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Amgen Tour Of California – Tahoe South Course Highlights

Amgen Tour of California Men's Stage 2 revised route Rancho Cordova to South Lake Tahoe

The 2019 Amgen Tour of California Stage 2 course will be one for the record books. It's set to be the longest and biggest vertical climb in its history. To commemorate this, we thought why not highlight a few exciting things both past & present that racers will zip by on their way to the finish line at the California Lodge at Heavenly Mountain Resort.

Luther Pass – Mark Twain Connection

Amgen Tour of California Men's Race on Luther Pass near Lake Tahoe

Amgen Tour of California Men's Race on Luther Pass near Lake Tahoe | Photo: Brian Williams

As the racers come off Carson Pass, they’ll make a lift out of Hope Valley and begin their ascent to Luther Pass. Named after Ira M. Luther, he was one of the “Irish Brigade” that Mark Twain described in his classic ode to Tahoe “Roughing It.” In the summer, it’s also home to amazing hiking and mountain biking on the Tahoe Rim Trail via the Big Meadow Trailhead.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – The ULTIMATE Challenge In Mountain Biking

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Lake Tahoe

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Lake Tahoe | Photo: @travisfinn

Unbeknownst to the road cyclists, to the right of them will be the world-famous mountain bike trail Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. This beast is not for the faint of heart. The name tells you what kind of ride you’re in for. Descending for about five miles from the Carson Range to the outskirts of South Lake Tahoe, parts of this trail are extremely rocky and include drops that are two- to three-feet in height.

Ski Run Boulevard – One Of Three Roads In The World

Amgen Tour of California Bike Race on Ski Run Blvd Lake Tahoe

Amgen Tour of California Bike Race on Ski Run Blvd Lake Tahoe | Photo: Merick Rickman

After making it into the heart of South Lake Tahoe, the bicyclists will hook a right onto Ski Run Boulevard. On the surface, you'd guess this was a “normal” road… but you’d be wrong! It’s in fact one of only three boulevards in the world that give you access to both mountains and a huge body of water across such a short distance.

The “Tram” – A Historical Piece Of Heavenly’s History

Heavenly Tram Lake Tahoe

Heavenly Tram Lake Tahoe | Photo: @robbie.graves

Climbing up the steep boulevard, the competitors will make a left onto Needle Peak and then a right onto Wildwood Avenue, finally finishing off at the California Lodge at Heavenly Mountain Resort. Just above them will be the tram sitting quietly while overseeing the race. For most of us, the Gondola has been the gateway to summer views & activities since it opened in 2000. It may come as a surprise to many of you that Heavenly Mountain Resort has always had a way to sightsee since the 1960s. In fact, the twenty-five-person aerial tram next to the California Lodge was the original year-round sightseeing lift.

While the professionals are forced to pedal by all these cool attractions, it doesn’t mean you have to. Instead, why not extend your trip & explore all these interesting places AND finish off strong Monday, May 13th by watching these athletes’ race through town. If that isn’t a winning combination, we don’t what is!

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Alex Silgalis

Alex founded localfreshies.com® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

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