The California coast has welcomed the 2013 Amgen Tour of California (AToC) with beautiful blue skies and sunshine during the first half of America’s largest cycling event, now in its eighth year. Sixteen prestigious cycling teams from around the globe are competing in a treacherous 750 mile course that climbs almost 60,000 feet and runs from south to north for eight straight days/stages. It certainly has been a pleasure for me to be here at each stage of the race and represent the Prevent Cancer Foundation as part of the Breakaway from Cancer (BFC) team.
Amgen started the BFC initiative in 2005 to promote awareness of a variety of cancer prevention and survivorship resources. The BFC is comprised of four cancer-related nonprofits, Prevent Cancer Foundation, Cancer Support Community (CSC), Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). The BFC partners participate in the AToC race each year to distribute valuable resources and information at the Breakaway from Cancer booth and walk with cancer survivors and caregivers as part of the Breakaway Mile marches.
The AToC kicked off the race with festivities in Escondido, California on Friday, May 10. The day included an excellent gala celebration, a boa constrictor named Ruby from the San Diego Zoo and an introduction to all 16 teams competing in the race. Emcees Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, notable commentators for the Tour de France, introduced accomplished riders from around the globe including AToC winners, Tour de France finalists and Olympian medalists.
The first stage of the race began and ended in Escondido on Sunday where the cyclists competed in a 102.6 mile course containing an 11,132-feet elevation gain. The second stage’s course was even longer at 124.3 miles and ended in a steep climb toward the finish line in Palm Springs where it was a hot and dry 106 degrees. The eighth stage concludes the race on Sunday, May 19 in Santa Rosa. Follow this exciting tour at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com or on twitter @AmgenTourofCali or @BreakawayCancer.
Along with the four BFC partners, the Prevent Cancer Foundation will be traveling with the Breakaway from Cancer tent, as part of the Lifestyle Festival, located near the end of each stage. If you’re in California come visit us at the Breakaway from Cancer tent to receive a variety of free resources and fun giveaways like sunglasses, key chains and frisbees! I applaud these amazing athletes and the inspiring cancer survivors who are working as a team to Stop Cancer Before it Starts!