TRUCKEE/TAHOE - In mid-May, thousands will be pouring into Truckee/Tahoe region to view the start of the largest bike race in the nation, the Amgen Tour of California. Determined to be prepared, Truckee officials have announced the creation of a committee tasked to plan events leading up to the international spectacle.
The Truckee Amgen Tour of California Planning Committee, to be spearheaded by the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, town of Truckee and Truckee Downtown Merchants Association, meets Feb. 10. It is part of a united effort from communities around the basin to coordinate spectator-drawing events.
Lynn Saunders, the chamber's president, said Truckee's involvement in the eight-day race, from May 15-22, will have significant impacts financially for the town, and it will highlight Truckee as an outdoor destination to the race's international audiences.
"It does present a huge opportunity for us, for the region at large and for Truckee, so we are trying to rally the troops ..." Saunders said.
The committee will brainstorm ideas, divide tasks and get the entire community engaged. Saunders said she hopes to involve some the town's larger entities, such as Tahoe Forest Health System and Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, with events aimed for May 5-14, in the 10 days leading up to the race.
"We want to stage and showcase Truckee as best we can," Saunders said.
The sponsoring organizations - North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority in South Lake Tahoe - have organized the race and hope the events across the lake will ensure the region is spotlighted to the greatest extent possible, Saunders said.
Lake Tahoe and Truckee will host Stage One on May 15 and Stage Two on May 16. In all, the Amgen Tour of California covers 800 miles across the state.
The route is planned to start Stage One in South Tahoe as it loops around the lake passing Emerald Bay twice with a finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort. Stage Two begins at Squaw Valley USA, travels along Highway 89, turning left on Donner Pass Road, traveling along Donner Lake, up Highway 40 over Donner Summit and finishing in Sacramento.
Old Highway 40 and Donner Pass Road, Saunders said, will be two of the prime locations hoped to highlight the town.
An official route map is expected to be released in February.
The North Tahoe Business Association is also making preparations for events to represent the North Tahoe communities.
Cheri Sprenger, NTBA executive director, said event promotion of the race will be coordinated through NTBA's promotions committee and through a to-be-created Amgen Tour of California subcommittee the third week of February.
"At the moment we've really just been out doing outreach with the local businesses," Sprenger said. "We'll be working with the resort association as well."
Sprenger said she estimates business and community organizations will create a 4- to 5-day event list to be inserted within the lakewide 10-day span of festivities. Like Saunders, Sprenger said she sees the race as a great way to highlight the region and its businesses.
For information on the North Tahoe subcommittee, contact NTBA at 530-546-9000 or visit, northtahoebusiness
Tahoe City planning
Tahoe City already has scheduled events for the tour, including a kick-off Cinco de Mayo party at the Blue Agave restaurant.
Justin Broglio, executive director of the Tahoe City Downtown Association, said his working closely with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association to kick off a series of events, some planned and others in the works.
"Tahoe City is ready for the Amgen (Tour of California) ... we've been waiting for an event like this to come to Tahoe City," Broglio said.
TCDA's special events and promotions committee is taking the lead for event planning, Broglio said, and is planning a pre race kick-off on May 14 with amenities such as live music in Heritage Plaza and special deals.
Broglio added that restaurants, shops and the bike venues are designing special promotions for the event, with bike shops to possibly offer clinics for spectators and cycling enthusiasts.
"The Pedal There program, that promotes cycling year-round, is going be to doing a cruiser ride, and other rides are going to be organized for cyclists in the community as well," Broglio said.
Information about Tahoe City's tour planning can be found at visittahoecity.org.