Tour de Murrieta Cycling Event Returns This Weekend

Local cyclists will join professionals from various countries in the Tour de Murrieta this weekend. (Photos courtesy of Tour de Murriet...

Local cyclists will join professionals from various countries in the Tour de Murrieta this weekend.
(Photos courtesy of Tour de Murrieta Facebook page)

Approximately 800 cyclists of all ages and skill levels will take to the city streets and surrounding areas this weekend in the 10th annual Tour de Murrieta.

The event, hosted by the Stage 2 Cycling club, includes three days of various timed and distance races featuring top European professional cyclists and Olympic contenders from many countries. But the real beauty of the event, says one of its founders, is the fact that virtually anyone can jump on a bike and ride the same circuits the pros will maneuver over the next few days.

"It's not just a bunch of riders on bikes," said Ernie Sanchez, a Stage 2 Cycling member who helped create the event a decade ago. "It's also a community event. This is a signature event for Murrieta."

Sanchez and other cycling enthusiasts responded to city officials' requests to create such a signature event for Murrieta. Early races drew crowds close to 400, but the field is now double that, he says. The city-sponsored event includes a festival with entertainment and vendor booths near the start-finish line at the Murrieta Senior Center in Town Square Park.

"A lot of locals show up saying this will be their first race," Sanchez said. "We start people riding with other cyclists of their caliber."

Friday's opening day of competition begins at 10 a.m. and features individual time trials over a four-mile course on pavement and hard dirt. Riders are sent off every 30 seconds to race against the clock.

Competition on Saturday and Sunday runs from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday's main event is a grand prix on a course that traverses city streets surrounding Town Square Park. It will take most cyclists about an hour and a half to complete, Sanchez said. Sunday's circuit race covers distances of from 30 to 65 miles, depending on skill levels.

Also on Saturday at noon, a kids race sponsored by Pacific Western Bank will be held. Each participant will get a medal.

Competitors will also compete for cash prizes in the various events. Sanchez said about $10,000 will be awarded to event winners.

Pre-registration ended Wednesday night but anyone interested may show up the day of the race and register an hour before. Registration fees range from $25 to $32, Sanchez said. Admission to the event is free to spectators.

For more information, visit the Stage 2 Cycling website or visit the Tour de Murrieta Facebook page. Below is a map of the course to be used for racing on Saturday.

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