Amgen organizers in Cambria sensitive to water use concerns

Special to The CambrianMarch 13, 2014 

A stage of the Amgen Tour of California professional bicycle race ends in Cambria for the first time on May 14. Hundreds turned out to cheer riders on when the tour passed through Cambria on Highway 1 in 2006 (above, at Ardath Drive and Main Street), 2007 and 2008.


Representatives involved with the Amgen Tour of California answered questions and provided logistical information to about 90 citizens at the Cambria Veterans Memorial Building Thursday, March 6, in preparation for the arrival of the tour in Cambria at around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, May 14.

The topic that received the most attention was water usage. Tour spokespersons came well prepared to assure residents that every step possible is being taken to reduce the need for local water.

Shari Morales, senior director for AEG Sports — the company producing the Tour de France-style professional bicycle race and  providing live TV coverage —explained that her group is “very conscientious about water and very aware of the water situation in Cambria.”

She said portable toilets needed for the riders and support staff while in Cambria will be filled with water before they arrive. Also, the barrels that anchor the tents in the festival area in the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot will be weighted with concrete blocks or instead of water, as they usually are.

And, in order to lessen the impact on Cambria’s fragile water supply, the great majority of riders and their support staff will stay in San Simeon or Pismo Beach motels. The next stage of the tour starts Thursday, May 15, in Pismo Beach.

Charlie Yates, co-chair of the event committee for the Cambria Tourism Board, reported that about 175 rooms are reserved for the support crew on Tuesday, May 13. Of those, 151 are in San Simeon and 24 are at the Cambria Pines Lodge.

“We have an opportunity here to show the world what we’re about,” Yates commented. “Let’s have a party for the world and show them that Cambria is a really unique and very wonderful community. I want to show our best face to the world.”

Guy Savage, assistant county administrative officer and Cambria’s direct liaison with the tour, also assured attendees that tour officials “are taking every step possible to reduce water consumption.”

“And we’re not done looking for ways to save water,” he added in an interview Monday, March 10. “If we find additional ways in which we can conserve water as part of this event, we certainly will.

“From an overall perspective, absolutely, based on where we are at today — and what was happening last year as we supported the Avila Beach finish line — we seem to be on track.”

Because Cambria is not an incorporated city, it falls under the county jurisdiction, so the contract that AEG signed for the Cambria stop was with the county, and hence, Savage is the official liaison between Cambria and AEG.

Another issue that a member of the business community in the West Village raised at the meeting by writing questions on cards, which District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson read aloud, was why the tour needs to block off Main Street in the West Village at 5 a.m. the day of the race, when the riders aren’t expected until 3:45 p.m.

Officials emphasized that they did not want to be having to tow cars during the day, and for safety reasons, they need Main Street clear all day. But if they do need to tow, it will be “friendly tows” (just moving the cars, not impounding them).

Also on hand to provide information were representatives from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, the CHP and Cambria Fire Department.

People wishing to volunteer on May 14 may call 927-4274 for information.

Email John FitzRandolph at

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