Tour of California with Lizard Head Cycling Guides
101 Bobtail or Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 Phone: 970.728.5891

AMGEN Tour of California

A 7-day Cycling Festival Across California!

Tour of California

Our AMGEN Tour of California Bike Tour runs on the closed roads out in front of the AMGEN Tour of California stage race. This is a challenging event with multiple 100-miles stages (shorter segments available). Our formula for this race is to leave two to three hours prior to the race start on the roads shut down for the bike race. So in essence we surf a wave of anticipation into the next town as we are literally chased by the pro peloton. The spectators cheer & ring bells while we are climbing the passes and across the flat sections we work together to conserve energy. This unique experience delivers excitement not normally experienced on your regular home bike ride!

EXCITING NEWS! In 2017 the AMGEN Tour of California was designated a UCI WorldTour event so the big name bike racers will be there including Peter Sagan!

Our AMGEN Tour of California bike tour is based on our successful formula from the now defunct USA Pro Challenge Tour. This tour will offer new venues and cities to explore as we are “chased by the peloton”.

Join Lizard Head Cycling Guides for a celebration of cycling across the state of California on the AMGEN Tour of California Bike Tour.

I have been on a half-dozen guided tours of the last ten years. Lizard Head Cycling Guides are the best. John Humphries is a logistical wizard and a gracious, gregarious guide leader. Thanks to the whole crew for making it an exceptional experience. – Michael Troy

AMGEN Tour of California: Highlights

The stages and host cities for the 2017 AMGEN Tour of California have been announced by race organizers as follows.

  • Stage 1, Sunday May 14, 2017 – Sacramento
  • Stage 2, Monday May 15, 2017 – Modesto to San Jose
  • Stage 3, Tuesday May 16, 2017 – Pismo Beach to Morro Bay
  • Stage 4, Wednesday May 17, 2017 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
  • Stage 5, Thursday May 18, 2017 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy
  • Stage 6, Friday May 19, 2017 – Big Bear Lake Individual Time Trial
  • Stage 7, Saturday May 20, 2017 – Mountain High to Pasadena

AMGEN Tour of California: Dates

We are currently taking reservations for the AMGEN Tour of California. Please reserve now as this tour typically sells out early!

2017 AMGEN Tour of California:

  • May 14 to 20, 2017

2017 California Water into Wine Country Tour with Jan Ullrich:

  • October 2 to 7, 2017 6-DAY TOUR (Book Now!)
  • October 2 to 11, 2017 10-DAY TOUR (Book Now!)

Please see the California Water into Wine Country Bike Tour with Jan Ullrich for more information.

Click Here to Compare All of Our Bike Tours

   Fill Out Our Bike Tour Reservation Form

AMGEN Tour of California: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Arrival Town/Airport: Sacramento, California/Sacramento International Airport (SMF)

Departure Town/Airport: Los Angeles, California/Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Tour Length: 7-Days Riding/6-Nights Lodging

Total Mileage: 595 miles over 7-days of cycling. Expect to average 85 miles per day with plenty of climbing. Lower daily mileage options will be available.

Ability Level: 3/4 (Upper-Intermediate to Advanced)

Tour Cost: $3,450 per person.

$200 Early Bird Discount for 2018 Tour Registrations Made Prior to November 1, 2017!
Must mention or use Discount Code EARLYBIRD2018 when making your reservation.

Single Room Supplement: Add $590 to the Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (6 nights).

Tour Includes: 6-nights of lodging (to be announced), 7-days of meals, high performance rental bike, guide service, entrance fees, daily lunch en route, energy food, liquid refreshments, Lizard Head Cycling jersey, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages and massage therapy are additional.

Lodging Includes 6 Nights: (subject to change)

Please Note: We are currently working on accommodations and we will update this list with more information soon.

  • Night 1 – Sacramento, California
  • Night 2 – San Jose, California
  • Night 3 – Morro Bay or San Luis Obispo, California
  • Night 4 – Santa Clarita, California
  • Nights 5 & 6 – Big Bear Lake, California

Road Bike Rental: Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott CR-1 Pro and Scott Solace carbon road bikes with full Shimano Ultegra components for only $250/week, or $150 for 3 or 4 day tours. Both the CR-1 and Solace models are sub- 17 lb comfortable, high performance bicycles geared for climbing hills. In addition we also have electric bikes available for rental at $375/week. And finally we have a selection of straight bar road bikes and kids bikes in our rental fleet. Just let us know what you need and we can probably find it.

Please also see this blog post for more information on bike rentals.

Electric Bike Rental: We now have a limited selection of SCOTT electric bikes that can be reserved for our tours. These are road bikes with straight bars that make the slowest rider the fastest rider in the group. Rental Price is $375/week.

Couples Bike Rental Discount: Sign up as a couple and receive one free bike high performance rental per couple ($250 value).

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on its tours.

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients. Guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu: including appetizer, salad, entree and of course dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post ride element.

Lunches on Tour: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and of course plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies. We pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works for you during the week. Gluten Free, Dairy Free or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Overall Route Map


AMGEN Tour of California: Itinerary

Pre-Race (Saturday 5/13): Arrival in Sacramento, California

Guests arrive in Sacramento, California on Saturday May 13, 2017 by flying into Sacramento International Airport (SMF) and then shuttling to the nearby meeting hotel (TBA). In the evening we will hold a meet and greet session at the meeting hotel to go over the itinerary for the week ahead and to also get bikes fitted since we start very early the following morning.

Please Note: The Saturday night meeting hotel is not included in the tour cost and guests are on-their-own for reservations at the host hotel or other nearby hotels. Guests will be on-their-own this evening for dinner.

Stage 1 (Sunday 5/14): Sacramento > Sacramento
105.1 miles with 875 feet of climbing

Sacramento, California

With a full week of riding on the agenda, we need to start very early today. In fact, because of the transfers required between stages for the coming week, each day will start early except for our layover day in Big Bear on Friday, so make sure to get plenty rest each night and to set the alarms early for 7 amazing days of riding!

After loading bikes, gear and riders into the support vehicle, we shuttle a short distance from the meeting hotel to downtown Sacramento and to near the start line for today’s Stage 1 race. Here we will pedal around the same entire 105 mile course the the pros will ride later in the day. This is a very flat stage through farmland and vineyards and riders should make quick work ticking off the miles. Of course those looking for less miles can either “bump” ahead or even bypass certain sections of the course reducing the overall mileage.

Once back in Sacramento late morning, we will head to the start line to watch the beginning of the Pro stage while also enjoying some post-ride nutrition. After the race, we will shuttle to our accommodations for the evening and enjoy a hearty and healthy dinner.

Stage 1 – Elevation Profile: 105.1 mi +875 ft / -875 ft

Stage 2 (Monday 5/15): Modesto > San Jose
96.5 miles with 8,131 feet of climbing

San Jose, California

Again we need to meet early and after breakfast, we shuttle about 75 miles south to the start line of Stage 2 in Modesto, California.

After yesterday’s relatively flat stage, here come the mountains! The first 40-miles of this 96 mile stage is a gradual climb and good to loosen the legs, but then we hit our first Cat 3 climb for the day up to nearly 2,400 feet in altitude. The next 16-miles are enjoyed on undulating terrain through the San Antonio Valley until a 5-mile Cat 1 climb up to Copernicus Peak at 4,200 feet with fans cheering along the entire way! From the summit the remainder of the stage is a ripping descent down twisty roads eventually making it’s way around southeastern San Jose and culminating in a finish at the bottom of Metcalfe Canyon.

From here we will watch the Stage 2 finish of the pro race and refuel after our adventurous day in the mountains. After the race, we will head to our nearby accommodations and enjoy another fine California meal for dinner. However, keep in mind that tomorrow we need to start *very early* since our shuttle to the Stage 3 start is a long 200 miles south. So get to bed early, rest up and be ready to go before the crack of dawn.

Stage 2 – Elevation Profile: 96.5 mi +8131 ft / -7944 ft

Stage 3 (Tuesday 5/16): Pismo Beach > Morro Bay
117.5 miles with 5,644 feet of climbing

Pismo Beach, California

After a very early morning transfer from San Jose, we begin the riding from the start line of Stage 3 in the classic California beach town of Pismo Beach. Here we will glimpse early morning views of the rugged California central coastline before turning inland away from the coast and towards the Sierra Madre Mountains. The morning route is punctuated by a 10-mile Cat 1 over the top of the Sierra Madre Mountains through some beautifully remote terrain.

Following the summit we descend through Buckhorn Canyon, past Twitchell Reservoir, cycle along the Nipomo Valley and then through San Luis Obispo towards the small, working commercial fishing village of Morro Bay to end the riding for the day and to await for the finish of the Pro riders. Following the stage we stay in either Morro Bay or nearby San Luis Obispo for the night.

Stage 3 – Elevation Profile: 117.5 mi +5644 ft / -5564 ft

Stage 4 (Wednesday 5/17): Santa Barbara > Santa Clarita
102 miles with 7,318 feet of climbing

Magic Mountain is Santa Clarita, California

Following our usual early morning shuttle, we begin at the start of Stage 4 from Stearns Wharf in beautiful Santa Barbara. Known as the “The American Riviera”, Santa Barbara is nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and Pacific Ocean along California’s Central Coast.

Today’s route could be described as rather “spikey” as we navigate around the coastal ranges of Laguna Ridge, Sulpher Mountain, Santa Paula Ridge and the Santa Susanna Mountains hitting a mix of short Cat 2, Cat 3 and Cat 4 climbs along the way. After these “undulations”, the last 24 miles are along the Santa Clara River Valley to the high-tech city of Santa Clarita to end the stage in the shadow of Six Flags Magic Mountain.

We again will watch the Pro riders finish the stage and then head to our lodging for night and a well deserved meal.

Stage 4 – Elevation Profile: 102.0 mi +7318 ft / -6191 ft

Stage 5 (Thursday 5/18): Ontario > Mt. Baldy
79.1 miles with 11,743 feet of climbing

View from Mt. Baldy

We ain’t going to lie to you – today’s stage is a HARD one! With nearly 12,000 feet of climbing over it’s nearly 80 miles, finishing today’s ride will be a well earned reward!

Following our morning shuttle from Santa Clarita, we start from downtown Ontario and make our way due north directly into the San Gabriel Mountains following a circuitous route around San Gabriel Reservoir, down San Gabriel Canyon, through Glendora and then back into the mountains up the twisty Glendora Mountain Road. From here the course doubles back on itself as we now climb a 12-mile section that we came down earlier.

Once at the base of Mt. Baldy, things start to get tough as we ascend up nearly 5-miles on an HC climb with gradients topping 14-15% in places. The legs will scream as you near the summit at over 6,000 feet in altitude and then there it is, the finish line… you made it! Great job!

While enjoying your après-ride refreshments and nutrition, you will be entertained by the Pro riders suffering their way up Mt. Baldy possibly serving as the deciding factor in crowning the overall champion for this year’s race.

After the stage, we will shuttle east to Big Bear Lake which will be our home for the next two evenings and also meaning that we will have a layover day breaking the early morning shuttle routine.

Stage 5 – Elevation Profile: 79.1 mi +11743 ft / -6385 ft

Stage 6 (Friday 5/19): Individual Time Trial – Big Bear Lake > Big Bear Lake (Layover)
15 miles with 650 feet of climbing

Big Bear Lake, California

Our day at Big Bear Lake today will be a low-key recovery sort of day with a short 15-mile morning ride around the ITT course. We will have plenty of time following our morning ride to get ready for the Pro riders to take their individual turns around the course later that morning.

Upon completion of the stage and with no shuttle on the agenda, guests may wish to take a stroll along the lake front or explore the downtown scene; or perhaps simply relax and enjoy the alpine beauty of Big Bear Lake which is known for its panoramic views and evergreen forest surrounding a seven-mile lake.

Stage 6 – Elevation Profile: 15.0 mi +650 ft / -693 ft

Stage 7 (Saturday 5/20): Mountain High Ski Area > Pasadena
79.2 miles with 5,942 feet of climbing

Pasadena, California

Stage 7 – the final day of the AMGEN Tour of California and the final day of being chased by the peloton has arrived.

Following one last early morning shuttle from Big Bear Lake to Mountain High Ski Area, we start riding from high in the San Gabriel Mountains enjoying a brisk 4,300 foot descent in the first 25-miles. The course then turns back into the San Gabriel Mountains and onto the scenic Angeles Forest Highway. With a few Cat 2 and Cat 3 climbs along the way, the final 23-miles offers a net descent of another 4,300 feet all the way to the finish line in downtown Pasadena.

Congratulations! The week is done… you’ve done it!

We then watch the Pros finish one last time and see the overall race winner make it across the line. What a great and exciting week of cycling in California this has been!

Post-race we shuttle one last time to the Los Angeles International Airport to end our tour.

Stage 7 – Elevation Profile: 79.2 mi +5942 ft / -11713 ft

AMGEN Tour of California: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

Tour Support: A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment will support this tour.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

Lizard Head Cycling Guides highly recommends clients purchase Travel Insurance through MH Ross Travel Insurance. A policy can be purchased individually through the sales link below or Lizard Head Cycling Guides can also set-up a policy for its clients.

The estimated cost for a 50-year old buying insurance for a $2,500 tour ranges from $100 (standard plan) to about $200 (cancel for any reason plan).

Lizard Head Cycling Guides Custom Sales Portal Link is:

  • The best options for our clients are either the Asset or Bridge plans.
  • The Asset-Plus & Complete plans both include a Cancel-For-Any-Reason option.
    • As a result these plans cost more.
    • The Cancel-for-Any-Reason option is only available when insurance is purchased within two weeks of initial deposit.