While the Amgen Tour of California was spinning its way the length of the Golden State last week, the Ted King Tour of California was equally riveting, albeit with ever so slightly less www.___news.com covering the dynamics of the week. Whereas ASO has taken the reigns of Amgen and seen it mysteriously lose a day, now just seven stages, the TKToCA continues to tackle the eight day gauntlet. Here they are head to head:
Amgen Tour of California
582 miles // 22:54:38 Ride time
Ted King Tour of California
411 miles // 25:56:17 Ride time
Beginning with a benefit ride for World Bicycle Relief, we can thank João for being popular, since a flippin’ boatload of people came out for the João & Friends Ride.
The route tackled the mighty Seven Sisters of Mount Tamalpais, offering the first climbing points of the week. Interesting because with an easy typo, this looming spire overlooking San Francisco becomes Sveen Sisters, which is quite a Flemish sounding name, already bringing a European flavor to TKToCA.
Stages two through four were SRAM Open The Road rides introducing any interested cyclists to the shockingly easy benefits of eTap, 1x, and hydro disc brakes. It saw breathtaking views…
…as well as the unflappably happy Kate pocket yet another jersey flower arrangement.
Stage five went deep into the Saint Gabriel Mountains and finished high atop Mount Baldy. You’re welcome to reminisce about my encounter with my main man Peter here.
Let’s talk shop. Amgen’s California is definitely a good one. It’s taken a strong enough foothold to garner the cheeky subtitle, The Fourth Grand Tour.
But with the continual ebb of traditional, regional races here in America — with the exception of the truly great ones like the Green Mountain Stage Race that wisely stay clear of the abominable hand of competitive bike racing bureaucracy — more and more people are in fact riding bikes, and they’re clearly getting on bikes and going somewhere.
Fondos of course are on the rise and even more so are the ambiguously accurate “mixed terrain events”. Groad if you’re Caley, Froad if you’re me, these are races if you feel like racing, rides if you feel like riding, more than anything they’re experiences that define the current trend of people riding bikes where you finish up, reconvene with your buddies, exchange high fives, toast sudsy libations, stoke the BBQ, and commence more jovial excellence. You certainly do not race into your compression tights, crack into your personally engineered recovery beverage, break into stretch, and compare strength to weight power outputs, post facto.
The ruby reddest crown jewel of the most regal queen’s stage eight of the TKToCA was the Belgian Waffle Ride. I haven’t done any actual due diligence but I’m told 400 people rode BWR two years ago and 2017 saw that number balloon to 1200. That, friends, is called forward progress.
130’ish miles total, 40’ish miles of gravel for your travel, it was an experience unlike (m)any other that I’ve done. Fiendishly hot, the race unfolds much like a Belgian kermess — namely, attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, and then that’s the group you’re likely riding with for the next four hours, followed by a slow painful ascent of Double Peak and a final roll into the Lost Abbey Brewery.
Here’s my friendly group of ten for most of the day
Here’s my babe of a girlfriend.
Here’s a taste of the ‘f in froad from Sunday’s action. Which, a reminder, stands for off road since approximately 40/13oth were spent racing off road. Thankfully we were not running for 40/130ths of it.
Take THAT cyclocrossers!
And to wrap things up, nearly seven hours later, a very empty me slotted into fourth place. Two flats in the final 30 miles? I’ll take it.
So to summarize the whole kit ‘n’ kabootle by the numbers:
Ted King Tour of California Stages 1-7
281 miles // 19:04:17 Ride time
The queen stage eight, Belgian Waffle Ride
131 miles // 6:52 Ride time
Ted King Driving Tour of California
1327 miles // 26:32 Drive time
Which made it time to go skiing. Here’s Thursday.