Sunday, May 17, 2015
Tour of California's Other Tour
What a surreal bicycling experience -- Sunday morning's bike route in downtown Los Angeles is closed to cars and I'm biking with a couple hundred bicyclists like seven-foot-tall hoops star Bill Walton, the legendary Eddy Merckx, American Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz.
Anschutz created an entertainment wing of his vast holdings (AEG), which includes the Amgen Tour of California -- the premier professional bicycle race in North America,
The eight-stage race ended in Pasadena today, with a Chairmen's Ride kicking off the day's festivities with a fun ride that followed the actual 15-mile stage course from LA Live in downtown Los Angeles to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. It was big-time bike racing. Six or seven of the 18 teams will head to the Tour de France.
The best part was chatting with Bill Walton, the 62-year-old former UCLA basketball superstar who lives in San Diego and loves biking.
He was chatting it up with anyone pedaling a bike.
"I'm Bill," he said. "How are you?"
What a blast to pedal through the finish line.
I knew Bill from Interbike last year and even got to catch up with him at the PAC 12 basketball tournament in March..
The final stage was a festive day at the Rose Bowl parking lot, where thousands of bicyclists converged to check out the bike festival that had more juice and energy than any other of the previous race-day festivals.
In the end Slovakia's Peter Sagan won the Tour by a mere three seconds. Here's a pic of your winner.