Festival gears Auburn up for Amgen

Family fun ride, raffles among attractions
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Mehrey Vaghti and her family can already feel the pure energy of the Amgen Tour of California. “We are all planning to take school and work off to see Amgen,” Vaghti said. “Tom took the kids to the (criterium race) last weekend and they were pretty into it.” To gear up for the Stage 3 start in Auburn, Vaghti and her husband Thomas Toy, along with their children Keenan and Mia, are attending the Gold Country Century and Family Festival Saturday. “We all love to ride bikes as a family,” Vaghti said. “Keenan has been riding on his own since he was 4, so he is a pretty good bike rider. Mia just got big enough to go on the tow-behind with me. I believe Tom is doing the half-metric or metric. It will be a new adventure for me. I usually let him do the tow-behind.” The Auburn Police Department will be keeping the whole family safe during the three-mile fun ride with rolling street closures. Vaghti said that is one incentive for her to take her family on the ride. “It’s also a good opportunity to ride in the streets without automotives in the way,” Vaghti said. “As a parent that can be kind of stressful.” Master’s criterium racer and Level 2 USA Cycling Coach Michael O’Rourke will provide coaching for kids throughout the ride. O’Rourke, who recently won the Auburn Criterium Race in the Master’s Division, will help kids reach the finish to earn a gold medal, sponsored by Maki Heating and Air. The cycling party in the park will also feature vendor booths, live music by the Republicrats and lunch to benefit the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund. REI of Roseville will have a bike technician doing bike safety checks before the three-mile family fun race, as well as helping to fix any mechanical programs along the way. “REI is starting to really emphasize family and individuals getting out and recreating,” said Erin Harrington, REI Outreach Specialist. “Along with the century ride there is this really great family component to (the festival) too. Parents and kids can participate.” Water bottles and information about classes through REI will also be available at their booth. Rides taking off from Recreation Park in Auburn include the 68-mile metric, half metric, 3-mile family fun ride, kids tricycle race and local celebrity large tricycle race. “We have a ride for everybody from ages 2-100,” said Betty Bennett, Festival Director. “We really want to encourage the entire family to ride. I’d love to see a family of five generations there.” A memorial and support promenade, lined with ballons in memory of cancer survivors and those who have lost the battle to cancer, will also be on display at Recreation Park. The project was spearheaded by the cub scouts of Den Eight, Pack Six from Meadow Vista. Proceeds will also benefit the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund. Bennett explained that with Breakaway from Cancer’s involvement in the Tour of California and Amgen being a pharmecutiacl company that manufactures cancer drugs, it is important for Auburn to rally around the cause. All proceeds to the endowment fund will stay local to aid the fight against cancer. Vendors on-sight will include REI, local health clubs and the official Bike Auburn booth, where cycling enthusiasts can buy Amgen jerseys and gear. Attendees can also purchase raffle tickets to be in the running for two Felt cruisers, a Trek youth mountain bike, a youth Giro bike helmet, Rabobank jerseys, bibs and more. The Mavic Van will be at Recreation Park from 4-9 p.m. Friday. Mavic techinicains will help 35 century riders swap out their wheels to demo Mavic wheels race day. If riders decide to purchase them, they will get a set of Mavic tires for free. Registration for the metric and half metric rides is available online at or at Auburn Recreation District Park from 4-9 p.m. today, or on race day beginning at 6 a.m. Registration for the three-mile family fun ride can be completed only at the Auburn Recreation District Park during registration times. Bennett said she hopes the whole family comes out to focus on getting active and having fun. “Come feel the pure energy and intensity that goes with the Amgen Stage 3 start in Auburn,” Bennett said. “To me this is the first big event to kick off the start.” Reach Sara Seyydin at ______________________________________________________ What: Gold Country Century and Family Festival When: Saturday, May 14 Where: Auburn Recreation Park, 123 Recreation Drive, Auburn Event Details: Join the Sierra Foothills Cycling Club for a century ride that follows the course pro cyclists will take to start Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California. Rides start at 7 a.m. The family festival also includes a 3-mile fun ride, tricycle race for kids, celebrity tricycle race, vendor booths, live music and lunch to benefit the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund. Visit: