Amgen Tour of California Stage 8 KOM: Cole Grade Road

A gem of a climb loved by locals, made all more difficult by being last on a day that includes the short, stout Highland Valley Road, the narrow and testy Lake Wohlford Road — and the HC monster, Palomar Mountain. Great views back in Pauma Valley from here. If someone can stay away on Palomar and deliver the goods here, they will win the stage. If there is a lead group at the base of this, look for some serious attacking. A week of rain, cold, time trialing, traveling and riding in February should produce something special.


Amgen Tour of California Stage 8 KOM: Palomar Mountain Summit 5,200+ Feet

The pro peloton will easily wind it up on this last section. Keep an eye on the gear selection here. It’s very possible that a strong man uses the 53 big ring and 24 or 21 tooth cog. Most exciting for fans: Will the strongest be strewn across the mountain due to an audacious attack, and can anyone stay away before sealing the deal on Cole Grade Road before bombing back down Lake Wohlford Road into Escondido for the last few miles of Stage 8?

Amgen Tour of California: Stage 8 KOM: Palomar Mountain @ 5,000 Feet

Little panorama just past 5,000-foot mark. Riders have a few more switchbacks past here to reach summit. Predicting that tempo will be lifted between the 4,000 and 5,000-foot markers. A fun place to play cat-and-mouse since the switchbacks are short and you can disappear from those less fortunate if you have great legs on this day. 

Amgen Tour of California Stage 8 KOM: Highland Valley Road last piece…

Final short video commentary on KOM Stage 8 Amgen Tour of California, Highland Valley Road. 

In a few days, I’ll mix in Lake Wohlford Road (another Stage 8 KOM points opportunity) in my training to give you a mini taste at bicycle level of what awaits the pro peloton there. Then the big one, Palomar, followed by Cole Grade Road.

Amgen Tour of California Stage 8 KOM: Highland Valley Road base…

Here is some video of the base of the climb on Highland Valley Road for the first KOM points in the final of the Amgen Tour of California.

Riders will have a leisurely spin out of Rancho Bernardo, then wind through the flat of Highland Valley Road past the 2007 wildfire burn area before being greeted with a stout little climb. These switchbacks will provide some entertainment if there is a tight race for KOM points. 

54 seconds worth here.  


Looking for a base camp to take in the Tour of California?

Downtown Escondido (finish line) provides the best opportunity to see the pros in one place the longest.

But my heart’s with the angels of the mountains who — as Paul Sherwin would say — dance on the pedals.

Game plan: Be in Solvang on Friday for the TT where a single street block separates the start and finish lines of loop course. Then ride Palomar early Sunday before the CHP shuts down South Grade Road at 9 a.m., watch the action on big screen in Mother’s before dashing out (in adidas sandals, not cleats) and witness the best in the business as they summit the category 1 climb.

Capture it with a Flip Mini video camera. Act like Tifosa.

Of course, also set TiVO at home.