The 2019 Amgen Tour of California adds a new host city to its repertoire with the start of Stage 2 in Rancho Cordova. This inviting and vibrant community in the Sacramento region is home to 75,000 residents and 65,000 employees, who together with a myriad of diverse activities, makes this city a wealth of fun and excitement.
While the City of Rancho Cordova only recently incorporated in 2003, its origin started as a transit route to the Sierra Nevada gold fields in the late 1840s. Known then as Mills Station, its location alongside the American River initially helped to spur growth. As travel along these routes increased, institutions like the Pony Express and the transcontinental railroad added to the community’s growth. By the 1880s, Rancho Cordova was a mainstay farming area, home to the historic American River Grange. When the Army Air Forces decided to start an aviation school here in 1918, the community was still agrarian by nature. Yet once Mills Field, then Mather Air Force Base, became ever more established, the area soared as a magnet for air-related industry and workforce. The name “Rancho Cordova” in fact comes from a vineyard-themed housing development. Over time, the community grew even after Mather AFB closed in 1993. One thing is certain, Rancho Cordova has proven time and again that it could overcome adversity – the mindset of a true champion worthy of hosting the Amgen Tour of California.
Rancho Cordova pride itself on being an outdoor recreation hub. With half of its population under the age of thirty-five, the city’s energy is palpable—from its bike trails to the American River, from its sports facilities to its running trails, Rancho Cordovans are always on the move? The City of Rancho Cordova is a bronze-level bicycle city, due to its connected neighborhoods, business parks, cycling community, 16 miles of pedestrian and bike paths, and the beautiful 6 miles of American River Parkway trails. The American River may be best known for excellent kayaking and boating, but Rancho Cordova is also home to adjacent Nimbus Dam and the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, where Chinook salmon and steelhead trout complete their annual spawning ritual, producing some 4.5 million fish. With a fish ladder, holding pond, raceway, and interpretive exhibits, the hatchery is a fascinating place for adults and kids to grasp one of the West’s most cherished and timeless rituals. More than 100 free events, concerts, movies and the biggest 4th of July celebration and fireworks display in the region are held in Rancho Cordova each year. For those wanting to get off-road, eastern Rancho Cordova is home to the expansive Prairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA), complete with motorcycle and ATV areas, 4x4 obstacle course and tracks, go karts, and the popular Hangtown Moto-Cross Track. With so many former mountain bikers in the peloton, Prairie City is a tempting stopover on this year’s Amgen Tour of California.