After a grueling Stage 1, the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM takes on beastly Mt. Baldy on Stage 2. Once again, the AmgenTOC strives to bring parity to the UCI Women’s Tour with a beyond category climb that rivals the men’s Queen Stage. Like the men’s expedition, the women’s peloton will trek through the San Gabriel Mountains just north of the Los Angeles Basin for a stage that totals forty-plus miles, several KOMs, and over 7,300 feet of climbing. With a scenic pass through Claremont, the riders will be just outside Los Angeles’s northern suburbs for a beautiful ride that will make the peloton forget about the city bustle.
The first thirteen miles take the riders north from Ontario and into Upland along beautifully shaded and historic Euclid Avenue. Just before reaching the steeper inclines of Mt. Baldy Road, the riders turn west for an undulating, enjoyable, and fast ride through the “city of trees.” Indeed, Claremont is known for its world-renowned colleges, tree-lined streets, and historic character. The leg-crushing climbs to come are in the forefront of each rider’s mind even though the mountains are deceivingly close. Just out of sight is also the highlight of northern Claremont, the Alf Museum of Paleontology – the perfect destination for families traveling to see the race. Located on the grounds of a local high school, this is a nationally accredited museum that continues to work with students to foster advanced scientific research. Just as impressive are the museum’s exhibits. Along with assembled prehistoric fossils, learn how these specimens were discovered and how they relate to moments in the Earth’s history for a humbling and awe-inspiring experience.
The peloton weaves around the San Gabriel foothills and onto the fan-filled streets of Glendora. This is a crucial point in the stage, where the sense of glory takes over and riders will be vying for position. The corner of Glendora Mountain Road and Sierra Madre Avenue is an opportune place to see both races begin their monumental ascent. After the race, head down the street to see one of Glendora’s many cultural treasures and a quirky piece of locale lore - Rubel Castle. The “castle” was constructed between 1968 and 1986 by local personality Michael Rubel. Over time, Rubel and his friends and family put concrete and repurposed materials like river rock, aluminum, wine bottles, tires, golf clubs, and other unique construction items into this evolving piece of folk art. Contact the Glendora Historical Society for tours or drive by for a peek through the gates.
Beginning in Glendora, the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM makes its long push uphill, an ascent that culminates at the Mt. Baldy Resort ski lift. This is one epic ride that will take the peloton 26.5 miles up almost 6,400 feet of climbing at an average gradient of over 6%. The day’s apex, however, comes in the last 4.5 miles when the race turns onto Mt. Baldy Road and climbs the last 2,300 feet to the base of Mt. Baldy Resort. Through the village of Mt. Baldy itself, through Icehouse Canyon, and up the ten switchbacks, the ascent is brutal - averaging 9.4% with a max incline of almost 16%. In fact, the last half mile alone averages 12.8% and is where many of the riders are forced to zig-zag across the road before the throng of fans who will be there to cheer them to the finish. The gaps here will likely decide who dons the leader’s jersey in Pasadena. Katie Hall dominated the uphill finish in 2017’s South Lake Tahoe. Can she do the same in 2018 to make it two Yellow Jerseys in a row? Stake your place at the top of Mt. Baldy to witness history being made.