Good turnout for "Hit the Trail" community bike ride despite
hopping on their bikes for a jaunt through the City's bike trail system. The call
to action was a part of "Hit the Trail," a community bike ride and rally in Bridgeport
Park aimed at ramping up excitement
for the upcoming Amgen Tour of California.
A light rain was already falling when residents on bicycles
took off from three different trailheads across the SCV; Valencia
High School, Soledad
at Camp Plenty,
and Placerita Jr. High.
After a ride through the back-set trails, the bike riders
emerged at Bridgeport Park
where they were greeted by a free Lion's Club barbecue, vender booths and
bicycle oriented contests.
Professional bicycle rider and Amgen racer Tony Cruz was
also on hand, greeting the riders and talking about his experiences. Having
raced Amgen three times so far, Cruz has seen it take flight.
"From the inception of the race, it's been America's
premier race," he said. "It really rivals any race in Europe."
Despite the fact that the event has grown to draw millions
of fans from all over the globe, some people are only now learning about the
racing strategy. For example, even with big name riders like Lance Armstrong
and 2-timeTour of California
winner Levi Leipheimer, the race still centers on a team effort.
"The easiest way for me to describe it is that it's a lot
like NASCAR," Cruz said. "In NASCAR there are drivers who are trying to
conserve fuel by drafting. It's really the same thing when you're out there on
a bike. When you're in the peloton, you're in the draft, so you're conserving
your energy, you're saving the output probably by 30% on the legs. And then when you're ready to win, you just
pull ahead and go for it."
The Tour of California doesn't just bring competition
however, it also brings a spirit of healthy living and active lifestyles.
"It just motivates people to get out and ride. Maybe they
park 10 or 15 miles away and ride into an event," said Cruz.
The Amgen Tour of California
will bring the top professional cyclists through Santa Clarita on February 21st.
This year, our city hosts the stage 7 start.