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Another View: Bikes, trikes and the best cyclists on earth, oh my!

Another View
By: Tony Hazarian, Auburn Journal publisher
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How are you planning to mark the Tour of California’s historic visit to Auburn on May 17? Years from now, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be poring over photos and videos — probably with some type of handheld, holographic 3-D device — of the day Auburn hosted the greatest professional cyclists in the world. Whether you’re an avid cyclist, weekend athlete or just someone wondering what all the fuss is about this “Amgen thing,” there’s no denying the Tour of California’s Stage 3 start in Auburn is one of the largest events of the year, right up there with the Auburn Home Shows and Gold Country Fair. Maybe the largest one-day event in our history, if estimated crowds of 20,000 to 25,000 pan out. Don’t let the fact that May 17 is a Tuesday, a school day and work day for most of us, discourage you. Get up early and enjoy the festivities in Downtown’s Central Square, which will feature breakfast, booths and a lifestyle festival, followed by a parade of cancer survivors and supporters on a portion of the race route. Cyclists will push off at 10:15 a.m. that day in a neutral start, completing nearly three full laps through Downtown and Old Town before kicking into gear for a fast and furious ride out of Auburn on Auburn-Folsom Road. Unlike last year’s race pass-through, in which the lead pack of cyclists was a full four minutes ahead of the peloton, Auburn spectators will be blessed to see the entire cluster of riders multiple times. If you happen to secure a coveted spot near the Clock Tower and Central Square, you’ll see a parade of cycling color five times. If May 17 still seems too far off, get your heart pounding this Sunday in Downtown Auburn. The Sutter Auburn Faith Criterium features a loop of the Tour course in 13 separate lap races, beginning with the juniors at 7:45 a.m. and the professionals throughout the early afternoon. Momentum builds on Mother’s Day weekend with Bike Fest, presented by the County Transportation Planning Agency on Saturday, May 2, at E.V. Cain Middle School. Held from 10 a.m. to noon, this event focuses on bicycle safety for kids and adults, including helmet fitting and bike maintenance. Cycling burns its brand on Auburn with the Gold Country Century Ride & Family Festival on Saturday, May 14, at Auburn Recreation Park. If you enjoy clicking in your cleats, the Sierra Foothills Cycling Club has set up 31-mile and 62-mile courses to work up a sweat, and rumors are that there will be a fire-breathing bike along the three-mile family fun ride. Yours truly will be joining other local “dignitaries” in adult large-tricycle races at 1:15 p.m. at the park. Come out and cheer, or jeer, us on! The fun runs from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a barbecue, live music, prize drawings and more, including the sale of blue balloons by Cub Scouts Den 8 to support the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund. Event proceeds benefit the ACCEF, and with foundation founder Virgil Traynor recovering from recent heart surgery, could there be a better way to salute his and the organization’s great work? Click on GoldCountryCentury.com for information and ride registration. Finally, the Vino Velo benefit gala on Sunday, May 15, is the place to rub elbows with some of America’s cycling legends. Winchester Country Club will set the scene for an afternoon of stories, spun by national and Olympic cyclists “Fast Freddie” Rodriguez, Mike McCarthy, Ken Carpenter and four-time national champion Dylan Casey. Foothill vintners will be on hand to pour their best wines, and local restaurants will serve up a bevy of dishes featuring PlacerGrown meats, produce and products. Jazz music will flow throughout the afternoon, and a vintage bike exhibit will sit along some of cycling’s ultra-modern technology. Tickets for this memorable event are $65, and can be purchased online at BikeAuburn.com or PlacerWine.com. And memories are what the next few weeks are really about. Don’t let this chapter of modern Auburn history pass without being a part of it. ------------------- Gold Country Century Ride & Family Festival Saturday, May 14, Auburn Recreation Park GoldCountryCentury.com Vino Velo benefit gala Sunday, May 15, Winchester Country Club BikeAuburn.com