There will also be festival booths at the top of the mountain.

The last time ATOC included a stage finish atop Mt Baldy was in 2012, when the pros were estimated to finish between 3:17-3:56pm (I was there, I rode my bike to the top, but I was in an exhausted excited daze and cannot remember the exact time of arrival). This year they again expect the pros between 3:00-3:30pm. The podium presentation will take place within 20-30 minutes after the finish (of the first pro riders to arrive).

After the conclusion of the professional race, L'Etape riders will descend Mt. Baldy Road (along with spectators and many of the pros) 20-miles down the mountain back to the ride start. Mt. Baldy Road will reopen to all cyclists at approximately 4:00PM. If you want to descend the mountain before the pros (and the road closes) you must descend before (at least) 2:00pm. It will indeed be a very long exciting day for L'Etape participants (plan on 6:00am - 5:00pm total).

Mt Baldy it the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, in San Bernardino County, Southern California, USA
It hurts. The peloton suffering on Mt Baldy in 2012. Photo by Willie Weichenstein for Pedal Dancer®
Fans watching the race on the last swithback to the top of Mt Baldy in 2012. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
L'Etape California FAQs:
  • Date: Saturday, May 16, 2015
  • L'Etape Stage: Stage 7 (Queen Stage) of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California
  • Distance (2 distances): 40 and 80 miles
  • Return Distance: 20 miles
  • Route: L'Etape California 2015 Route Map
  • Start: San Dimas/Claremont (TBD)
  • Start time: 7:00am 80-milers, 8:00am 40-milers
  • Finish: Mt. Baldy
  • Required finish time: 2:30pm
  • Schedule: time schedule of events for the day
  • Information: Read more here
  • Amgen Tour of California ambassador: Jens Voigt
  • Registration: Register for L'Etape
  • Cost: ,
  • Biggest Challenge: averaging a nearly nine percent gradient for the final 4.3 miles
  • Return to the start: No riders will be allowed to descend between 2:30pm and 4pm as the course will be fully closed.
Registration includes:
  • “Shut Up Baldy” Jens Voigt T-shirt
  • Food/Hydration/Mechanical Support from SRAM (food stops on route)
  • Exclusive ride through the Amgen Tour of California Finish (not open to the public)
  • Complimentary photography
  • Timed Mt. Baldy climbs
  • Post-ride BBQ and viewing area along the final climb
  • Bag transport to the finish
  • Bike valet (they will safely store your bike at the finish while your watch the pro race!)
L'Etape Rider's Schedule for the day: Saturday, May 16:
  • 5:00 AM Registration Opens (Pickup ride materials)
  • 6:45 AM Registration Closes
  • 6:45 AM Bag drop off for transport to finish line
  • 6:50 AM Athlete Briefing and Opening Remarks
  • 7:00 AM 80-mile ride start
  • 8:00 AM 40-mile ride start
  • 10:30 AM First rider arrives at Mt. Baldy Finish Line 
  • 10:30 AM Post-Ride BBQ Begins (1/2 mile below finish line)
  • 10:30-2:00 PM L'Etape riders may descend to bottom of mountain 
  • 10:30-4:00 PM Bike Valet provided at finish line area (store your bike)
  • 2:30 PM Last rider arrives at Mt. Baldy Finish Line
  • 2:30 PM Road closes to all moving traffic
  • 3:00 – 3:15 PM Professional race finishes
  • 4:00 PM Spectators and participants (cyclists) may descend Mt. Baldy back to the start

Tshirt and Jersey of 2015 L'Etape California
Tshirt and Jersey of 2015 L'Etape California
Route of 2015 L'Etape California
Route of 2015 L'Etape California. Download course map
Profile of L'Etape California 2015
Profile of L'Etape California 2015
Red = steep!
This profile map is even prettier:

2015 Etape California profile map
2015 Etape California profile map
Ride it and you will get special finish line viewing!

Finish barrier for Etape California
Finish barrier for L'Etape California partipants - BBQ, bike valet, exclusive final 1/2 mile viewing!!!
The scene at the top in 2012 as fans wait for the pros to arrive. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
A bike, a rider and a road. Mt Baldy.  Photo by Mike Rakestraw for Pedal Dancer®
You'll be begging for a push somewhere within those last tough 4.3 miles to the top. Cyclists on Mt Baldy on race day in 2012. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
He was climbing the road to Mt Baldy in 2012!

Rcommended viewing - GCN video: How To Check Your Bike Before Your Next Sportive Or Race