Motorists should be braced for brief road closures, but bicycle racing fans will have an up-close look for three days next Friday and Saturday when the Amgen Tour of California bike race winds through the mountains of Los Angeles County and finishes Sunday on the streets of Beverly Hills, Hollywood and downtown L.A.
On Sunday, some L.A. streets may be thronged with fans, but road closures will not be lengthy as the bike race passes any given spot relatively quickly, organizers said. Events at Sunday's finish line, at L.A. Live, are slated to wrap up by 1 p.m.
Sunday's race will start on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, then wind down the Sunset Strip into Hollywood. The bike race will follow the L.A. Marathon route — but backwards — towards Dodger Stadium and downtown.
The race will zigzag south past City Hall, past the Biltmore Hotel, then head up Bunker Hill to Walt Disney Hall. A final downhill sprint will lead to the finish line at Staples Center.
In Hollywood, this means all lanes of Hollywood Boulevard, between Orange Drive and the 101 Freeway, will be closed from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Sunset Boulevard between will be closed from Doheney to Orange drives. (See the 2012 Amgen Tour Route in Los Angeles)
The eight-day bike race started Sunday in Santa Rosa, 50 miles north of San Francisco. Various legs of the race will be held in Central California, and a time trial will be held on a circuit in Bakersfield on Thursday.
But Friday and Saturday is when the race will see several steep mountain segments, first on Saturday from Palmdale to Wrightwood and Big Bear Lake, then on Sunday from Ontario up to Mount Baldy Village, west through the rugged mountains and down to Azusa, and capped by a second steep dash up the switchback road to Mount Baldy Ski Area.
On Friday, the bike race will start in Palmdale, and use Sierra Highway south through the suburbs onto the Angeles Forest Highway. The course then forks east on Mount Emma Road, and winds through the mountains and back to the desert floor on Fort Tejon Road.
Racers will then make a major climb up Big Pines Highway to the Mountain High Ski Area, a 6,000-foot increase in altitude. After riding downhill on Highway 2 through Wrightwood, the bike racers will head east on state Route 138 to cross over Interstate 15 at Cajon Pass.
The Friday race course then continues east on routes 138 and 18 to Crestline and Lake Arrowhead, then uses Route 18 east to Big Bear Lake. racers will circle Big Bear Lake on the north and east sides, before finishing the day at the Snow Summit Ski Area.
On Saturday, racers will start in Ontario, head up steep Mount Baldy Road, then fork west on Glendora Ridge Road. After returning to the flatlands at Azusa, racers will head east back to the bottom of Mount Baldy Road, then head north to that day's finish line at the top of the switchbacks at the Mount Baldy Ski Area.