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?
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.
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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.