Me vs the Tour of California

The proposed plan: Shoot photos at Bonny Doon at 2 PM, then race by bike to the finish line and hope to beat the pros there for another set of photos at about 4 PM. Who thinks I can make it?

The Amgen Tour of California 2012 will hit Santa Cruz County early this afternoon and make the turn up Bonny Doon Road. I may make my own race of the Tour by biking from Bonny Doon to the Stage finish in Aptos and (hopefully) beating the pros to the finish line. Do you think I can make it?

The blue line in the map below shows the route the race will take this afternoon. That distance is about 50 miles and who knows how many thousands of feet of elevation gain. The red line is the more direct route I would take, which totals 20 miles and probably under 1000 feet of elevation gain.

Amgen Tour of California Santa Cruz Route Bonny Doon to Aptos

The pros have closed roads and police escorts. They can power themselves uphill faster than I’m capable of moving on level ground, especially since I’ll pull a trailer with camera and computer equipment (and a change of clothing). The peleton will scream down that final stretch into Aptos at speeds approaching 60 MPH, while I’ll stop for red lights and stops signs.

I can move at a decent clip outside of town, but once I hit Santa Cruz traffic I know my average speed will drop to about 11 MPH. From experience I know it’ll take me right at about 2 hours to make it to Aptos from Bonny Doon Road, plus I still need to grab my media pass and (hopefully) snag one of the limited supply of photo vests.

The other downsides — there’s probably good opportunity for ‘lifestyle cycling’ type photos in Aptos, which is my real interest. I’ll miss those if I’m racing across town at my banana-slug-like pace.

What do you think? Should I go for my own little personal challenge of a race from Bonny Doon to Aptos? If I thought of that earlier wouldn’t that have been a cool idea for an alleycat race of some kind?


  1. It seems unlikely for those many reasons. They are moving a steady 25mph or so without any stops or anything to slow them down other than a hill or curve, but never down to 0mph. Even if your average moving speed is reasonable, if you are hitting stops and traffic and spending time at 0mph once in a while, your overall average speed will go way down. I’m not sure if by 11mph you meant overall or moving average though. Any buses with bike racks that can potentially get you a few of those miles at a quicker pace?

  2. If you put a siren on your trailer and barrel through lights and signs, not stopping for anything, you’ll make it without a problem.

    Alternately, draft an 18-wheeler.

    OK, done joking now.

  3. I hope you did this, seems totally doable. Even with a trailer the tailwind would keep you rolling into town and along most of soquel, the only problem would be if the closed the course on you, which I doubt they would considering the layout.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve met you a couple times, btw. Funny how it is being an active cyclist in sc county.

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