Given yesterday’s announcement that the Amgen Tour of California—billed as “the biggest race in the United States,” per Governor Schwarzenegger—will include a high-altitude finish in the Big Bear Valley, professional cyclist Lance Armstrong has committed to participate in the May 2010 event, which will include 750 miles of cycling over an eight-day period. Other cyclists committed to the Amgen Tour of California include three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer, Dave Zabriskie and George Hincapie. Thursday’s official announcement, that Big Bear has been selected as the Tour of California’s stage six finish on a day that will begin in Pasadena, included County Supervisor Neil Derry and Big Bear Lake Mayor Rick Herrick (along with a number of local riders for Bear Valley Bikes) at Onyx Summit which, at 8,443 feet, is the highest roadway in all of Southern California. This year’s Amgen event included two million spectators along the roadway and, given the anticipated crowds on May 21, 2010, Mayor Herrick said of the Tour of California, “The benefit is to California and Southern California, and specifically to San Bernardino County and Big Bear—this is a very big deal. We’re really looking forward to the economic boost.” Or, as Supervisor Derry noted, “Come May, this is going to be one full mountain.” The Big Bear Valley is also gaining momentum as a high-altitude training destination (think Oscar de la Hoya and Ryan Hall), and the arrival of professional riders and cycling enthusiasts should contribute to putting our mountain on the map. In fact, the City of Big Bear Lake plans to do a Tour of Big Bear ride on Saturday, May 22, thereby encouraging those here to see Friday’s finish to stay through the weekend. As Mayor Herrick outlined in the October 22 press conference, “We are becoming known as the place for high-altitude training and extreme sports. To do this peak here at this altitude is quite spectacular.” The specific route to and through the Big Bear Valley has not yet been determined, though race officials will be here on Monday to scout out the possibilities for the high-altitude finish of the Tour of California, again, to take place on Friday, May 21st.