Media Life: Auburn had a chance for much more than a glance of Lance

San Francisco music legend Sal Valentino added to Cool event; Skeet Reese cover curse lifted
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Retired pro triathlete Brad Kearns is joking that he’ll be selling information on his super-secret viewing spot for Sunday’s Amgen Tour of California event on the streets of Auburn and beyond. And it’s going to be an educated guessing game on where the best locations are. Do you go with an uphill climb like the one on the high side of Downtown Auburn’s Lincoln Way or the crawl on the El Dorado County side of Highway 49 out of the canyon? Do you opt for the breathtaking sight of the peloton zipping across the Foresthill Bridge or plant a chair to watch racers fly past those eye-grabbing giant Amazon statues created by Dr. Kenneth Fox on Auburn Ravine Road? Another option is Old Town or Downtown, where giant TV screens and some rabid fan fever await. But Kearns isn’t joking when he recalls the time not so long ago when Amgen Tour superstar Lance Armstrong might just have taken up residence in the Auburn area – and become a common site on local roads. Five years ago, Armstrong was looking for a training base in preparation for what would be his seventh Tour de France win. Former pro road biker Trent Klasna and Kearns did some scouting in the foothills area when the famed cyclist showed interest. Events in Armstrong’s life soon threw the possibility of Auburn out of the picture though. He retired after the tour win and was soon living in Los Angeles. As Kearns puts it, Auburn lost out to L.A. and Sheryl Crow. COOL ON THE MAP Cool is taking a far-from-lukewarm approach to the Amgen Tour’s ride along Highway 49 through its town center. Perhaps the most amazing part of what the distinctly-monikered community is calling its “A Cool View of the Amgen” on Sunday – not counting a 65-foot-long barbecue grill trailer trucked in by Johnsonville Sausage Company – is the musical lineup it’s assembled to perform free concerts on two sound stages. If you dig deep into the rock roots of San Francisco psychedelia, you pull up the name of a band called The Beau Brummells. Sal Valentino was the leader of the band, a vocalist who provided the distinctive, melancholy air to national hits “Just A Little” and “Laugh, Laugh.” Valentino, who now makes his home in Sacramento, has just been added to the Cool musical lineup that already includes some of his old bandmates from Stoneground – another notable Bay Area group from the Classic Rock era. The level of musicianship is going to be off the chart, with an assemblage that goes by the title The Karaoke Killers All Star Band filled out with members of Pablo Cruise, Rod Stewart’s band and America. CURSE LIFTED It didn’t take long for Auburn’s champion pro angler Skeet Reese to shed a possible hex after appearing on the cover of a national publication. In the tradition of the Sports Illustrated curse – where athletes who appear on the cover go into a downward spiral – Reese appeared on the March 14 cover of Parade magazine and then went out that same Sunday and lost a win by an ounce in the California Delta Elite event. Last Sunday though, Reese was back in the winner’s circle for the second time in five events this season, winning the Synergy Southern Challenge in Alabama and adding to a large lead in his quest for a second Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at (530) 852-0232 or