The party starts at the top, too. Lake Tahoe is hosting a 10-day celebration as a countdown before the largest cycling event in North America, the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, with concerts, family activities and bike-related events, May 5-14, in preparation for the Stage 1 start and finish of the race on May 15, and the Stage 2 Start on May 16.
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Lake Tahoe Basin residents and cycling enthusiasts are pumped to make “Tahoe’s 10-Day Countdown” to the tour special and like no other event ,with Cinco de Mayo parties, the Opening Gala and Team Introduction, Lake Tahoe Legends Ride, Spirit Bike Parade, wine dinners, showroom entertainment, live music and more.
The tour’s local organizing committee invites visitors and residents to grab their bike helmets and hold on as the countdown to the tour begins.
The Hard Rock Café at Harveys Lake Tahoe is hosting the official Amgen Tour of California kick-off party, Friday, May 5, with a percentage of the evening’s proceeds donated to Amgen’s title sponsor, Breakaway from Cancer, an initiative that helps empower people affected by cancer.
Observing the May 5, kickoff, what better way to celebrate than going to as many Cinco de Mayo parties as possible? The Blue Agave, Tahoe Biltmore Lodge and Casino and the Crystal Bay Club Casino are all hosting festive parties to commemorate the launch of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California.
Sammy Hagar and the Wabos will be playing at Harrah’s South Shore Room on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7, while the historic Bar of America in Truckee will host DJ Zeb Early.
Tahoe’s nightclubs will be stocked and ready for weekend partiers. Opal, Vex and Crystal Bay Club, along with the Village at Squaw Valley, will keep the beats bumping May 6-7 and 13-14.
At South Shore casinos throughout the week, visitors and locals can view “One Voice” Starring Bethany Owen at the Horizon, The Improv at Harveys with host and emcee Howie Nave, and the infamous “Party with Arty” at Harrah’s South Lake Tahoe. Details: TahoeAmgenTourofCalifornia.com.
During the 10-day countdown, live music can be found at various venues around the lake, including: Cabo Wabo Cantina, Mc P’s Pub, Crystal Bay Club Casino and Bar of America. Details: TahoeAmgenTourofCalifornia.com.
The Biking for a Better World Winemaker Dinner is Wednesday, May 11, at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn. Dinner will support an organization that brings accessibility to communities in need around the world. Details: plumpjacksquawvalleyinn.com.
The Slow Rollers Bicycle Club presents the Spirit Bike Parade where all types of bikes and costumes are encouraged – almost mandatory. Bikes will be rolling from the “Y” (the intersection of Highway 89 and Highway 50) across town to the Stage 1 start at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa, on May 12. Details: slowrollers.net/.
In North Lake Tahoe, the Squaw Valley Institute hosts “Soulcycler, Around the World Bike Tour” with local photographer/cycling enthusiast, Rick Gunn.
Barton Health 2011 Lecture Series features topics ranging from nutrition, preventing injuries, maximizing performance and more. A local professional trainer will present ‘Pedaling to Peak Performance,’ at Embassy Suites, May 12, 6 – 8 p.m.
The Opening Gala and Official Team Introduction is Friday, May 13 at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa. For a black tie evening attendees will get to rub elbows with the pros, indulge in a four-course meal, host bar and silent auction. For tickets and details: 2011 Race Opening Gala.
The Village at Squaw Valley will host a free outdoor cycling movie, “Breaking Away” (1979), directed by Peter Yates and starring Dennis Quaid. And at the Crystal Bay Club, Jackie Greene and Band will have you moving and grooving until the early morning hours.
The inaugural “Start at the Top – Lake Tahoe Legends Ride,” allows cycling enthusiasts to ride the Stage 1 first lap and compare their time to the pros, Saturday, May 14. Details: BiketheWest.com.
The North Lake Tahoe Bike Swap, the Tahoe City Street Dance: right downtown, right under the stars and the third annual Wellness Weekend at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe all take place on May 14.
Eric Burdon and the Animals will be playing at Harrah’s South Shore Room on the eve of the Stage 1 start, Saturday, May 14.
Throughout the first day of the race, various events will be taking place between the north and south shores of Lake Tahoe. For full details and a schedule of events: TahoeAmgenTourofCalifornia.com
Amgen Tour of California Overall Start, May 15
Stage 1 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California is Sunday, May 15. The peloton begins at its highest start elevation in six years, 6,300 feet above sea level in South Lake Tahoe. After a lap and a half around the Lake, Stage 1 finishes at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. Stage 2 starts at Squaw Valley USA on Monday, May 16.
As part of the Stage 1 start on May 15, a special program, Breakaway from Cancer, will honor a Lake Tahoe cancer survivor, patient, caregiver or advocate who has made a difference within their community or proved an inspiration.
In addition to leading the walk just prior to the Stage 1 finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, Lake Tahoe’s designee, a resident of the area, will receive special access to the tour, podium recognition and presentation ceremony involvement.
The Lifestyle Festival is May 15, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., at the Stage 1 finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe, and will feature a health and fitness expo, cancer awareness education, cycling gear, family activities, bike safety, food and entertainment.
The 2011 Amgen Tour of California will cover nearly 800 miles and visit 15 host cities for official stage starts and finishes, while other cities along the route also will have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite professional cycling. Stages for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California include:
Stage 1, Presented by Michelob Ultra: Sunday, May 15 – South Lake Tahoeto North Lake Tahoe-Northstar at Tahoe Resort
Stage 2, Presented by the California Travel and Tourism Commission: Monday, May 16 – North Lake Tahoe-Squaw Valley USA to Sacramento
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 17 – Auburn to Modesto
Stage 4, Presented by UnitedHealthcare: Wednesday, May 18 – Livermore to San Jose
Stage 5, Presented by Rabobank: Thursday, May 19 – Seaside to Paso Robles
Stage 6, Presented by Herbalife: Friday, May 20 – Solvang Individual Time Trial
Stage 7, Presented by Nissan: Saturday, May 21 – Claremont to Mt. Baldy
Stage 8, Presented by Amgen: Sunday, May 22 – Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks
For best viewing points, where to catch the riders up close, a complete list of events and lodging accommodations go to TahoeAmgenTourofCalifornia.com or follow on Twitter and Facebook.
For details about the tour visit amgentourofcalifornia.com.
The largest cycling event in America, the 2011 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race, presented by AEG, that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course from May 15-22.
For information about lodging, recreation and family packages at Lake Tahoe South Shore, call the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, 1-800-AT-TAHOE (1-800-288-2463) or log onto TahoeSouth.com.
For lodging reservations, recreation and event details, call North Lake Tahoe at 1-877-949-3296 or visit GoTahoeNorth.com. Visitor information centers are located at 380 North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City and 969 Tahoe Boulevard in Incline Village.