After a long, hard winter here in Big Bear Lake, California... and yes, this particular winter was long and hard for all of us spoiled "Big Bearians"... spring is finally just about here. We're currently in a "between seasons mode". We're leaving winter, but not quite into full-blown springtime as yet.
That doesn't mean that it's not time to start planning! There is so much to do here during my favorite season: Spring! I think it's the most beautiful time of year here in the San Bernardino mountains, and I want to give you a few quick hints on upcoming events... rather special ones... so you can make your plans and join us up here!
If you've been in Big Bear at all during the last ten years, you'll be aware that cycling... both mountain biking and on-road cycling... are now very popular activities in Big Bear. What used to be a "winter only" resort has really changed. Spring, Summer, and Fall are all now very exciting up here in God's Country... and cycling is a huge part of that.
AMGEN Tour of California: The Big Bear Climb!
One of the very special things happening here in Big Bear this year will be the AMGEN Tour of California race. The Tour of California is patterned after the Tour de France, and is the premiere team cycling event in the entire USA. It covers about 800 miles in just under a week of racing, through some of the most beautiful and challenging terrain in California.
This year, the highpoint of the race... Stage 6... will be the "Climb to Big Bear". Originally routed to begin in Pasadena and enter the San Gabriel Mountains via Angeles Crest Highway, the Tour organizers had to regroup and re-route when this last winter's storms closed much of the intended route.
As currently scheduled, the route now begins in Palmdale, California, and enters the San Gabriels from the North side, bypassing the closed highway sections. From there it follows the crest of the San Gabriels east, descending through Wrightwood. After crossing the 15 freeway, the route ascends the San Bernardino range and passes through Lake Silverwood, Crestline, then through Sky Forest and Running Springs, and then up again into our area, where the finish of this stage of the race will take place in the parking lot of the Snow Summit Ski Resort.
Now, that is on serious bike ride! Over 135 miles and over 12,000 feet in vertical climbing after all is said and done. That's enough to test anyone's endurance, but the professional cyclers who will be riding, including Levi Leipheimer and the amazing Lance Armstrong, will give it everything they've got as they race the clock... and each other...to the finish line.
Tour de Big Bear: We Can All Get In The Act!
Concurrently with the professional Tour of California race, our little town is also hosting a 2 day event called whimsically, the "Tour de Big Bear". This is another cycling event that is designed to afford normal folks like you and I... those who don't want to ride 135 miles and climb 12,000 feet vertically in one day... a chance to view the professional Tour and take part in some relaxing, amateur... and totally gorgeous... bike rides of our own.