San Diego Crowds Help Make Cycling History

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Great job San Diego!  Our outpouring of support for the Tour of California, which was seen around the world, made this the number one stage race for attendance in U.S. Pro Cycling history. The massive crowds that lined the entire 97 mile route from Rancho Bernardo over Palomar Mountain to the Finish Line in Escondido made up for the lack of crowds in Northern California, which was due to heavy rains during the first days of the nine-day race, and brought the estimated race attendance total to 2 million spectators.

Whenever I watched the Tour de France, I always got a good chuckle from crazy costumes some spectators wore as they ran alongside of the racing cyclists. (I’d also be petrified that one of the loonies would knock over the cyclists.) It turns out San Diego has its fair share of loonies looking to be seen on TV around the world.  The costumes ranged from sumo wrestlers to birthday suits but the one that stood out most for me was the guy wearing four-foot tall antlers on his head. He did a pretty good job sprinting alongside the cyclists as they reached the highest peak ever for the Tour of California. It was very cool to see a few inches of snow along the side of the road on Palomar despite temperatures being in the low 70′s at the bottom of the mountain.

Speaking of Palomar, in a post last week, I mentioned Lance Armstrong compared the climb of Palomar to the venerable Mont Ventoux stage of the Tour de France. Tonight, the editor-in-chief of Bicycling Magazine who wrote Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France with Floyd Landis, spoke with Jim Lasovic from NBC 7/39, and noted that Landis calls Palomar Mountain the best mountain for cycling in the world. (So, there you have it, two of the cycling world’s best riders praising our own Palomar Mountain.)

Not only is Palomar Mountain one of the best mountains for cycling in the world, but Bicycling Magazine rates San Diego as the #1 City for Cycling.

San Diego received great worldwide publicity from today’s final stage of the Tour of California. The TV coverage on Versus provided an overhead view of San Diego’s Wild Animal Park and continually made remarks about the big crowds that stayed well after the race had finished. Even one of the Versus analysts noted he is heading to the San Diego Zoo tomorrow.

I am so glad San Diegans made this event a huge success for our community. Let’s hope this  encourages the Amgen Tour of California officials to include San Diego once again in next year’s race!

(By the way, for those who saw the race on TV, if you were curious to know why the guy wearing the antlers had a Montana jersey, it was to cheer on the eventual Tour of California Winner, Levi Leipheimer, who is from Montana.)

If you have photos from today’s stage you want to share with others, let me know using the comments below and I’ll add them to this post!

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One Response to “San Diego Crowds Help Make Cycling History”

  1. The Best Places in San Diego says:

    Lance Armstrong tweeted thanks to the Navy SEALS and the Native American Community for their support in today’s race: http://twitter.com/lancearmstrong

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