It was a bright and sunny morning today, May 18, in Folsom as the start of Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California took place on the Johnny Cash Trail.
Folsom’s Rodeo Park was covered in excitement as the community came together to celebrate in the special day.
Stage 6 began at the start of the Johnny Cash Trail with a “Neutral Roll-out” where the pro peloton of 125 riders made their way down the trail, over Robber’s Ravine Bridge and under Prison Road. When they reached E. Natoma, they turned right and made a left onto Green Valley Road, which is where the official zero kilometer start point was.
The race began at exactly 9:45 a.m. and within seconds the cyclists were gone and on their way to South Lake Tahoe.
“Today is the start of Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California,” said Robert Goss, director of the Folsom Department of Parks and Recreation. “Anytime we are going to host an event of this magnitude and put out the effort to do this, we want to make it special – that’s why we went to the Johnny Cash Trail. It is one of the most unique things associated with cycling that we have to offer. It already has the attraction of Johnny’s stardom, and people are starting to know us for the Johnny Cash Trail, so what better way to start the Stage 6 on their way to Tahoe than on the Johnny Cash Trail.”
Following Green Valley Road, Stage 6 takes riders through Placerville to Pleasant Valley Road, Sly Park Road and onto Mormon Emigrant Trail, leading the cyclists through Tragedy Springs and Kirkwood. After, the route takes the contestants through Hope Valley to Sheridan, and as they cross into Nevada, they will finish with a categorized one climb at Daggett, finishing in South Lake Tahoe.
Stage 6 is a mere 122 miles with seven categorized climbs and a total of 16,000 feet in climbing that will last up to six hours, Goss said.
“Sixteen thousand feet uphill is a far amount more than climbing Mount Whitney from coast to peek. Mount Whitney is about 14,500 feet,” he said. “This makes for a very difficult day. What’s unique is where this stage is in the race. It’s the day before the conclusion. The final stage is in Sacramento, which is relatively flat.”
Rodeo Park was bustling with community leaders, city staff and city officials, members of the police and fire departments and many, many more.
Friends of Folsom President Jeff Garcia was excited for the event.
“It’s a great opportunity for the community, and I hope that it brings a whole bunch of more cyclists to our beautiful venue here in Folsom with more trails and waterways than anywhere else in the state,” he said.
Folsom City Council candidate Rob Ross attended the event with his wife, Christie, and showed much excitement on the benefits Amgen has for the Folsom community.
“It’s events like these that bring our community together in what I like to call ‘accidental meetings,’ where I might not see you, I might not go to your house, but when we all come together as a community, it just strengthens the bond that keeps our community together, and that’s one of the things that makes Folsom so special,” he said. “This bike race is a huge part of that.”
Ross was not the only City Council candidate in attendance. He was joined by Aaron Ralls, Barbara Leary, Mike Kozlowski, YK Chalamcherla and more who have officially filed to run in the November election.
El Dorado Hills resident Bill Arrol said it was neat to be able to watch the start of Stage 6.
“I think it’s a pretty neat course to go all the way up to Tahoe the way they are going,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to see it too.”
Goss said having Amgen in Folsom is great advertising for the quality of the community.
“The television broadcast of the Amgen Tour of California goes to over 200 countries worldwide, so you have to ask yourself a question – where does the next Intel come from in the world? Where is the next really special doctor or software company?” he said. “It’s a job employer attraction strategy, it’s an employer retention strategy, and we also want high quality families to move here. We are a family-friendly community. Wherever you are in the world, if you are a wonderful family, come to Folsom.”
The Stage 6 event will be internationally televised from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the day of the race on NBC.
For more information on the Amgen Tour of California, go to amgentourofcalifornia.com.
To stay up-to-date on the race, go to folsomtelegraph.com.