Category Archives: Recreation

Ananda Village’s annual tulip display

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While the Crystal Hermitage upper and lower gardens are now open daily, each spring Ananda Village opens to the public for viewing of their amazing 15,000 imported Dutch tulip display during their Springtime at Ananda event. The 2015 dates this year are April 4 – 5 and 18 – 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

View photos of some of the gardens at our photo gallery here. For directions to Ananda Village or to purchase tickets, visit CrystalHermitage.org.

Enjoy a video of the gardens here:

(Photos: Roseanne Burke; Video: Crystal Hermitage)

Truckee snowboarder Mike Basich’s tiny home

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“A professional snowboarder in California figured out a genius way to get closer to the slopes. Mike Basich built this tiny 225-square-foot home in the middle of his 40-acre property near Truckee, Calif. He told Laura Ling from “Going off the Grid” about how he built his new digs by hand. “It took me five years — two and half years to do all the rock work. I think I moved about 175 ton of rock.”

“Not only is the little house off the beaten path, it’s also off the grid. That means no Internet, no indoor plumbing, and no traditional electricity. Luckily for anyone wanting to take a shower or wash their hands, the property has two creeks that provide water for the home. The best part for Basich is the location. Not only can he snowboard on private trails, but the property even has its own chair lift that Basich built with the help of some friends. If you think this style of living is crazy, Basich is one of 180,000 Americans choosing to live off the grid. He says of the home, “I like to think of it as getting back to the basics of humanity. I like feeling connected to the earth more than I could with a 4,000-square-foot house.”

(Source: Yahoo!News)

Officials and stakeholders gather for opening dedication of Rice’s Crossing Preserve

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Friday, May 20, 2015, local, state and national officials gathered in a quiet meadow overlooking the Middle and North Forks of the Yuba River during a dedication ceremony of Bear Yuba Land Trust’s (BYLT) 2,707-acre Rice’s Crossing Preserve.

“This is one of those remarkable projects. This is special,” said Northern California Director of Trust for Public Land Dave Sutton. “It is people, it is individuals, who make this work happen.”

Sutton was joined by Program Manager for Trust for Public Land Markley Bavinger who worked tirelessly for many years with many stakeholders to secure the deal.

The $3.25 million acquisition was funded by Proposition 84 funds through the California Natural Resources Agency’s River Parkways Program ($1.9 million) and Sierra Nevada Conservancy ($1 million) in addition to funding from the CalTrans Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program ($350,000).

BYLT acquired Rice’s Crossing Preserve in June of 2014, the largest landholding in the Land Trust’s 25 year history. A community success story, the preserve helped BYLT to grow its conservation footprint from 6,000 to 9,000 acres. BYLT’s stewardship team will monitor the property ensuring that habitat for threatened and endangered species will be protected and restored. BYLT will work closely with South Yuba River Citizens League to develop a monitoring plan for this section of the river.

“It’s all based on the Yuba River, the life of the community… The river has always been and continues to be a way that brings us all together,” said Projects Manager for Yuba County Water Agency Geoff Rabone.

Rice’s Crossing links over 8,500 acres of public open space and will provide unprecedented access to the river in the form of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and fishing.

Nevada County District 4 Supervisor Hank Weston sees Rice’s Crossing as a key recreation landholding that will drive tourism and help the local economy.

“This will last for generations. This will be the trail system, the connection system, the economy booster,” said Weston, who someday sees himself walking from Bullards Bar to the new covered bridge at Bridgeport.

The acquisition of Rice’s Crossing was initiated in 2007 by a group of conservationists including Shawn Garvey and Janet Cohen who, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, applied for initial funding. The Trust for Public Land played a critical role supporting the project, partnering with BYLT in 2011, and providing the expertise to complete the acquisition. The Sierra Fund has also remained a key project supporter and fiscal agent from beginning to end.

Other speakers on Friday included: Polly Escovedo from California Natural Resources Agency; Bob Kingman from Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Izzy Martin from The Sierra Fund, South Yuba River Citizens League’s Board President Barbara Getz and Bear Yuba Land Trust Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt and BYLT Board President Andy Cassano.
A preliminary management plan for Rice’s Crossing Preserve has been created and Bear Yuba Land Trust is just beginning to seek community input on the project.

“What does the community want us to build and where?” asked Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt.

After an overview of the property and recognition of key players in the project, participants walked the still rough first 2.5 mile section of the new Yuba Rim Trail. Led by BYLT’s trails team and built with the help of 17 committed volunteers who worked 187 hours since January, the new trail winds through the shelter of a mixed conifer forest before opening up to views of the Yuba River canyon. A grand opening of the trail for the general public will be held during BYLT’s annual event, Walk on the Wild Side on April 18.

Learn more at BYLT.org.

(Source: Laura Peterson, Bear Yuba Land Trust)

Expert team will joint Bear Yuba Land Trust to teach sustainable trail building

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International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) Subaru / IMBA Trail Care Crew is coming to Grass Valley and teaming up with Bear Yuba Land Trust to teach people proper trail building technique during a free two day training session in April.

The visit, scheduled for Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4, is one of about 40 stops on the 2015 schedule open to anyone interested in trail building.

The award-winning Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program includes two full-time professional teams of trail experts who travel North America year-round, leading IMBA Trail building Schools, meeting with government officials and land managers and working with IMBA-affiliated groups to improve local mountain biking opportunities. IMBA’s crews have led more than 1,000 trail projects since the program debuted in 1997.

The event will kick off with an evening presentation, “Better Living Through Trails” held at 5 p.m. Friday, April 3 at the historic North Star House, 12075 Auburn Road in Grass Valley.

The presentation will explore the positive relationships between communities and their trail systems. As community assets, trails can improve quality of life and attract significant tourism dollars. Participants will learn how to effectively market quality trails and turn them into visitor destinations.

Key topics of the discussion will include: Case studies; the economic, health and wellness benefits trails bring to an area; the value of single track trails; economics of single track trails; and the fundamentals of building community and destination trails. The following day, IMBA will lead a trail building school from 9 a.m. to noon (lunch included) at the North Star House. Students will learn about trail building theory, essential elements of sustainable trails, how to design and construct a trail and how to re-route and reclaim a trail.

In the afternoon, participants will venture to Upper Miner’s Trail off Highway 20 for trail work from 1 to 5 p.m. Participants must attend the morning classroom session to participate in the field project. Wear pants, closed-toe shoes, a hat, gloves and bring water.

The Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program has inspired volunteer trail work across the U.S. and abroad helping government agencies and land managers with limited funding to build trails and keep them maintained. As a direct result, there are now thousands of new and improved trails in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico and several European countries.

The Trail Care Crews teach “sustainable” trail building resulting in trails that last with minimal maintenance. This helps reduce trail damage, protects the environment and enhances visitor enjoyment for years to come.

All are welcome to join the Subaru/ IMBA Trail Care Crew leaders when they come to town. For more information and to register for the IMBA Trail building School:
www.bylt.org; shaun@bylt.org; 272-5994 x201.

About the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trailwork participation, cooperation among trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions.

IMBA’s worldwide network includes 35,000 individual members, more than 100 chapters, 750 bicycle clubs, more than 160 corporate partners and about 600 retailer shops. IMBA’s members live in all 50 U.S. states, most Canadian provinces and in 30 other countries. For more information visit www.IMBA.com.

About Bear Yuba Land Trust

Bear Yuba Land Trust is a community-supported nonprofit group that saves land, builds trails and offers programs to get people outdoors and appreciate nature in the Bear and Yuba watersheds of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Volunteers are the heart of BYLT’s success. To date, BYLT has built and maintains 19 trails, extending 35 miles. The first segment of the Yuba Rim Trail on Rice’s Crossing Preserve will be opened to the public on April 18. Learn more at: www.bylt.org.

Watch an interesting video about the Bear Yuba Land Trust, here:

(Source: Bear Yuba Land Trust; Video: Timothy and Christopher Gee)

2015 Nevada City Dirt Classic Series announced

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The 2015 Nevada City Dirt Classic Series has announced the dates for this year’s Dirt Classic Series and Miners Dirt Series. The Nevada City Dirt Classic Series is on X-C ride for all ages held on three Saturdays, May 2, May 9 and May 30. The Miners Dirt Series is held on three Fridays, May 1, May8 and May 22, and is for kids 10 to 14 years old.

Registration is required for all rides and each will conclude with music, food and raffle prizes including a new bike. The bike raffle will be held on May 30 at the conclusion of Race 3. To learn more about the series and to register, visit YBONC.org.

Enjoy all of Nevada County bike trails year-round; see a listing of the trails here.

If you’re in town for Race 2 of the Nevada City Dirt Classic race on May 9, be sure to stay overnight and catch the start of Stage 2 of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California in Nevada City on Monday, May 11. Read more about the Amgen Tour here.

(Photos: Nevada City Dirt Classic, Amgen Tour of California; Video: Great Basin Bicycles of Reno)

2015 Nevada County Fair poster introduced

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The 2015 Nevada County Fair poster was introduced today with the theme “Catch the Fair Bug!” Local artist Juli Marks of Grass Valley created the artwork which was selected to be the official poster for this year’s fair which runs August 12 – 16, 2015.

Watch a video from previous Nevada County Fairs, here:

New York Times Travel promotes Truckee restaurants, Boreal Mountain Resort and Donner Memorial State Park

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The New York Times Travel regular 36 Hours feature is promoting Truckee restaurants, Boreal Mountain Resort and the Donner Memorial State Park today.

36 Hours | What to Do in Lake Tahoe

“Straddling the Nevada-California border, Lake Tahoe’s immense cobalt blue oval — unfrozen thanks to the lake’s depth — stands out against the snow-covered mountains like a colossal eye staring into heaven. This May, Tahoe’s wilderness will be even more accessible with JetBlue beginning daily direct flights between J.F.K. and Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The lake’s vastness can be absorbed only by being there — or better yet, skiing the dozen resorts surrounding it, their trails like frozen white waterfalls cutting through the fir-lined mountains. Lake Tahoe has two distinctive areas: the north side, where cowboy-chic cabins and semi-isolated shops and cafes overlook a quiet shoreline; and South Tahoe, which glitters with casinos, clubs and a slew of new upscale boutique hotels hovering above the lake. Skiing both sides in one weekend is an ambitious undertaking, but the lake’s wilderness spirit and surprising contrasts are compelling enough to pull you into its adventurous orbit.

“Friday

“1. History Lesson | 3 p.m.

“Winter is a dramatic time to visit Donner Memorial State Park ($8 entry per vehicle) for a bracing insight into the travails of the 87 members of the Donner Party who were snowed in here during the winter of 1846-47 and resorted to cannibalism to survive. The Visitor’s Center gives a grim but inspiring overview of what Donner & Co. went though in their drive to overcome the High Sierras. It’s an especially touching and surreal experience to stand by the boulder that formed the wall of one of the party’s cabins with the nearby roar of Highway 80 drivers clearing the once-daunting Donner Pass in minutes.

“2. Trampolines and Tubing | 4:30 p.m.

“Beloved by the local younger set for its intimate slopes, night skiing and Camp Woodward year-round indoor training facility (trampolines! foam pits!), Boreal, perched on a scenic stretch of Donner Pass, is now celebrating its 50th year. Because of its five terrain parks, including the newly opened pirate-themed Neffland, Boreal is especially attractive to snowboarders, having hosted the United States Snowboarding Grand Prix in 2009. Boreal lights up its mile-long runs for night skiing, 3:30 to 9 p.m. Take the lift to 7,300 feet and wait for the stars to emerge above while carving through the fir trees back to the valley. You can also take the hills closer to ground on the dedicated snow-tubing park next to the parking lot (night lift ticket $29 or two-hour tubing session $34). Night skiers also have another great opportunity on Saturday when Squaw Valley, half an hour’s drive south on the Lake, illuminates its long runs with a new high contrast lighting system. (3 to 7 p.m. Lift tickets, $49)

“3. Truckin’ the North Shore | 7:30 p.m.

“The old railroad town of Truckee, with its upscale hippie vibe, is the cultural and night-life nexus of the North Shore. For a rustic overview of this colorful town, tuck into Cottonwood Restaurant, a cozy spot perched cliffside above the Truckee River. The restaurant’s giant garlic romaine Caesar salad has become a local institution. Dinner for two around $65. For true epicures, there’s Trokay restaurant on Truckee’s main drag where the chef, John Weatherson, has found his haven from the Michelin-starred Restaurant Daniel in New York. For the last four years he and his wife, Nyna, have pioneered French-inspired, locally sourced cuisine such as venison with sunchoke, or green apple granita with celery, pomegranate and, yes, snow. A prix fixe dinner with wine pairing starts at $125. Still awake? Wander a block north into the cross hairs of Truckee night life: Moody’s Bistro Bar and Beats, in a cozy niche of the Victorian-era Truckee Hotel. The hotel is a creaky-planked affair that incongruously adjoins the sleek, hip, jazzy bar that could just as well be in Paris. Belly up for the smooth barrel-aged Negroni ($14) or hot-buttered rum from house-made ingredients ($9) to go with the colorful whatever-happens-happens local musical acts — Paul McCartney, a regular vacationer to Tahoe, has joined in a couple of times.”

To read the full article, click here.

(Source: Finn-Olaf Jones, New York Times Travel)

Route for 700-mile 2015 Amgen Tour of California, including Sierra Foothills

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The tenth anniversary edition route is set for the 2015 Amgen Tour of California, America’s largest and most prestigious professional cycling race. The milestone course will feature several rider and fan-favorite locales from past races, as well as five stages that highlight different regions of California for the very first time.

An all-star field featuring 144 of the world’s most talented and decorated cyclists will come together in California May 10-17 to compete on the eight-day route covering 724.1 miles of the state’s most stunning and recognizable roadways, highways and coastline drives. Every year, the Amgen Tour of California serves as a testament to athletic greatness of the participants, captivating audiences with thrilling sprints, climbs and overall race strategy, and the tenth edition of the Amgen Tour of California will raise the bar to its highest level yet.

Starting in front of California’s iconic State Capitol building, the first two stages are the flattest and should make for exciting moments with some of the world’s best sprinters facing-off during the race’s first weekend giving fans a “first taste” of the anticipated bunch sprints to the finish expected in several stages. As for uphill challenges, riders will be tested by more than 43,000 feet of climbing throughout their eight days on the course including much anticipated encounters with Mount Hamilton and Mt. Baldy, which will serve up climbs as challenging as any in North America.

The final decisive days of the race will be highlighted by the Individual Time Trial set in beautiful, high-altitude Big Bear Lake and the Queen Stage finish at the top of Mt. Baldy with its 1,900-foot elevation gain in the final 4.3 miles, over eight percent average gradient. On the final race day which begins at L.A. LIVE, the overall title will be up for grabs until the finish line at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

“We’ve reached a milestone this year with the tenth edition of the race, and we want everything to reflect that cache, from the best lineup of teams we’ve ever had to an unbelievably beautiful and exciting route,” said Kristin Bachochin Klein, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “All of the pieces of the race have come together to set the stage for something truly legendary and memorable. I think it’s going to be a year for the record books.”

The 2015 Amgen Tour of California will have something spectacular to see every day (route and start times are subject to change):

Stage 1, Presented by Visit California
Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Start/Finish Location: State Capitol Building, L Street & 11th Street
Start Time: 11:00 a.m.
Stage Length: 127 miles

Fast and flat, with water and bridges galore… Stage 1 is destined to be a sprinter’s delight. Each year, the Amgen Tour of California endeavors to highlight areas of the Golden State that it has never been to before, and the new Stage 1 course definitely accomplishes this.

After an initial crossing of the Sacramento River via the iconic Tower Bridge, the race will pass quickly through West Sacramento to River Road. From here, the race will follow the winding Sacramento River through the small towns of Clarksburg, Courtland and Walnut Grove. The stage’s fourth bridge crossing will take the race back over the river into Isleton. A few miles later, the route again crosses the river into Rio Vista and the heart of the California Delta region.

The riders will then head north through Solano County into one of the most popular alumni race cities, Davis. Continuing north through Woodland, the route turns east and heads back to West Sacramento, across Tower Bridge and the Sacramento River for the fourth and final time. Heading straight toward the State Capitol building, the riders will enter onto the same finishing circuits that have delivered huge crowds and have showcased some of the most exciting sprint finishes in the history of the Amgen Tour of California. In 2014, the sprint between legendary fast men Mark Cavendish and John Degenkolb resulted in the closest margin of victory in race history – a mere three millimeters!

Stage 2, Presented by Breakaway from Cancer
Monday, May 11 – Nevada City to Lodi
Start Location: Broad Street & Pine Street
Finish Location: Hutchins Street & Walnut Street
Start Time: 11:00 a.m.
Stage Length: 120 miles

With just one climb and elevations of 2,500 feet in Nevada City, which is hosting its third race start, and a more gentle climb of 55 feet in Lodi, this will likely be another sprinter-friendly stage. After a short circuit on the historic Nevada City Classic course, the riders will head into Grass Valley where another warm reception will await. From Grass Valley, the peloton will head due south on two race favorites: Rattlesnake Road and Dog Bar Road.

The route passes just east of Auburn this year over the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge, the tallest bridge in California. From here, the riders can look over their shoulders to the American River some 730 feet below and the start of the Highway 49 climb. Once they reach the King of the Mountain (KOM), it is a fast downhill route into Lodi. On the way, the stage will cross several railroad crossings and past several vineyards that have established Lodi as the “Zinfandel Capital of the World.” Expect a shootout between some of the top sprinters in the world as the peloton reaches the finishing circuits downtown.

Stage 3 Tuesday, May 12 – San Jose
Start Location: Berryessa Community Center
Finish Location: Motorcycle County Park
Start Time: 11:15 a.m.
Stage Length: 105 miles

This will be the race’s tenth consecutive year in San Jose, the only host city to earn that distinction. The start returns to the Berryessa Community Center from which riders will head toward Livermore on a familiar route via Calaveras Road. This is a very narrow and twisty road that makes it easy for a breakaway group to escape out of sight of the peloton. Once the race reaches Livermore, the route turns onto Mines Road. Not only is this another road with scores of opportunities for a break to get clear of the main field, it is also a harbinger of things to come: Mount Hamilton. Yes, the race will head up the “backside” of the 4,216-foot behemoth.

Reaching the KOM, the cyclists will face a very steep and technical descent of Mount Hamilton. At the bottom awaits the fifth and final KOM via Quimby Road will truly separate the climbers from the rest of the peloton. Descending back into San Jose, the route will use San Felipe Road to reach Metcalf Road. Many will recall Metcalf Road as part of the 2013 Individual Time Trial. For 2015, the race will come to the same finish at the Motorcycle County Park, but from the other direction. The four miles of Metcalf Road are highlighted by short rolling climbs with a final 0.25-mile climb to the finish featuring gradients over 10 percent.

Stage 4 Wednesday, May 13 – Pismo Beach to Avila Beach
Start Location: Pismo Beach Pier
Finish Location: Front Street & San Antonia
Street Start Time: 11:30 a.m.
Stage Length: 107 miles

This will be another day for the sprinters to rule. With less than eight miles separating these two alumni cities, some riders may be hoping for a very short race day. But, tack on another 100 miles, and throw in some hidden gems of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, and you have the makings of a route destined to become a fan favorite. Pismo Beach will host a reprise of the 2014 Stage 5 start on the pier. The route will then head south through the seaside town of Grover Beach and the rustic community of Guadeloupe. As the race continues down Highway 1 and through the town of Orcutt, many of the local cyclists will recognize roads that are used for races in the Santa Maria area. As the route turns onto idyllic Foxen Canyon Road, the peloton will be treated to lush vineyard and winery views. A left turn will put the race on Tepusquet Road, where many of the riders will see similarities to Morgan Territory Road used in 2013 near Livermore.

Along the 15 miles of Tepusquet, the riders will be treated to cool breezes, plenty of shade, tranquil farms and ranches. Perhaps it will take their minds off the long climb they are on. Reaching the descent of Tepusquet, the route turns left, and the racers will be able to smell the sea breeze all the way to the finish. A right turn onto Thompson Avenue, and many of the riders will realize they are on the same route into Avila Beach that they raced on in 2013. Arroyo Grande will again produce a great crowd at the final sprint of the day. Spectators will again line the narrow roads in Avila Beach awaiting another amazing finish. Will it be another solo rider like Jens Voigt, who rode clear to victory in 2013, or will they be treated to a field sprint?

Stage 5, Presented by Visit California
Thursday, May 14 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Start Location: Cabrillo Boulevard & Garden Street
Finish Location: Magic Mountain Parkway
Start Time: 11:45 a.m.
Stage Length: 98 miles

With warm breezes coming off the beach across from the start line, it will be just as difficult to leave Santa Barbara as it was in 2008 when the riders took the same route into Santa Clarita. Winding their way through picturesque Montecito and Carpinteria, the riders will be getting their legs ready for two short but steep KOMs as they approach Lake Casitas. A fast descent down Highway 150 will take them alongside the lake and into Ojai. Following another KOM up Dennison Grade, the race will return to the charming town of Santa Paula, the base of Balcom Canyon looms just a few miles away.

For many local riders, Balcom Canyon is just too steep and imposing a climb to even attempt. Walking up the top section is the only option for many. This is a unique climb where the riders can easily see the KOM from the start of the climb. Crowd estimates have been as high as 5,000 fans. Definitely a great place to watch the race come by… slowly.

Following a “white-knuckle” descent of Grimes Canyon, the route heads through the orange groves near the small town of Piru, and the race starts its 13-mile eastward push on Highway 126 toward Santa Clarita. A prevailing tailwind should help keep the race together and treat the crowd in Santa Clarita to another massive field sprint on perfect wide roads.

Stage 6, Presented by Lexus
Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake Individual Time Trial
Start Location: Village Drive & Bartlett Road
Finish Location: Pine Knot Marina
Start Time: 1:00 p.m.
Stage Length: 15 miles

At 6,752 feet and featuring one of the most beautiful lakes in all of California, the City of Big Bear Lake will host of the Individual Time Trial. The course begins in the heart of the Village in Big Bear Lake. The first three miles of the route wind through a residential area along the south shore of the lake. Taking the Stanfield Cutoff across the lake, the course turns left and continues on Highway 38 to the town of Fawnskin. As the route turns back to the City of Big Bear Lake, expect large crowds in Fawnskin to cheer the riders coming and going. The return back into Big Bear Lake will essentially follow the same route.

As the route makes a right onto Big Bear Blvd., with just 0.6 miles left, the riders will make a right onto Pine Knot Avenue for the final sprint to the finish line and onto a 1,000-foot jetty greeted by thousands of cheering fans. Cyclist are presented to a one-of-a-kind waterfront finish with spectacular panoramic views of Big Bear Lake. This is very flat and fast course that will favor time trial specialists. Don’t expect riders to score huge time gaps over their rivals to take a big lead going into Stage 7.

Stage 7, Presented by Lexus
Saturday, May 16 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy (Queen Stage)
Start/Finish Location: Mt. Baldy Ski Area
Start Time: 11:35 a.m.
Stage Length: 80 miles

It’s been called the “Queen Stage” and compared to the epic stages of the European Grand Tours – a return to the mountaintop finish that thrilled so many fans in 2011 and 2012. This is the training ground for many of the local riders in Southern California. Only handfuls have done the entire route, but after the 2012 stage, this is now one of hottest Strava segments in the U.S. It is very possible that the winner of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California will be decided on the final 15 switchbacks to the finish on Mt. Baldy.
The race will begin at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, the largest indoor arena in California’s Inland Empire and home to several professional sports teams.

The route heads north to Rancho Cucamonga and then west to Upland. Just six miles from the start, the route rejoins the 2011/2012 routes. From here, the riders will start an 11-mile climb to the Village of Mt. Baldy. After an acute left, the racers will face another mile of climbing up Glendora Ridge Road to their first of three monster KOMs. From there, they will navigate 12 miles of narrow and twisting roads that gradually descend to a fast and technical descent down the backside of Glendora Mountain Road. Riders and fans alike can expect spectacular vistas throughout the Angeles National Forest. Another descent down East Fork will take the riders to Highway 39 and the town of Azusa. Heading east, they’ll race through the outskirts of Glendora.

The locals know it as “GMR,” and GMR takes no prisoners. A left turn onto Glendora Mountain Road will lead the peloton to a grueling nine-mile climb to the second KOM of the day followed by 12 miles of a slight climb back to Baldy Village. A left turn back onto Baldy Road will see the race gain 1,000 feet in just three miles… and the real climbing will not have even begun! At Ice House Canyon, the route makes a hard left turn where the sign to the ski area points toward the sky. Over the next 2.5 miles, the riders will face 10 switchbacks on a road so steep that many of the race vehicles cannot make it to the top. With 1.2 miles to go, the road will straighten and the finish will be in view. At 0.25 miles to go, the route makes a hard left, and the racers will face the final five switchbacks to the finish line. This will be the stage where legends are made and winners are decided.

Stage 8, Presented by Amgen
Sunday, May 17 – L.A. LIVE (Los Angeles) to the Rose Bowl (Pasadena)
Start Location: L.A. LIVE (Chick Hearn Court)
Finish Location: Pasadena Rose Bowl
Start Time: 9:15 a.m.
Stage Length: 60 miles

What better way to celebrate the uniqueness of Los Angeles than a Stage 8 route that highlights countless iconic images in downtown L.A. and a tour through the heart of several well-known neighborhoods? The day will begin in the heart of L.A.’s famous sports and entertainment district. The start line will span Chick Hearn Court and connect STAPLES Center (home of the Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers) and L.A. LIVE (home of the annual GRAMMY, Emmy and Espy Awards as well as race presenter AEG’s worldwide headquarters).

The early morning start will begin with a five-mile circuit that incorporates a portion of the 2010 Time Trial route. The circuit will highlight the Biltmore Hotel, Pershing Square, City Hall, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the Los Angeles Music Center, STAPLES Center, and L.A. LIVE. Upon completing five laps and an hour of racing in downtown L.A., the race will head north to its ultimate conclusion in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. The neighborhoods of Downtown L.A., Chinatown, Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park, Mount Washington, Montecito Heights, Highland Park and Eagle Rock will all get a chance to watch the peloton race over their streets.

Entering Pasadena on Colorado Blvd., the Colorado Street Bridge will reprise its 2014 role as a backdrop to the beautiful Arroyo Seco. As the peloton drops into Arroyo Seco Park and the familiar environs of the Rose Bowl, the riders will do nearly one complete 3.1-mile circuit of the Rose Bowl before reaching the finish line on West Drive. The lap counter will read seven laps to go, after which the winner of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California will take his place on the podium.

For further information about the Amgen Tour of California and to experience the race like never before with VIP Access, please visit AmgenTourofCalifornia.com

About the Amgen Tour of California

The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions. Amgen Tour of California is listed on the international professional cycling calendar (2 HC, meaning “beyond category”), awarding important, world-ranking points to the top finishers. More information is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

This year, the men’s course will traverse more than 700 miles and wind through 13 host cities, including Sacramento, Nevada City, Lodi, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) and Pasadena. The women’s three-day stage race will travel more than 150 miles through South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, followed by a 15-mile Invitational Time Trial in Big Bear Lake.

(Source: Amgen Tour of California)

Pacific Crest Trail featured in popular “Wild” movie

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The Pacific Crest Trail, that traverses part of Nevada County in the Castle Peak area around Donner Summit, is the backdrop of the popular “Wild” movie, based on Portland writer Cheryl Strayed’s memoir. Actors Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern were nominated for Academy Awards for “Wild.”

Watch a trailer of the film here:

Two men attempt first-ever winter crossing of the Pacific Crest Trail

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Two men are attempting to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail in the winter which would be a first for the 2,650 mile trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada. The Pacific Crest Trail runs through part of Nevada County in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.

According to their hiking itinerary, this week they would be traversing the stretch between Bridgeport and Mammoth. Below is an excerpt of their journey courtesy of Jack “Found” Haskel with the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

“Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter are walking the PCT this winter. As you read this they are nearing Lake Tahoe, making their way towards Mexico. They’ve walked so far that the metal on their snowshoes is wearing thin. Soon, they’ll switch to skis.

“I visited with them at an all-you-can eat buffet recently. From frostbite and drenching rain to friendships and stunning and quiet landscapes, their journey is remarkable. And surely, only something that can be reasonably attempted by people as skilled, knowledgeable and experienced as these two. Follow along on their websites shawnforry.com and justinlichter.com.

Here is some of the interview:

As far as you know, has someone done a winter PCT thru-hike before? Do you know about any other long winter trips on the PCT?

Justin: As far as I know nobody has done a winter PCT thru-hike before. Barney Mann mentioned one previous attempt in the ’80s that didn’t turn out well.

Shawn: Short sections of the PCT are hike-able year-round along the PCT. To my knowledge there have been only a few larger sections of the PCT attempted in the winter, namely along the John Muir Trail corridor in the High Sierra and other shorter ski tours through the Cascades. I know of only one other thru-attempt that took place in the 80’s by a husband and wife. My understanding is their attempting ended tragically around the Wrightwood area on their northbound attempt. I think this highlights the seriousness of what we are attempting and the skill that is required in order to even consider an attempt. The margin of error is incredibly small in winter conditions above and beyond the effort is takes to successfully complete a summertime hike of the PCT.

What’s been the biggest surprise?

Justin: I think the biggest surprise has been the weather. I expected a few more sunny days in between storms but they have been pretty much stacked up back to back the entire trip. Another surprise that has been terrific has been the outpouring, support and help from the trail community.

Shawn: Honestly the fact that we are still on trail is a bit of a surprise! I jokingly gave ourselves a 17% chance of success at the beginning of the trip. Without resources to pull from the experiences of others, we have been heading chiefly into the unknown, despite months of planning and years of prior experience. The reality of attempting something for the first time necessitates a lot of flexibility, creative problem-solving along with a bit of determination and stubbornness.

“All joking aside, the thing I am most impressed and surprised by with the trip thus far is the support and encouragement from the trail community. Hands down it has been a highlight. Likely being the only ones on trail this time of year, a lot of focus and attention has been drawn to the trip and so many hikers along the corridor of the trail have come out of the wood work to help in anyway they can. Even just getting an encouraging email has been a game changer given the fact that we have seen literally no one else on the trail. It makes me proud to be a part of the trail community as a whole and you can really feel come interconnected and dedicated we all are over the experience of wilderness.

“The other surprise that comes to mind is how frequent and varied our foot issues have been throughout the entire trip. There have been very few miles without pain or ailment ranging from blisters, trench foot, athlete’s foot and even frostbite. The constant cold and wet had pushed our previous experience in similar conditions to new limits. Once we transition to skiing, I fear a whole new set of foot pains will surely develop.”

Watch a video interview of Shawn Forry and Justin Licther, here:

See all 19 photos and read the entire entry at PCTA.org/blog.

(Source: Jack “Found” Haskel, Pacific Crest Trail Association; Photos: Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter)