Putting California into context: If it were its own country, it would be the world’s sixth largest economy. Only the United States, as a whole, and the European Union, China, Japan, Germany and the U.K. beat California’s economy. In terms of sheer size, California is the third largest U.S. state—1,240 kilometers from top to bottom, and 400 kilometers wide—and it’s also the number-one most populated.
The women’s race will experience the alpine sun and Lake Tahoe breezes, as well as the scorching heat of the upper part of California’s central valley in Sacramento. The men’s race will start in Sacramento and wend its way toward its finish in Pasadena, more than 600 kilometers to the south.
The start of this California-based event is what we’ve all been waiting for—riders, mechanics, soigneurs, team directors, race organizers, police, SRAM Neutral Race Support, UCI officials, doping control doctors, sponsors, fans, media, volunteers and vendors. The planning and preparation—from the least involved fan who decided, just this morning, to come out, to the event organizer whose 2017 Tour of California work began the day after the 2016 race ended—finally starts to pay off when the women leave the starting line.
SRAM: As a pro race mechanic for more than a decade now, what do you think about SRAM RED eTap?
JL: This is easy. This is cool. Yeah, I think two ways easy—it’s easy when you build the bike, because you don’t have to put the cables somewhere through the frame, and also the maintenance is…pretty easy. I mean, like on other bikes, sometimes you have to change these inner cables because they are worn out, they don’t work so good anymore. But this is really amazing [he whispers, as if guarding a secret]. And also when you…after you wash [the bike] and you set the position or you [adjust] the gears, most of the time you don’t have to do anything. It is really easy. It’s really a nice system.