The Amgen Tour of California’s decision to use Folsom as a host city is a big feather in the cap of a city that prides itself as a biking community.
“It’s going to be a bicycling party like you’ve never seen before and an all day very very fun event,” said Robert Goss, Folsom Parks and Recreation Director and race organizing committee member.
Merchants in historic downtown Folsom are preparing to take advantage of perhaps 30,000 spectators. Jim Snook of Snook’s Chocolate Factory is making extra candy and preparing to hand out free samples on race day.
His shop overlooks the starting line.
“We’ve got all hands on deck. We’ve got everyone who works here scheduled. ..on a Monday, that’s unusual,” said Snook.
It’s a rare opportunity to market the city on an international scale.
“From our vantage point that’s huge. We’re a growing community and yet we have limitations on a marketing budget so this is an opportunity to hitch our stars to a much bigger and well known cycling event,” said Mary Ann McAlea, Folsom Visitors Bureau.
But there are headaches that come with the prestigious international event. No parking signs are already going up in historic Folsom to make way for the race course and the crowds. And only a small part of the time trial route is in historic Folsom. Auburn-Folsom Road, a major street that tuns to Folsom Lake will be closed to northbound traffic. It’s a lifeline to dozens of businesses on a work day.
The Cat Clinic will close it’s doors on Monday and has rescheduled clients.
“The fact that we have to close for that day makes it a little tough for our clients to use our facility,” said clinic owner and veterinarian Carolyn Standen.
The city has tried to notify everyone of the closures, but a pizza shop on Auburn-Folsom Road didn’t know anything about the closure until FOX40 told them. They are trying to figure out if they can remain open or make deliveries with the road closure.
The city is urging residents to the city website at www.folsom.ca.us/ to work around any closures and for spectators to take the gold line on light rail which will take spectators directly to historic Folsom. But race boosters say there’s no getting around street closures when you host such a big race. They say residents have to recognize the long term benefits to Folsom’s image as a family and bike friendly community.
”As the benefits of Amgen roll out in the months after the race, everybody’s boat will rise higher…it does have a little pain on the day of the event,” said McAlea.