And so it all came to an end. The CTS Team rode the last 100 kilometres of Tour of California together in style with several attacks before every hill, great battles on every climb and spectacular sprints including one to the finish.

One last very steep hill

The competitive nature of all these A type CEOs, doctors, lawyers, financiers (and retired CEOs and doctors) clearly showed even after six gruelling days of riding.

Last turn before the finish line

Before we rolled out as a group for the last time Chris Carmichael reminded us what it is like to ride and travel as a pro rider:

And this is what the last 1:14 min of the Amgen Tour of California Experience 2011 was like:

Interesting facts learned on this trip

Use a big gear and lower cadence while riding with a group

Power recorded is somewhat lower than actual when climbing a steep hill at a low cadence

If you want to blow your brains out, don’t put the gun in your mouth as the gun will kick up when you pull the trigger, getting the bullet to go through your nostrils, ricochet on the top of your skull and end up at the back of your brain. The problem is that the snot on the bullet will cause an infection (one of a million interesting facts learned from Jeff)

Energy expended to do six stages of a pro race: 16,997 kilojoules (or the equivalent of burning 4.85 pounds of fat)

Distance covered: 751.2 kilometres (or the equivalent of riding home from the office 28 times in six days or about 5 times each day)

Elevation gain on the climbs: 30,419 feet (or the equivalent of climbing my local training hill in Montreal 65 times in six days)

You can be 71 years old and still do this type of event

The bigger guys pull more than the skinny guys

The human body can take a bigger beating than most people can ever imagine

Description of the last stage

The Amgen Tour of California returns to one of its favorite host cities for the start of the final stage of the 2011 race. Santa Clarita is one of the up and coming cities in all of California. They boast miles of bike paths and are the home to many large events throughout the year. Leaving Santa Clarita, the race will head out on a flat 13 mile stretch of Hwy 126. A left turn near Piru will work the riders towards the coast and to the base of the final KOM of the race: Balcolm Canyon. This is a wicked climb that is relatively short but painfully steep. Most of the locals find a different way to get their bikes and cars to Thousand Oaks. No one wants to climb Balcolm. The riders can expect a solid mass of fans that will part as the riders approach. Cresting the summit, the race will head through Moorpark and up the final climb on the Norwegian Grade. Now the route heads downhill and enters the four-mile circuit as passes the finish line in Thousand Oaks and begins the first of five flat and fast circuits.

The winner of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California will be crowned on the award stage in Thousand Oaks. He will have survived the longest and most difficult stage race ever contested in the USA. His team will have sacrificed everyday to propel this rider closer to yellow.

Map of Stage 8

Map of Stage 8

Profile of Stage 8

Stage 8 Profile