Pro cycling fans will have several choices to view some great cycling in Santa Cruz County during Stage 2 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California on Presidents Day, Monday, February 16.
California Highway 1 at Bonny Doon Road The cyclists will zoom down Highway 1 from Pacifica, past Davenport and then turn left onto Bonny Doon Road to begin the last climb of Stage 2. There's ample parking nearby for the Bonny Doon Beach (a nude beach). Santa Cruz Metro routes 40 & 42 stop at this intersection. Santa Cruz Metro will operate on a regular weekday schedule on President's Day. I suggest taking #40 from downtown Santa Cruz at 8:30 AM to Bonny Doon Beach, then return to Santa Cruz on the #42 at 1 PM. Check the weather forecast, pack a lunch, use sunscreen. It's about 10 miles of wide shoulders along Highway 1 to this point from downtown Santa Cruz.
Bonny Doon Road at Smith Grade. You might be able to park along Smith Grade and watch as the cyclists climb Bonny Doon Road at this point. From here, getting back to downtown Santa Cruz in time for the finish might be difficult no matter your mode of transportation. Santa Cruz Metro routes 42 and 41 travel along Bonny Doon Road.
Pine Flats Road and Empire Grade The cyclists hit the summit of their climb as they turn from Pine Flats Road to Empire Grade. This is a tremendous viewing opportunity if you can get parking or a ride here. Don't expect to make it to the finish line, though: the cyclists can hit 60 mph on this steep, windy downhill through the redwood forests of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and along the UC-Santa Cruz campus as they zoom into Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Metro routes 42 and 41 stop at this intersection.
Bay Street and High Street The peloton enters the city of Santa Cruz at high speed and turns sharply right from High Street to Bay Street. This intersection -- the main entrance to UC-Santa Cruz -- is well served by a number of Santa Cruz Metro routes.
Bay and Mission The route finally flattens out after the cyclists turn left onto Mission Street (California Route 1) from Bay Street. Anywhere along Mission Street between Bay and Walnut should be good for viewing. Emily's on Mission at Laurel might be a good place to sit and watch as you have something good to eat there.
Santa Cruz High School Along Walnut Street, the Santa Cruz Local Organizing Committee suggests viewing from the big lawn in front of Santa Cruz High School, which is also conveniently at the top of a hill.
Stage 2 Finish on Front Street Stage 2 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California finishes at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History where Front and River Streets meet in downtown. Several roads will be closed and parking is very limited in Santa Cruz
I'll be at the downtown finish, and I may be at Highway 1 somewhere, either in Davenport or at the Bonny Doon Road turn if I think I can make it into Santa Cruz before the racers. If you plan to be at any of these points, please leave a comment. If you plan to take photos and post them online, give me a heads up so I know to link to them.
Thanks for the viewing info. I'm coming down for this stage from Oregon and looking for advice. Do you think it would be feasible to watch at the top of Tunitas Creek climb and then drive over to 280 and make it down to Santa Cruz for the finish? Any suggestions on the best spots to part in Santa Cruz? I don't mind walking a little ways as long as I make it in time - grocery store lot or parking garage or something? Thanks!
Adam: Driving from Tunitas Creek & Skyline to downtown Santa Cruz is about 50 miles and *should* take a little over an hour, assuming you don't run into traffic problems *and* assuming you can park. It's supposed to take the cyclists about 3 hours to get from Tunitas Creek & Skyline into downtown. You can probably make it.
I think I'll go for coastal shots and let others go for the King of the Mountain photography.
Does anyone know how early the Pine Flats and Empire Grade roads will be closed off for the race? About what time do you estimate the riders will reach the top of Pine Flats and begin the decent down Empire Grade?
Dave, the riders are expected to hit Empire Grade anywhere between 12:30 and 1:30. There will be 'moving' road closures from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. along Bonny Doon to Empire Grade and from noon-2:30 along Empire Grade to Bay.
I live right off bay street so I plan on watching from bay and high! Perhaps I could ride down and see the finsih, though, with all the road closures and my slow biking pace, I probably wont make it in time!
Thanks for all this info! Anyone know what time the race will hit bay and high?
@Deinem, the racers are expected to finish between 1 PM to 2 PM. With the sloppy weather, though, it might be even later than that. Enjoy the race! Try to come to the finish even if you don't think you'll make it in time -- lots of activities planned all around downtown.