AMGEN Tour of California Stage 3


Tour Links
AMGEN Tour of California
Stage 3, Finish: Santa Cruz
Route Map
Good Times Cover Story: Wheel Power >





amgen_how_doAmgen Tour of California, Santa Cruz Events

Spring Bike Week: May 9-15
Amgen Fun and Fitness Festival Saturday, May 15, 2010 – 9:00am
Race Across the Sky” Amgen Tour of California Movie Night
Sunday, May 16, 2010 – 7:00pm
Stage Finish – Lifestyle Festival Tuesday, May 18, 2010 – 11:00am
Stage Finish – Boardwalk’s Beach Bandstand Entertainment
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 – 11:15am
Enjoy special FREE entertainment on the Boardwalk’s Beach Bandstand throughout the day:
11:15am- Watsonville Taiko Drummers with Scotts Valley Tae Kwon Do Academy
12:15pm- Mountain Bike Stunt Show with Mike Steidley & Casey Holm presented by Kenda & Haro Bikes
1:00pm- Watsonville Taiko Drummers with Scotts Valley Tae Kwon Do Academy
2:00pm- Mountain Bike Stunt Show with Mike Steidley & Casey Holm presented by Kenda & Haro Bikes
Stage Finish – Breakaway Mile Tuesday, May 18, 2010 – 2:30pm
Stage Finish – Bicycle Trip After-Party
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 – 4:00pm
See Listing of area events >

How and where to watch the race – Route PDF



Transportation Options

Downtown Shuttle Information—Amgen visitors are encouraged to park in downtown parking lots and garages and take the free Amgen shuttle to Depot Park. From Depot Park it is an easy walk to watch the race. Two shuttle buses will run continuous 30-minute loops with four stops:  Marini’s Candy on Pacific Avenue near Walnut Street, the Sentinel Building at the corner of Cedar and Church streets, Calvary Church at the corner of Cedar and Lincoln streets, and Depot Park on Pacific Avenue two blocks from Beach Street. The shuttles will operate from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Valet Bike Parking—Ride your bike to the event and save yourself the hassle. FREE valet bike parking by People Power! will be conveniently located on the lawn to the west of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Casino. This location is in the heart of the event, just across the street from the Lifestyle Festival and the finish line.
Stay connected with fellow fans and the day’s race with live coverage on the big-screen TV near the finish line.


AMGEN_roadclosedRoad Closures

The following streets will be “No Parking/Tow Away” and closed to traffic from 8PM on Monday, May 17 to 6PM on Tuesday, May 18:
Cliff Street between First and Beach streets n Beach Street between Main and Raymond streets n Riverside Avenue between Second Street and Beach Street (Closed until 8PM 5/18) n Leibrandt Street at Kaye Street (Nueva Vista)
The following streets will be “No Parking/Tow Away from 2:00 PM until 4:50 PM on Tuesday, May 18:
Pacific Avenue between the Wharf and Front Street n Front Street between 2nd Street and 3rd Street  n  Wrong way between Las Palmas and 2nd Street n Front Street hill between 3rd and Pacific n 3rd Street between Front Street and Leibrandt Avenue n
Cliff Street between 3rd Street and 2nd Street n Beach Street between Raymond
and Leibrandt Avenue n 2nd Street between Riverside and Cliff Street (Closed until 6PM,
no parking 6AM to 6PM)
The following streets will be “No Parking/Tow Away” on a rolling basis closing as early as 1:30PM on and opening as late as 4:45PM: High Street n Western Drive n Mission Street between Western Drive and Fair Avenue. Swift Street n West Cliff Drive between Swift and Woodrow n West Cliff Drive between Woodrow and Bay n West Cliff Drive between Bay Street and Beach Street n Beach Street between West Cliff Drive and Pacific Avenue n Entrance to the Municipal Wharf

news_PelotonClimbFirst California, Next, The World

In just five years the AMGEN Tour of California has become one of the sport’s highest profile events
By Neal Rogers

When AMGEN Tour of California owner AEG Sports first announced its plans to launch the event, with a $35 million commitment over five years starting in February 2006, the news left the cycling community both concerned and excited.

The AMGEN Tour of California was to become the biggest race in America, with the ambition of becoming one of the biggest races in the world. Along with the top racers from the North American circuit, the hope was that the sport’s biggest stars would prioritize this new race—6,000 miles and nine time zones from Western Europe—just the way they prioritized events steeped in more than a century of history, such as Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France.

It was a seemingly impossible task, made attainable by the considerable leverage, resources and experience of AEG Sports, which also owns franchises and venues such as the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings team, the Staples Center and London’s O2 Arena.

In its inaugural edition, which began with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger handing out the first race leader’s jersey at San Francisco’s Ferry Building at Pier 1, the AMGEN Tour of California reached its goal of becoming the biggest race in America. And with the arrival of big-name riders such as Cadel Evans in 2006, world champion Paolo Bettini in 2007, Mario Cipollini and Bradley Wiggins in 2008, and the out-of-retirement Lance Armstrong in 2009, the California race has earned its place as one of the most important races in the world.

However, after four years of February dates, the two most recent years marked by miserable cold and wet race conditions, organizers made the decision to change its date to May—a bold move considering it would overlap with the three-week-long Giro d’Italia, a race second only to the Tour de France in stature.

Again, eyebrows were raised. This new event had succeeded in February after beginning as something of a pre-season novelty—a trip across the Atlantic where European stars could get face time with various California-based team sponsors while competing on wide, smooth American roads. But could the AMGEN Tour of California truly stay relevant to the European teams and draw top-name athletes after positioning itself squarely in the middle of the European race calendar?

AEG Sports gambled yes, and a quick look at the start list of this year’s event answers that question. Two of the three men that stood upon the Tour de France podium in July 2009 will be in California, and one of those men is Armstrong, the seven-time Tour champion and leader of the new American RadioShack squad. Armstrong’s teammate, the defending three-time AMGEN Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer, earned a spot on the Tour podium in 2007 and took a bronze time-trial medal at the 2008 Olympic Games. The man who won that 2008 Olympic time trial—three-time world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland—will return to California in 2010 for the third time in his career. Cancellara’s Saxo Bank teammate Andy Schleck, the Luxembourger who stood one spot in front of Armstrong on the 2009 Tour podium, will be in California as well.

Other top names returning to California include three-time U.S. national road champion George Hincapie (BMC Racing), five-time national time-trial champion Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions), Belgian strongman Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and sprint phenom Mark Cavendish of HTC-Columbia.

In all, seven ProTour teams, two Pro Continental teams and seven Continental teams make up the composition of this year’s peloton. Nine of the teams are registered in the U.S., while seven are international. It’s a Tour de France-caliber field set free to explore the Golden State’s varying rugged terrain at the height of spring, rather than during the winter tempests of February.


How The Race Will Be Won

With so many stars of the sport showing up to the start line, winning a stage won’t be easy for the U.S.-based Continental teams; the short list of AMGEN Tour of California stage winners from Continental teams consists of J.J. Haedo, Ivan Dominguez, Dominique Rollin and Francisco Mancebo.

Conversely, the top step of the podium at the AMGEN Tour of California has seemingly been reserved for American riders:  Floyd Landis in 2006, and Leipheimer from 2007 through 2009.

Who will stand atop the California podium will be determined on May 23 in Thousand Oaks, not far from title sponsor AMGEN’s sprawling 200-acre campus. How the race will be won, however, can best be predicted by looking carefully at this year’s stages.

The first likely opportunity for a shakeup on the general classification (GC) comes on Stage 3, from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. The final climb, up Bonny Doon Road, is where Leipheimer launched his decisive attack in 2009. Whether or not a GC rider can distance himself from the rest of the pack in May the way Leipheimer did in February is unknown, and, either way, the descent down Empire Grade, along West Cliff Drive to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk should, in theory, favor a chase group.

Likewise, Stage 5, from Visalia to Bakersfield, climbs into the Sierras before ending with a 3.6km loop that takes in three steep climbs of the 1km, 10-percent China Grade. Andrew Messick, the president of AEG Sports, predicts that if a GC rider such as Leipheimer, Nibali or Schleck decides to launch an attack on the final approach to the uphill finish, he could take “somewhere between five and 10 seconds”—significant time in a week-long race that Messick predicts will be determined by very slim margins.

Next comes the 216km Stage 6, from Palmdale to Big Bear, the AMGEN Tour’s first truly mountainous stage. Though the stage dishes up more than 12,000 feet of climbing with four categorized climbs, the final 30km is either downhill or flat, so losses among the leaders are possible, but unlikely.

That’s not the case, however, with Stage 7, a challenging 33.6km time trial that includes two laps around AEG’s L.A. Live campus in downtown Los Angeles. With 20 turns on each lap and two short climbs, it’s a course that favors technical riders rather than those who rely on aerodynamics.

Chances are good that the winner of the Los Angeles time trial will go on to win the overall, but nothing is assured until the last of four difficult trips over the 4km, 7-percent Rock Store climb. After a week of hard racing, this 134km stage has the potential to blow the race apart and pare down the number of finishers of this year’s tour. And even if the favorites stay together over the final climb, the fast, technical descent to the finish could produce some surprises.

Whether it’s again an American standing on the top step of the podium will remain to be seen. Leipheimer would surely like to defend his winning streak, though he’s stated he sees Zabriskie as the favorite. It’s a race Garmin-Transitions would dearly like to win, having finished second overall in 2008 and 2009. However a decade-long rivalry between Armstrong and Garmin manager Jonathan Vaughters could create an opening for a foreigner, such as Rogers or Schleck, to run away with the win.

Whoever wins the race, he’ll have beaten a world-class field at what has quickly become one of the highest-profile events in the sport of pro cycling.

The Races Within A Race

At the AMGEN Tour of California, standout performances are signified by special jerseys. It’s not about the overall leader.

amgen_LEADER-JerseyAMGEN Race Leader Jersey

The AMGEN Race Leader Jersey is worn each day by the overall race leader, the rider who has covered the overall distance in the least amount of elapsed time. Each day there could be a different rider wearing the AMGEN Race Leader Jersey as the overall leader is determined by the lowest cumulative time. A rider could potentially win the AMGEN Race Leader Jersey without winning a single daily stage.



amgen_BestYoungRider-JerseyRabobank Best Young Rider Jersey

The Best Young Rider Jersey is awarded each day to the best placed rider aged 23 or under. The winner is determined by his overall placement at the finish line after each stage. At the end of all eight stages, the rider age 23 or under with the best cumulative time is named the AMGEN Tour of California’s Best Young Rider.



amgen_Courageous-JerseyAMGEN’s Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey

Each day, the most courageous rider will earn Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer® Jersey. It will be awarded to a cyclist who best exemplifies the character of those engaged in the fight against cancer. The jersey will not necessarily be awarded to the fastest or best cyclist of the day, but rather to the rider who best demonstrates courage, sacrifice, inspiration, determination and perseverance.



amgen_CA_JerseyCalifornia travel and tourism King of the Mountains Jersey

The King of the Mountains (KOM) Jersey goes to the strongest climber in the peloton. The jersey is awarded to the rider who most consistently reaches specially designated KOM locations first, located at the tops of mountains and hills. Climbs are categorized in five categories: Cat. 4: Usually less than 3km in length, an easy pitch that amounts to no more than a sustained rise in the road; Cat. 3: Slightly harder, up to 5km in length; Cat. 2: Between 5km and 10km, and steeper than a 4 percent grade; Cat. 1: Long and steep. Between 10km and 20km, and steeper than a 5 percent grade; Hors Categorie (HC) or above category: The longest, steepest mountain climbs. Extremely difficult climbs, sometimes 15km to 20km, with grades often exceeding 10 percent.


amgen_SPRINT-JerseyHerbalife Sprint Jersey

The Sprint Jersey is worn by the rider who accumulates the most bonus points awarded during designated “sprints” during a stage and for finishing in the top 15 places at the finish line of each stage. Riders who specialize in bursts of speed, or consistently finish near the top of each stage, will have a good chance of winning the green Sprint Jersey. With the highest points being awarded at sprint lines, it is considered a sprinter’s jersey, but a consistent and strategic all-rounder can also be a contender.



AMGEN_race_race_LanceleadA Different Race, A New Strategy

Three-time defending champ Levi Leipheimer shifts gears for some huge California challenges
By John Wilcockson

For a man who’s stood on the podium of three grand tours and won such storied stage races as the Dauphiné Libéré in the French Alps, Levi Leipheimer places his three consecutive victories in the AMGEN Tour of California alongside his greatest successes in Europe. Now he’s after his fourth.

Each of Leipheimer’s past Golden State wins were completed in similar fashion: making a statement with a serious attack on an early mountain stage (twice into San Jose and last year into Santa Cruz) and then completing the deal by dominating the time trial stage held at Solvang.

He’s having to take a different approach in 2010. Because those past races were held in February, the sport’s major players were well below their best form, so Leipheimer’s California hat-trick wasn’t given the credence it truly deserved. And even though his team had to ride as hard as if they were defending the yellow jersey in a three-week grand tour, the Europeans tended to put down this fledgling, week-long race in the New World as another exotic, early-season diversion—not the real thing.

That’s not the case anymore.

So when the fifth AMGEN Tour of California gets under way in mid-May, three months later than usual, Team RadioShack’s Leipheimer is prepared for three huge challenges: a course that has significantly harder characteristics, opponents who are much closer to their peak fitness, and doubts about his own preparedness.

“My form is different this year,” he said during a telephone interview from his home in the hills above Santa Rosa. “I’ve set my sights on the Tour of California, to get my best form in May. So far I’ve been strong and solid this season, but I didn’t have great legs in Europe. I’m not disappointed, it’s just not a good feeling.”

In February and March, Leipheimer raced three week-long stage races, each of which featured a short time trial. He showed decent form in those races against the clock, taking a fourth place in a 17km stage in Portugal’s Tour of the Algarve, third in the 8km prologue of Paris-Nice in France, and second in the 4km opener at Spain’s Tour of Catalunya.

As regards his overall performance in the three races, Leipheimer finished fourth in Portugal, 23rd in France and 21st in Spain. Not stellar results, but, as he said, “strong and solid.”

He was hoping for something better from the Spanish event, which was held on roads close to his European base of Girona. “But Catalunya was a strange race,” he said. “The prologue was very short on a tight course, and it was slick. There was no mountaintop finish, and there was only one tough stage. And that was decided on a dodgy, gravelly downhill — and I got caught behind a big crash.”

Licking his metaphorical wounds, Leipheimer was on a plane back to California the day after the Catalunya race, looking forward to a full seven weeks of intensive training mixed in with occasional races. “I’m doing the Tour of the Gila again,” he said, referring to the five-day event in New Mexico that he won in 2009, riding with Lance Armstrong and Chris Horner as Team Mellow Johnny’s in a one-off sponsorship deal. This year, Jason McCartney replaces Horner on their three-man squad at Gila.

“I’ll also ride some local races in California,” Leipheimer said, knowing that he needed some more competition in the two weeks between the end of the Gila race and the start of the Amgen Tour.

Another goal, Leipheimer said, is to scout all the key courses of the California race. He already knows the terrain being used on the first two days, especially the hilly Stage 2 from Davis to his hometown of Santa Rosa.

“I’m riding all the stages I don’t know,” he said, “including Big Bear, the time trial and the last day. I’ll probably do Stage 3, the one to Santa Cruz, as well.

I know the new climb that’s been added in the middle of that stage, but it would be nice to do the climbs in sequence.”

Race followers remember that it was on the equivalent stage last year that Leipheimer attacked solo on the climb of Bonny Doon Road, caught an earlier breakaway (Tom Peterson of the Garmin team), and took over the race leader’s yellow jersey in Santa Cruz. It will again be a vital stage, but this year, against climbers like 2009 Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck of Saxo Bank, Leipheimer is unlikely to shed the opposition as easily as before.

As for the two following stages, the one into Modesto again looks destined for the sprinters, while the next day into Bakersfield has a fairly mild finale after a tough section through the Sierra foothills. “I might look at the finishing circuit in Bakersfield,” Leipheimer said, referring to a 6km loop that includes the 10 percent climb of China Grade, “but on the stage profile it looks like a hill that we’ll just sprint over.”

That won’t be the case for Stage 6, a 213.7km slog from Pasadena to Big Bear Lake, which contains the highest-elevation climbs ever used in the race — but they’re maybe not the very toughest climbs.

“I’ve looked at the map and Google-Earthed the stage to Big Bear,” Leipheimer said. “On paper, the last climb is long and not particularly steep. What this race needs and hasn’t had yet is a true mountaintop finish.”

The 36-year-old RadioShack veteran knows that he’ll need to be in his very best form for the 30km time trial in Los Angeles.

“The main contenders are the same as last year,” Leipheimer said. “Dave Zabriskie [of Garmin-Transitions] is the  big favorite, and Michael Rogers [of HTC-Columbia] is much stronger this year. As for Andy Schleck, we’ll just have to follow him in the mountains and try to take him out in the time trial.”

Fighting talk. It sounds like the champ is already in combat mode to add a fourth Amgen Tour of California title to his growing résumé.



By John Wilcockson

When Lance Armstrong began his cycling career 20 years ago, the major international stage race in the United States was the Tour DuPont, an ambitious precursor to today’s AMGEN Tour of California that was contested along the East Coast and into the Appalachians. Before he was diagnosed with cancer in October 1996, Armstrong twice won the two-week-long DuPont, dominating the race in the time trials and the mountains.

Almost two decades later, in his second comeback to the sport, Armstrong is still able to match the world’s best in the climbs and time trials, but more importantly he’s a personality who can single-handedly attract huge numbers of spectators to the roadside. That’s what he proved in making his comeback to U.S. racing at last year’s AMGEN Tour, when just his showing up doubled the excitement and tripled the interest in the California race.

Despite his more than three-year layoff from cycling, Armstrong managed to finish top 10 last year while powerfully riding support for his teammate Levi Leipheimer — whether in the cold, wet conditions the peloton fought on the opening days, in the strong crosswinds in the Central Valley, or on the rugged slopes of Palomar Mountain on the final day.

Asked in April this year what his plans are for his second Tour of California appearance, the 38-year-old Team RadioShack megastar said, “My goal, as well as the team’s, is to get Levi the overall win (again).”

That won’t be a surprise to insiders, but the general public will this time be expecting him to win something, especially one of the tougher stages.

The Tour, of course, remains Armstrong’s biggest goal in his comeback, but he would have loved to have tested himself on some serious mountain stages in California. Like the other Tour contenders on the start list, the Texan will have to make do with the Stage 6 trek from Pasadena across the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains to Big Bear Lake.

“The Big Bear stage is not as hard as people think,” he said. “Of course there’s elevation, but the climb is not steep enough. At least not steep enough to make a selection in 2010 cycling.”

Armstrong may not have the young legs with which he out-climbed everyone in the 1990s, but he still has the same spirit and vision. And, for this race, that means once more helping his friend and colleague Leipheimer climb onto the top step of the podium on May 23.

amgen_DopingProtecting Cyclists from Doping Pressures

PAMF doctor helps escort Stage 3 top finishers to post-race testing

As Stage 3 finishers stream across the finish line at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk this year, they will be met by a small group of medical professionals and volunteers that will stay with the top five finishers until they complete an important post-race doping test. Like last year, this group will include Palo Alto Medical Foundation dermatologist and cycling enthusiast Leonard Moore, M.D.

“Testing for performance-enhancing substances does more than protect the integrity of the race,” Dr. Moore explains. “It protects the health of the athletes and that of young people who look up to them and seek to follow their example.”

The link between serious health problems and taking steroids, hormones, amphetamines and other performance- enhancing chemicals have been well known for decades among cyclists. In a widely reported case, British cyclist Tom Simpson died during the 1967 Tour de France after taking amphetamines.

However, because the health problems that come from doping develop slowly over time and only very rarely touch a cyclist at the peak of performance—as in the case of Tom Simpson—the pressure to excel in a race can easily overwhelm concern for one’s long-term health.

“This is especially true for young athletes,” Moore explains. “Like most healthy young people, they are typically unconcerned about problems that may not affect them for decades, such as heart disease and cancer. In addition, they may be more easily influenced by the desire to please a coach, mentor or parent.”

As a dermatologist, Moore regularly sees how choices about sun exposure made as a young person can increase skin cancer risks, and the choice to take illegal performance-enhancing drugs is similar in that the effects of this choice may not be felt until much later in life.

“In all sports, when people are abusing drugs, young people may think that they can do that and get away with it,” Moore says. “Unfortunately, for most of us, the health consequences of taking these types of drugs will catch up with us sooner or later.”

The AMGEN Tour of California Anti-Doping program starts before the race with blood testing of all riders and urine testing of 30 percent of the riders. In addition, every day, the stage winner, current leader of the general classification and additional riders are screened for steroids, hormones, stimulants and chemicals that can mask the presence of performance-enhancing agents in blood and urine tests. There is also random full screen testing every day for additional riders.

“My small part is simply to follow an assigned cyclist from the moment he finishes the race until he provides a urine sample to ensure that there is no possible tampering with the test,” Moore says. “However, I am proud of even this small role. As both a race fan and a doctor, it is very important to me to ensure a level playing field, especially for the youth. If they know that it is a level playing field, they will be safer for the rest of their lives.”

amgen_eatEat Like a Champion

Sports nutrition tips for the rest of us from a PAMF registered dietitian

Road cyclists can burn as many as 900 calories per hour and sweat away pounds of water during a race. To avoid running out of fuel or dehydrating, they must make sure they get enough carbohydrates, water and electrolytes before, during and after races.

“Elite cyclists make careful choices about what they eat and drink, and there are lessons in this for the rest of us,” says Andrea Lerios, a registered dietitian and sports dietitian with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF).

One example is how top cyclists select sports drinks to improve their performance.

“There is a lot of marketing around sports drinks that can be confusing,” Lerios says. “A good sports beverage contains a mix of carbohydrates, sodium and potassium. These ingredients help prevent dehydration and provide energy when exercising longer than an hour or in very hot or humid conditions. However, they are not appropriate for the casual exerciser doing moderate exercise under an hour.”

When a person brings a sports drink along for a walk or a half-hour bike ride, they can easily end up consuming more calories than they burn. “The best exercise beverage for the regular person is water,” Lerios adds. “Sports drinks are not really necessary.”

Elite cyclists are also not afraid of healthy carbohydrates and fats. In fact, a top performing male cyclist may eat an average of 850 grams or 3,400 calories of carbohydrates per day.

“Some people think that carbohydrates will lead to excess weight gain, but cyclists need carbohydrates to fuel their muscles and help the body recover after a long ride,” Lerios says.

Good sources of carbohydrates for cyclists include whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, fruits and vegetables. A banana after a ride is an especially good idea because it also replenishes potassium lost during exercise.

In addition, cyclists must make sure they get muscle-building protein from healthy sources such as fish, chicken, turkey, beef, low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, nuts and soy. Fat from heart-healthy sources such as canola oil, olive oil and nuts is also important, Lerios says.

“For any elite athlete, nutrition is a key component of training,” she says. “Amgen racers consult experts and make strategic decisions about what to eat and drink. Amateur athletes often do not have the same knowledge about nutrition as the pros do and therefore make mistakes.”

In Santa Cruz County, one-on-one counseling with a nutritionist is available at PAMF’s Bay Avenue office in Capitola and its Watsonville office. For additional office locations and phone numbers, visit pamf.org/nutrition.

amgen_medSports Medicine for the Weekend Athlete

PAMF-Santa Cruz’s Rehabilitation Services Department takes patient-centered approach to management of sports injuries

When an elite AMGEN cyclist suffers an injury, he can count on a team of experts to help ensure a quick recovery. Weekend athletes deserve no less, say Daniel Marcus, M.D., and Nancy Lopez, P.T., who lead the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Santa Cruz (PAMF Santa Cruz) Rehabilitation Services Department.

“Many sports injury rehabilitation programs are designed for elite athletes,” says Dr. Marcus, who is the department’s medical director and is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pain Medicine, Neuromuscular Medicine, and Sports Medicine. “Our doctors and therapists can and do treat elite athletes, but we are equally concerned about the teacher or computer programmer who may suffer a sports injury. There is a perception that the consequences of a sports injury are more serious for elite athletes whose income may depend on performance. However, we feel that an injury in a regular person is equally serious if it prevents that person from working, caring for his or her family, or exercising for health benefits.”

At PAMF-Santa Cruz, doctors and physical therapists work together to do more than just try to fix what hurts. They talk to patients about what their personal goals are and develop individualized programs that will not only help the problem, but improve function and prevent re-injury.

“We are providing patient-centered care,” Marcus says. “Our programs are individualized and very functional. We recognize that someone who works and has a life outside of sport cannot rehabilitate an injury the same way a highly conditioned professional athlete with no shortage of time or resources can. In addition, we have an electronic medical records system that connects our doctors and therapists. A patient’s records can be reviewed simultaneously by the urgent care doctor, orthopedic surgeon, primary care physician and physical therapist.

Weekend athletes also are at greater risk for certain types of injuries than professional athletes who train daily with coaches and athletic trainers.

“We see a lot of injuries due to overworking certain body parts, poor technique or mistakes like not warming up appropriately,” says Lopez, who has more than 20 years of experience in treating musculoskeletal injuries and is the director of PAMF Santa Cruz Rehabilitation Services.

“Effectively treating these injuries includes indentifying what may have caused the injury in the first place,” Marcus adds. “Body parts function in concert with one another. If muscles in the abdomen, for example, are weak because the person works at a computer for eight hours each day, the body cannot transfer loads correctly. As a result of this muscle imbalance, there is an increased risk of injury and the athlete may keep getting hurt until he or she can fit in exercise during the week. By focusing on the whole person rather than just the injury, our therapists frequently improve our patient’s function and return athletes to their sport.”

Learn more about PAMF-Santa Cruz Rehabilitation Services at pamf.org/pt.

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