Sacramento's Capitol Circuit has earned a reputation as one of the fastest and most technical courses in the country. This flat 2.2-mile course features six turns and some of the best cultural highlights that the city has to offer, from historical landmarks to trendy neighborhoods and of course the Capitol building itself. Whatever your preference, this stage of the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM promises to be 90-minutes of pure exhilaration.
As mentioned, Sacramento is a pure mix of old and new, both of which make it a vibrant city of historical character merged with modern trends. The circuit's first taste of this is at the second turn onto N Street. Beyond the dense canopy of trees shading the street is the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park. The park may be less than one acre in size, but it contains an unrivaled historical and architectural treasure well worth the stop. The 3½-story residence was constructed in 1856 by a prosperous Gold Rush merchant in a grand Victorian style topped with early elements of Second Empire architecture. The house is grand to say the least, only reinforced by an impressive front staircase that offers a welcoming embrace to visitors. Wealthy railroad tycoon Leland Stanford purchased the home just before becoming California's eighth governor from 1862-1863 and a U.S. Senator from 1885-1893. During this period, the building served as the Governor's Mansion for two subsequent executives - it is still used for official events, hosting dignitaries, and as an office for the Governor. With its ornate detailing, exquisite woodwork, detailed molding, and gilded mirrors, it's a beautiful building to see, explore, and tour.
Continuing down N Street, the riders pass the historic Blue Anchor Building and Westminster Presbyterian Church before turning away from the Capitol and into some of Sacramento's adjacent neighborhoods. Coming back north on 18th Street, the race enters the trendy district of Midtown. This is a more recent addition to the capitol's list of hipster locales, partly due to its proximity to downtown jobs but mostly because of its cultural activities that are just plain hip. With Capitol Park on one end and Sutter's Fort on the other, Midtown is a great place to venture out beyond the touristy spots. For locals, this not even one square mile area is just as known for its historic Victorian and Craftsmen homes as it is for its boutique eateries, bookstores, and coffee shops. What really gets everyone stirring is the monthly Second Saturday Art Walk, an event that truly displays the vibe of Midtown's walkable cultural scene and lifestyle. Try watching the race at the corner of 18th and L Streets from neighborhood standards like Zocalo, 58 Degrees and Holding, or Old Soul Coffee before heading deeper into Midtown for more unique finds.
The finish of the Sacramento Circuit is a flat half-mile straight-away that finishes at 11th Street. With the start and finish in one spot, this is an ideal place to watch the women's and men's race. It is also a particularly distinctive corner with the Capitol complex on the south and the historic Senator Hotel on the north. The latter is an on-going indication that Sacramento continues to renew itself using existing building inventories and creative solutions. The Senator Hotel was finished in 1924 and quickly came to be the predominant lodging choice for those having state political business, from Hollywood actors to national politicians and corporate executives. The Italian Renaissance-style building faces the Capitol like an armchair, with two nine-story wings containing the majority of its 400 rooms. If not in the Capitol's offices, the Senator's palatial environment was the scene of state lobbying and unofficial meetings. The hotel closed in 1979 only to reopen four years later as an office building. Struggling to make ends meet, the building was actioned in 2015 to a San Francisco real estate firm. For the first time in its history, there are exciting plans to redevelop the site and resuscitate the historic structure to once again be a centerpiece of the Sacramento scene. Peer through the windows of this gem to catch a glimpse of its Palazzo Farnese-inspired lobby.