The Amgen Tour of California(AToC) has even started, but I am already calling it an unqualified success. Why so, you might ask? It all has to do with a little stretch of blacktop called Tunitas Creek Road. This very popular Silicon Valley climb will be included in Stage 2 of the AToC. While this 8-mile, 2000-foot ascent comes a bit too early in the stage to be decisive, it is still a worthy test for cyclists pros and amateurs alike.
Unfortunately, the pavement during the steepest part of the ascent has been deteriorating over the years and a serious repaving was definitely in order. You might remember my blog from a month or so ago where I lamented that Tunitas Creek Road was supposed to be repaved for the AToC, but the local road crew appeared to have only done half the job and packed up for good.
So, I sent an E-mail to AToC Race Director, Jim Birrell, notifying him of the situation on Tunitas Creek Road. Here are a couple of key paragraphs from the E-mail:
"Having ridden this road for the past 20 years, I can tell you that just filling in the obvious potholes is not going to make a significant improvement in the quality of the road. The pavement in this 2-mile section is so old and poor that even without a rain storm, new potholes seem to appear overnight. The only way to really fix the road is to lay down brand new pavement, curb-to-curb, as was done on approximately 1.5 miles of the upper section of the road during the repaving this past fall.
Frankly, I think the quality of the pavement in the aforementioned section is way below the standard of quality of the roads that should be part of America's premier stage race. But, don't take my word for it. An inspection from someone on your technical committee(not someone on the local organizing committee) will quickly reveal the substandard quality of the roadway. Yes, it really is that bad."
Well, Jim is a stand-up guy and he sent his technical representative for this area, Eric Smith, out to inspect the road. Lo and behold, this week, about a month after my letter, there was a road crew out on Tunitas Creek Road finishing the paving project. Major props to the Jim and Eric for working this issue and fixing the problem. If you ever wondered about the lasting benefits of having a big-time bike race in your area, this is certainly one of them!