Chamber plans to promote town during Amgen bike race

By Karen Brainard

Ramona Chamber of Commerce, gearing up for the crowd of cyclists and spectators who are expected to travel through Old Town on May 12, is putting out a call to business owners and volunteers.

The 2013 Amgen Tour of California, a professional cycling race, has included Ramona in its Stage 1 route that begins and ends in Escondido.

An event that is compared to the Tour de France, the cycling race will attract national, international, and aerial media coverage, said Sally Westbrook, chamber secretary.

BIKE TOUR PLANNING MEETING­— With the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, a professional cycling stage race, scheduled to come through Ramona on May 12 and attract visitors, Ramona Chamber of Commerce members are talking to others in the community about planning events that day for the downtown area. Discussing ideas are, from left, Joe Cahak, chamber president Bob Murray, chamber secretary Sally Westbrook, and Kirk Newell, owner of Kirk’s Bike Shop. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

“It will be huge recognition for our town,” she said.

From Escondido the route will take cyclists on State Route 78 through San Pasqual Valley and into Ramona, where they will continue east on 78 through Ramona’s Old Town.

Westbrook said the chamber is asking store owners between 10th and Third streets to promote their businesses and offer special sales that day.

Plans to draw attention to the town’s historic section include setting up U.S. flags along Main Street, and putting out red, white, and blue streamers and a welcome sign. The chamber plans to sell bottles of water, said Westbrook.

Most of the activity in town will be before the cyclists enter Ramona, she said.

The race will begin between 11 and 11:45 a.m. and is expected to end around 3:30 p.m.

“We’re anticipating they will come through between 12:30 to 1 p.m.,” said Westbrook, adding that cyclists will be through town in a matter of minutes.

The chamber needs volunteers to help with crowd control and traffic.

“We need 30 volunteers for that day,” said Westbrook.

Those interested in volunteering in Ramona should go to and click on the “Be a volunteer” link.

Once cyclists are through downtown Ramona, they will turn at Third Street to journey down Old Julian Highway and eventually connect back with Route 78. In Santa Ysabel the racers will turn left onto State Route 79, head north for a few miles and ascend Mesa Grande Road to State Route 76. The route then takes racers up the East Grade Road of Palomar Mountain, about a 12-mile climb.

“This is a climb that is often compared to the arduous Alpe d’Huez at the Tour de France,” states the Amgen website.

After descending Palomar Mountain, racers will head east on State Route 76 through Pauma Valley and climb Cole Grade Road to Valley Center. They will pass by Bates Nut Farm and then take Lake Wohlford Road back into Escondido. The cyclists will finish where the race began — at Grand Avenue and Broadway. The entire route, according to Amgen, is 102.6 miles.

The May 12 race is the first of eight stages of the Amgen Tour of California. On May 13, cyclists will ride from Murrieta to Palm Springs, followed by a ride the next day from Palmdale to Santa Clarita. From Santa Clarita, cyclists will race to Santa Barbara on May 15, and then the next day to Avila Beach. On May 17 individual time trials will be held in San Jose.

Stage 7 will be a ride from Livermore to Mt. Diablo on May 18. The race will conclude on May 19 with the final leg from San  Francisco to Santa Rosa.

For more about the race, see

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  4. Chamber accepts sponsors for annual awards banquet
  5. Soroptimists look for Man About Town candidates

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Posted by Staff on Apr 26 2013. Filed under Business, Business Briefs, Clubs/Organizations, Featured Story, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Comments for “Chamber plans to promote town during Amgen bike race”

  1. Thats wonderful..but safety wise, . is motor vehicle traffic going to be blocked temporarily on Highway 78 when the cyclists are coming up the hill to Ramona? The curves make it impossible to see cyclists on the road until its too late, and with so many competing, I dont think they will be in single file like cyclists riding for leisure/pleasure . Would not want such an event marred by an avoidable accident.

    • Joe Cahak

      Jane you may rest assured that CHP closes the roads completely for the short time it takes for the riders to get through sections of the road. They are called rolling closures and have only minimal impact to traffic. The race will cause a short but full closure of Hwy 78 in both directions, but we have lots of prior notice of the closure so folks can plan around the closures. So do not worry the riders will be safe from the cars..

  2. Michelle

    Can anyone tell me the time and date of the 67 closure?

    • guest

      Sat, May 11, 8:00-10:00 am and Sun, May 12, 11:00-4:00, is what the electric sign said. the printed sign included longer hours on Sat, too. It is difficult to read those things while driving.

  3. Scherry

    Great idea to have Ramona shut down on Mother's Day, especially for those that need to get to work. Not everyone saw the signs especially those visiting from down the hill. Yes, Ramona is high on the attention but many people who needed to get somewhere either did not know or could not leave hours early or late. There will always be those who are unhappy and complain no matter what, and I thank God I am not this type of person but this closing the major highway through a small mountainous, fire-prone area on a sweltering Mother's Day to garner some attention was absurd and potentially dangerous to a town and area ravaged by wildfires. A it turns out, there WAS a fire that started in lakeside today. Where we live the 78 and a few small backroads are the ONLY way out with our horses. Had a fire occurred up here the attention Ramona sought would not have been of the desirable sort.

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