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Our View: Take your foot off the gas, then stick around on Tuesday

Our View
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Halfway through Auburn Bike Month, have you dusted off your two-wheeler and taken a spin around the block? Pumped up the tires? Lubricated the gears? Adjusted the seat? You might want to strongly consider doing all those things — preferably in reverse order — so you can pedal on down this Tuesday to the greatest show on wheels, well, since Friday’s season-opening Cruise Nite in Downtown Auburn. The Amgen Tour of California comes to town Tuesday. While the sketchy Sierra weather will play tricks with cyclists today and Monday, and could linger into race day here, it won’t stop thousands of people from coming to Auburn. Most of the 10,000 to 20,000 people expected will be from out of the area and driving in. When they get here, they will find parking in short supply. Many visitors probably will be parking at the Gold Country Fairgrounds or in neighborhoods blocks from Central Square and walking to the race route. If you work in the Downtown or Old Town areas, you already know your normal parking spots likely won’t be available after 8 a.m. or so. Access on many streets will be closed or restricted throughout the day. In the spirit of Bike Month, consider riding your bike to work or to the race on Tuesday. Carpool with a friend or co-worker. Get dropped off by a friend or family member. If the theme doesn’t motivate you, the lack of available parking should. Plenty to see, enjoy Plan to arrive early and stay late for Tuesday’s festivities. And not just 30 minutes before the gun goes off at 10:15 a.m., and a few minutes after the last of the peloton leaves town. The race Lifestyle Festival runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. near Central Square with food, cycling booths, beer and breakfast. The Breakaway from Cancer foot parade starts at 8:15 a.m., and all are invited to walk as a testimony to the power of cancer research, treatment and survival. Take some time to stroll High and East Placer streets and view the colorful vans, cars and trailers of the 18 teams. Like a rolling pit crew, these technicians follow their riders throughout the eight-day, 764-mile race, providing maintenance and emergency repairs and bike replacements. Once cyclists complete their two-plus laps of Old Town and Downtown and the entourage of team vehicles winds its way toward Folsom, stick around to watch the race on the 252-square-foot (yes, feet not inches) television near the Old State Theater. And throughout the day, visit all of the Old Town and Downtown businesses that have worked hard to beautify the streets and storefronts in welcoming the Tour back to Auburn. There’s no better time to Think Auburn First. Where credit’s due Bringing the Tour of California to Auburn shows, yet again, that volunteerism is alive and well in Auburn. More than 30 key community volunteers of Bike Auburn, led by Auburn Police Capt. John Ruffcorn, have put together a well-stitched tactical and marketing plan to not only host hundreds of cyclists, race officials and media members, but showcase the city to an international TV and Internet audience in the process. “Auburn style” has been the mantra in every planning step and fundraising conversation. The food and wine served at today’s gala at Winchester Country Club is from Placer County. The box lunches that crews and Tour officials will take on the road Tuesday will be made with local hands. As a result, Bike Auburn has raised nearly $120,000 in cash and in-kind support, probably enough to pay the bills. But there’s always room for more donors. You can still become a Friend of Bike Auburn and continue the momentum of Auburn’s endurance movement. Log on to BikeAuburn.com or just cut a check to BikeAuburn c/o Auburn Chamber of Commerce, 601 Lincoln Way, Auburn 95603. Enjoy the show. ----------------- What: Amgen Tour of California Stage 3 start When: Race starts at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, May 17 Where: Downtown Auburn