Guest Post: Seventh Annual Tour de Murrieta

Editor’s note: Although has long focused on transportation issues that relate to bicycling, the bicycle is also a tool that has been the source of a tremendous amount of economic activity in the region that is the birthplace of the triathlon. I want to address both the economic and the social aspects of bicycle racing and am grateful to Ray Ramage for taking the time to write the following post.


The Tour de Murrieta promoted by CA Pools Racing was held March 9-11, 2012, hosted by the City of Murrieta in Riverside County. More than 700 riders participated.

The three day race is an omnium based on points accrued in each day’s finish rather than on overall elapsed time as in a stage race. This year’s edition was the first of six qualifying races for the 2012 Nature Valley Pro Chase Competition. It also included the Jorge Alvarado Team Competition, dedicated to the memory of the 28 year old La Grange and Bahati Foundation rider killed while on a training ride by a speeding driver in April, 2010.

Race director Aaron Goodale of Murrieta regards the race as a boost to the local economy because of the influx of money benefiting businesses and the hospitality industry. The only hotel in town was booked to capacity. Restaurants were packed in the evening.

“The City of Murrieta loves this race and we get great support from them,” Goodale said

Promoter Ernie Sanchez, a CHP officer, said that Murrieta is a cycling friendly community, the perfect venue for an event such as the Tour de Murrieta.

Friday’s individual time trial was a race against the clock. The 6.5 kilometer course ended with a 1.5 kilometer climb up an unpaved road, testing the limits of the riders’ bike handling skills. Many chose to use conventional sprint handlebars instead of the more aerodynamic time trial bars due to the challenge presented by the dirt road.

Saturday’s downtown criterium was run on a fast, flat six corner 1.6 kilometer course. At 6:30 am the temperature was 32°F, a big change for the riders from the 80°F high at the previous day’s time trial. By the time the Elite Category 1 Men started, the thermometer was back up to a race perfect 76°F. Murrieta City Councilman Alan Long, who is also involved with promoting cross country foot races held in town, addressed the Elite Men riders before their start.

“Murrieta is proud to be a healthy lifestyle community,” Long said.

Sunday’s circuit race was on a 5.6 kilometer course with one small rolling climb on Hayes Ave. Murrieta Police motorcycle officers provided a rolling enclosure for the race, stopping all oncoming traffic. While this traffic management technique is common to larger races such as the Tour of California, it is unusual for a local race. It demonstrates the extraordinary level of support the City of Murrieta gives the event.

Final general classification:

Tour de Murrieta Elite Women. Photo by Ray Ramage

Elite Women Cat. 1,2,3 –

1. ROWNEY, Loren – Specialized-Lululemon
2. KACHOREK, Emily – Primal/MapMyRide Women’s Racing
3. SONYE, Suzanne – Helen’s/Cannondale

Elite Men Cat. 1 –
1. SANTOS, David  – Cash Call Mortgage (USA)
2. WEICHT, Michael (UCI)  (GER)
3. KRIEK,  Christiaan – Team Simple Green/Bike Religion  (RSA)

Jorge Alvarado Team Competition –
1. Cash Call Mortgage
2. Team Simple Green/Bike Religion
3. SPY-Swami’s Development Elite Team