Yes, I’m always excited whenever the race touches down anyplace nearby in LA, but I just assumed this race would be the exact reverse of Stage 7 in 2014, when the race went through Acton, up Angeles Forest Highway, then down the Angeles Crest Highway. If some of you don’t remember, it was a memorable finish with one lap to go.
When the route was announced last week, I took it for granted that this would be the same course reversed, but with a little time on my hands this weekend, I finally did some R & D for this site.
I was half right about guessing the route, but glad that I’m half wrong! After going up the crest, the race will do a clockwise loop around Upper Big Tujunga before descending down Big Tujunga Canyon(there’s a difference). I hope the riders use extreme caution because I still have a KOM somewhere in there…
If the riders get lost, they better be wearing these Volar Big T socks for directions.
They’ll be heading into Sunland and Lake View Terrace before starting one of my favorite climbs, Little Tujunga Canyon!
What I love about this area is that you’ll rarely get action from other vehicles, especially after passing the gun range. You can take in the San Gabriel Mountains with the only distraction from is your own huffing and puffing breaking the silence.
Little Tujunga Canyon is actually two climbs, the first being a 7.1 mile segment starting from the 7-11 off of Foothill. This section climbs nearly 1,600 feet at a 4% average, but the last three miles runs around 7%.
Then there will be a fast 1.4 mile descent curving through a series of switchbacks with the final turn providing a challenge for those wanting to gun it. The road rolls for about another mile when you come across a painful 1.3 mile climb up to Bear Divide averaging 8%.
If you’re like me, you wish they made the left turn to finish up by the helicopters at Camp 9, but I’m already getting my fill. Instead, they’ll descend into the Santa Clarita Valley where there will be plenty of time for the peloton to regroup for a sprint finish.
Just you and the hills along Little Tujunga
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Let’s go! Problem is Stage 2 is taking place on a Monday, which would be fine if it was a holiday, but it’s not. This could all be solved if they started the race on a Saturday and gave a rest day somewhere, but that would mean teams paying for Motel 6 for an extra night.
If I were to go, initially I thought about going up to Clear Creek, watch the peloton before they make their first loop and then head down Big Tujunga hoping to be ahead of group and making it some distance up Little Tujunga before the pass.
Will Sir Bradley Wiggins be climbing in the yellow jersey again?
The problem being, the authorities might try to keep people off the road, so I don’t want to risk it. My new plan is to see them halfway up the Crest, descend down, cut across La Canada and then make my way up Little T. We’ll see how that works.
Overall, I’m pretty excited about the layout of the 2016 edition of the Tour of California, but even more glad it’s coming my way. I just hope I don’t get sick and miss work that day…