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Tour of Cali: We Got Mountains Too! [Just Don't Ask Us Which Ones]

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Over at CN, Daniel Benson pins down AEG Prez Andrew Messnick on the key stage of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California. Messick wouldn't divulge details, since it would upstage their course rollout scheduled for October 7, but speculation centers on Mount Baldy on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, north of Upland. I've met Benson and he seems like a sharp reporter, so I suspect he wouldn't casually toss out the name Mount Baldy if there weren't a non-denial denial behind the idea. And when Messick divulges that they're planning "a real Alpe d'Huez experience" it all seems to make sense. Stay tuned.

Anyway, to advance things a little further, here's what Climbbybike says about Mount Baldy:

The Mount Baldy climb is one of the most difficult in the LA Area with 4600 feet of climbing in 13 miles. The last five miles are extremely steep with an average of over 8% and some 15% sections.... Alpe dHuez Comparison: If you start at mile 3.83 (near the intersection with Mountain Ave at the top of the reservoir), the climb is 8.8 miles with an average grade of 7.6%. Alpe dhuez is 8.8 miles with a 7.9% average. This is about the closest thing in Southern California that you can compare in length and steepness to Alpe dHuez. However, if you start at mile 5 near the first tunnel, the climb is 7.6 miles with an 8.2% average. The last few miles of this climb are more dificult than most of Alpe dhuez.

For more, see the big profile. So one prominent website feels compelled to compare Mount Baldy to Alpe d'Huez, and meanwhile a race organizer is promising "a real Alpe d'Huez experience" in the same basic locale. I'm sure this is all a big coincidence. I mean, doesn't every climb use the Alpe d'Huez rating system (1-5 marmottes)? For example, I live on a 1-marmotte hill in Seattle, and I would say Cayuse Pass is a 3-marmotte climb, lacking the steep ramps and switchbacks. For my DC friends, Capitol HIll is a 0.1-marmotte climb, unless you factor in cab drivers, while the Temple Hill is maybe one marmotte. In Portland, Mount Tabor is 1.5 marmottes. In Boone, I suspect you can find stuff in the 4-5 marmotte vicinity. And so on.

So don't pencil in Mount Baldy yet. And don't start scoping out places for the PdC Leffe Keg on the summit. It's probably just a rumor.