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2011 AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA TO START AT LAKE TAHOE

The2011 Amgen Tour of California, the largest cycling event in America, will start at Lake Tahoe, one of the country’s most spectacular destinations and nationally renowned cycling meccas. Lake Tahoe’s first-ever involvement in the race will feature more than a lap and a half around the Lake beginning at the Calif./Nev. border in South Lake Tahoe with the Stage 1 finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort in North Lake Tahoe. North Lake Tahoe also hosts the Stage 2 start at Squaw Valley USA, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

The Amgen Tour of California covers more than 800 miles, traveling between 15 host cities over the course of eight days from May 15-22, 2011. Last year’s date change from February to May allowed the Tour de France-style road race to visit locations that would not have been possible previously, including a visit to Big Bear Lake. Due to the incredible success, the race will remain in May to provide fans with the most action-packed race possible.

The race will wind through miles of beautiful California terrain, beginning with the first-ever visit to Lake Tahoe, a well-known cycling destination and home of “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride.” The race will travel through some of the state’s most scenic landmarks, with the overall finish in title-sponsor Amgen’s hometown community of Thousand Oaks.

Amgen RouteThe 15 official stage start and finish communities that have been selected for the 2011 race include newcomers: South Lake Tahoe, North Lake Tahoe-Northstar at Tahoe Resort, North Lake Tahoe-Squaw Valley USA, Auburn, Livermore, Claremont, and Mt. Baldy, along with return cities: Sacramento, Modesto, San Jose, Seaside, Paso Robles, Solvang, Santa Clarita and Thousand Oaks.

“Whether it’s skinny or fat tires, Tahoe is a passionate biking community,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “Hosting the Amgen Tour of California, the country’s most prestigious bike race, will put us on the map as ‘must ride’ for cyclists while having a significant impact on the local and regional economy.”

“There is nothing quite like riding at elevation – 6,300 feet,” said Andy Chapman, tourism director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “These cyclists are going to be pushing the envelope as they make their way up and down mountain passes and not once but twice around the national treasure of Emerald Bay State Park for a grand finish at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. Equally spectacular will be the Stage 2 Start at Squaw Valley USA with Tahoe’s famed granite peaks making for an unforgettable backdrop.”

Lake Tahoe is recognized for several annual summer biking events. America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride has participants circumnavigate the Lake the first weekend in June. Another chance to circle Tahoe’s 72-mile shoreline is during the annual Tour de Tahoe Bike Big Blue Race in mid-September. Late September brings the Tahoe Century Ride, which starts and finishes at Squaw Valley and features scenic routes and challenging hill climbs. The annual Lake Tahoe Marathon Week offers a bike race around Tahoe’s shoreline the end of September. Furthermore, the annual Death Ride® course covers five High Sierra mountain passes includes both sides of Monitor and Ebbetts Pass,Carson Pass and Turtle Rock Park, north of Markleeville. Tour de Nez offers significant professional stage races in the country taking place in 2 states: Nevada and California; the cities of Reno and Truckee, along the shores of Lake Tahoe, and up the mountains surrounding the resort at Northstar-at-Tahoe every June.

The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, are spearheading promotional and sponsorship efforts for the Lake Tahoe Stage 1 Start, Finish and Stage 2 Start, and will serve on the Amgen Tour of California Lake Tahoe Local Organizing Committee.

Beginning with the inaugural race in 2006, the Amgen Tour of California quickly became the most successful race in the United States with regards to economic benefits to the state, global recognition and the level of competition. The race also continues to set records in attendance for a single sporting event in the state of California, as well as any cycling event ever held on U.S. soil, with more than 2 million spectators in previous years.

“Last year we witnessed the benefits of moving the Amgen Tour of California to May – better weather, a new, challenging route and more intense competition,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “In 2011 we plan to continue to showcase the beautiful features the state of California has to offer, while also continuing to raise the bar for what it means to be the largest, most important cycling race in America.”

amgen-photo1-201x300In previous years, the race has drawn some of the world’s most renowned and respected riders, such as top Tour de France competitors, World Champions and Olympic medalists that include Lance Armstrong, Tom Boonen, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Fabian Cancellara, Carlos Sastre, Ivan Basso, George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish and Andy Schleck.

“The 2011 Amgen Tour of California route is going to result in an exciting and compelling race,” said Lance Armstrong of Team Radioshack. “All of us at Team Radioshack are looking forward to it.”

Returning as the title sponsor for the sixth consecutive year, Amgen will continue to leverage the race to raise awareness and support for people affected by cancer through its Breakaway from Cancer® initiative. A leading global biotechnology company with headquarters in Thousand Oaks, Calif., one of the 2011 race Host Cities, Amgen’s invaluable support has helped to ensure the continued success of the race and impact beyond the sporting arena.

“The 2011 Amgen Tour of California route will deliver new challenges for the professional cyclists and also give Amgen an opportunity to introduce our company and our Breakaway from Cancer initiative to California communities that are getting involved in the race for the first time,” said Stuart Arbuckle, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology. “We look forward to collaborating with all of this year’s Host Cities to spread awareness about Amgen, our mission to serve patients through using biotechnology to create medicines for people with grievous illness, and the incredible support services that are available free of charge to people affected by cancer through Amgen’s non-profit Breakaway from Cancer partner organizations.”

The 2011 Amgen Tour of California will visit 15 Host Cities for official stage starts and finishes, while other cities along the route also will have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite professional cycling.

 Stages for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California include:

  • • Stage 1: Sunday, May 15 – South Lake Tahoe to North Lake Tahoe-Northstar at Tahoe Resort
  • • Stage 2: Monday, May 16 – North Lake Tahoe-Squaw Valley USA to Sacramento
  • • Stage 3: Tuesday, May 17 – Auburn to Modesto
  • • Stage 4: Wednesday, May 18 – Livermore to San Jose
  • • Stage 5: Thursday, May 19 – Seaside to Paso Robles
  • • Stage 6: Friday, May 20 – Solvang Individual Time Trial
  • • Stage 7: Saturday, May 21 – Claremont to Mt. Baldy
  • • Stage 8: Sunday, May 22 – Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks

For further information on the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

Experience the Lodge-to-Lodge Getaway on Lake Tahoe

kayak tahoeExperience a multi-day kayak adventure along the Lake Tahoe Water Trail in style September 23-26 or by special arrangement.

This fall, Tahoe Adventure Company is featuring a multi-day kayak and stay package along the West, North and East shores of Lake Tahoe. Guests enjoy the glassy, clear waters with early morning guided paddles spotting local wildlife and learning about the unique natural and human history of this special region. 

By afternoon, they arrive at their lakefront hotel for a hot shower, warm meal, and pure relaxation. The best hotels have been chosen for their comfort and include Sunnyside Lodge, Mourelatos Lakeshore Resort and the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. After checking in, guests can choose to benefit from a massage, a walk along the beach, skipping stones or simply relaxing by the pool or on the water’s edge.

The four-day kayak adventure is a luxurious way to spend a long weekend, special occasion, or simply a reason to celebrate autumn on one of the most magnificent lakes in the world.  Fall in Lake Tahoe treats us to warm sunny days as well as calm water and is void of crowds.In addition to thorough instruction, guides will inform you about natural and human history topics such as wildlife, geology, ecology, and native peoples. Kayaking is at a leisurely pace, allowing time to see the sites and enjoy the crystal clear water. Each day’s paddle starts after an excellent breakfast, finishes in the afternoon and is suitable for beginners. Evenings are enjoyed with delicious meals at terrific local restaurants with great company.

For more details and the day-to-day itinerary, call Tahoe Adventure Company at 530.913.9212 or  TahoeAdventureCompany.com. Space is limited.

-Written by Pettit Gilwee, special to VisitRenoTahoe

Video: Get on board the Fun Train to Reno

Our own Jill Stockton went for a ride aboard Amtrak’s Fun Train for a scenic ride from Sacramento to Reno. But this was no tame sightseeing tour …

There may be no easier way to get to Reno-Tahoe than aboard the Weekend Fun Train or Midweek Snow Train. There is no other train like it in America. The Fun Train is ideal for anyone looking to have a good time while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Donner Pass route – one of the most historic and scenic rail lines in America.

From departure to arrival, traveling on the Fun Train was, well, fun! I boarded the train in Sacramento and was greeted by ‘Fun Rick,’ a member of the Fun Train team. Fun Rick helped me feel welcome aboard and made finding my seat a breeze.  After boarding the train, which was decorated with a Western theme, we promptly departed for Reno. The ride through the Sacramento valley and along Donner Pass was simply spectacular. The views were amazing and fresh snow was falling, making this ride to Reno extra special.

The entertainment on board was outstanding. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Dozens of people dancing to the live music of the “FunAntics” while winding through the mountains headed for Reno. This is surely something that you’d never experience in a car or airplane!

If listening, not dancing, to live music is more your style, then the Piano Lounge Car is for you. With live entertainment in the Piano Car you can meet new friends, enjoy a drink from the cocktail bar and relax. The Fun Train also has strolling minstrels, musicians, and magicians to entertain you – if the beautiful scenery is not enough.

When we arrived in Reno, the good times just got better. After exiting the train, passengers were greeted by a jazz band directing them to their chartered bus which would take them to their designated hotel. The simplicity and ease of this trip was truly amazing.

The trip includes a roundtrip rail ticket from Emeryville, Martinez, Suisun, Sacramento or Roseville to Reno with reserved seat, two nights hotel accommodations, a Winner’s Book – good for discounted meals, 50 percent off the show at Harrah’s and more. For more information on packages and pricing information visit Key Holidays online or call (800) 783-0783.