On Feb. 21, 17 of the world's top professional cycling teams will race through the streets of downtown San Luis Obispo when the 2008 Amgen Tour of California rolls into town.
If past races are any indication of what's to come, expect crowds of crazed cycling fans packed on sidewalks, cheering loudly as the best cyclists on Earth frantically battle toward the finish line at the intersection of Monterey and Osos streets at speeds exceeding 30 mph.
"It's so exciting!" said Adam Fukushima, executive director of the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Coalition. "When you're watching this race come through town, it's almost like the like the Tour de France--it's the same caliber of riders."
Riders will include top cycling stars Levi Leipheimer and George Hincapie. Hincapie is a former member of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France-winning Discovery team and now rides for Team High Road, which has made San Luis Obispo its base.
San Luis Obispo will mark the halfway point for cyclists. The race is a 650-mile, eight-day event that kicks off at Stanford University in Palo Alto on Feb. 17 and concludes on Feb. 24 in Pasadena.
To help make the SLO stage of the race a success, city Recreation Supervisor Rich Ogden said that organizers need about 300 volunteers. Helpers will work on Feb. 21 from 1 to 5 p.m. and will receive a free T-shirt for their services. Anyone interested in helping out can contact Ogden at 781-7305 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be a volunteer organization meeting at 10 a.m. on Feb. 16 at the San Luis Obispo City County Library.
Racers are expected to cross the finish line anytime from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.