If your plans for Wednesday, February 18, 2009, include travel to or from Yosemite National Park, factor in some extra time. What organizers call "the largest cycling event in America," the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, will be passing through the Yosemite vicinity, with the course going through the gateway communities of Mariposa and Oakhurst.
The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race over a 750-mile course from Sacramento to Escondido. The race will occur from February 14-22, 2009, and for the first time, the Tour will directly impact Yosemite National Park. The Yosemite portion, Stage 4, will occur about midday on Wednesday, February 18.
The route does not run through the park itself, but visitors entering and exiting the park via Highways 41 (from the south) and 140 (from the west) can expect traffic delays as the race travels through this region. According to a park news release, the delays are expected to last no more than 45 minutes and will occur between noon and 2:00 pm.
Although those official estimates of travel delays are based on the length of road closures for the race itself, don't be surprised if extra spectator traffic causes some additional tie-ups on area highways.
Mid-week in February is usually a pretty good bet for avoiding traffic tie-ups on a visit to Yosemite, but this one will be an exception.