The finishing circuit at the end of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California’s Stage 5 in Bakersfield was a gut-wrenching fan favorite, so it was only natural to return to the scene and turn that circuit into an 18.4 mile Individual Time Trial course. Right from the start, the riders will go from zero to nearly 60 mph in a matter of seconds. The start ramp will launch them onto an immediate descent to Alfred Harrel Highway. From there, it will be a straight – but not exactly flat – route to the turnaround point at Lake Ming.
In May, it’s likely going to be hot and windy, and there will not be much in the way of flat roadway to catch your breath. The route is full of 100-foot rollers, and as the riders approach the finish, they’ll be able to see it… up on a 300-foot bluff. The prepared rider will have saved a little for the China Grade, which presents an eight percent climb to the top and then a hard left, and it won’t be over there. The riders will still face a slightly uphill, .44-mile run to the finish.
For those who think Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California sounds like a fun 40 minutes on the bike, come out and be part of a select group of amateurs that will get to race the course just before the pros start.