Monday May 16 2011
Are you ready for the Tour?
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
Arriving early, having a plan important on race day, captain says
Do you have a plan for race day? Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California is set to take Auburn by storm at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday in Central Square, and Bike Auburn members are asking spectators and residents to make a plan for getting into town and celebrating the event. Several local residents are also looking forward to the cyclists lapping around the city. Capt. John Ruffcorn, chairman of the Bike Auburn committee, said Monday there are several ways for drivers to get to the city, even with a number of roads scheduled for closures. “Probably the best way to get into the city if you are coming from the Sacramento region is to get off at Indian Hill Road and park at the Gold Country Fairgrounds,” Ruffcorn said. For people coming from Grass Valley Highway or the Colfax area, Ruffcorn said drivers can take Lincoln Way to High Street to get to the fairgrounds to park, but getting to the city early is a good idea, because congestion could start around 8 a.m. “A lot is going to depend on the congestion,” he said. “So, we will not be (planning on) shutting down the streets until 10 a.m. on the (race) route; however, we have to take into consideration how many cars we have on the route. So, that time we have to shut down the route could depend on the number of cars and congestion in the city.” Ruffcorn said the ideal place to park is the Gold Country Fairgrounds, because other spots may not be available due to closures and the number of people parking. The fare to park is $5 and goes to Bike Auburn. “There are other places to park within the city, but keep in mind there are going to be numerous streets that are not going to be available for parking at all starting (Monday), basically (in the) evening,” he said. “To make it easy, to create a more attractive environment, and for less stress on any individuals coming into the city, it’s just easier to park at the fairgrounds. If you want to walk a little farther, Recreation Park and Railhead Park, they have parking also.” There is no fee to park at either park. There are several things attendees should do on race day, Ruffcorn said. “Enjoy the race, cheer on the riders, grab a cowbell, which is very popular in the cycling world,” he said. “Don’t run out and interfere with the riders. We have a large volunteer staff in place to maintain the route safety. But just be a good spectator.” Bike Auburn is asking for cooperation on race day. “(Have) a little patience,” he said. “Have some alternative routes in mind to get to where you need to be. Don’t wait until the last minute. Give yourself ample time to be where you want to be.” Spectators should also bring several items with them that day. “(Bring) an umbrella possibly, or some kind of hat in case the sun does come out,” Ruffcorn said. “(Don’t bring) a lawn chair, but maybe a fold-up chair. A radio (is a good thing to bring) so they can be listening to KAHI radio for the most updated information.” For those not paying attention to the time, volunteers will be helping make crowds aware of when cyclists are coming by, Ruffcorn said. “We have a contingency of volunteers out there who will pretty much be manning every driveway and street along the course,” he said. “They will be in bright green shirts that are clearly marked ‘volunteer.’ Please pay attention to them.” Auburn resident Anna Poganski said she is not only attending the race, but also volunteering for it. “I watched Amgen last year, and I was so excited by the Tour de France and the whole excitement about having a race in Auburn,” Poganski said. “It’s something I wanted to be a part of. It’s cultural, diverse. It’s one of those things everyone can kind of connect with.” Colfax resident Blue Reid said although the first two stages of the race were affected by weather, she doesn’t think potential rain would hold cyclists back. “I do not think they will stop for rain,” Reid said. “They cannot stop for rain. Endurance people, we do our sports in the rain.” Dylan Fenrich, 7, is attending the race with his class from Skyridge Elementary and said Monday he was excited about seeing the cyclists. Al Lauer, owner of Cherry Records on High Street, said he plans on traveling to the city by foot Tuesday morning. “I’m walking from Skyridge,” Lauer said. “If I got up here really early I could drive to my shop … but that is a little too early for me.” Lauer said he isn’t sure yet where he is going to watch the race from, but he is happy to have the Tour coming through the city. “I’m glad Auburn gets this exposure and gets to have something of this magnitude,” he said. Newcastle resident Jacki Gallagher said she is hoping to watch the race from Auburn Folsom Road. “I just admire all the stamina, and endurance, and time and effort they have put into this,” Gallagher said. “These guys are tremendous athletes, and I think it’d be fun to watch them go by.” Reach Bridget Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org