DANVILLE -- The first Mount Diablo summit finish in America's most prestigious pro bike race earned enough good reviews from fans and organizers that it may be back.
The crowds were big and excited. The Tour of California racers staged a stirring duel to the top on May 18. And TV cameras beamed out scenic views of the 3,849-foot peak to 200 countries.
And none of the more than 4,000 cyclists who pedalled up the mountain to watch the race were seriously injured on the downhill ride later, avoiding park rangers' worst fears about staging the event on a narrow, winding road in a relatively primitive park.
"We would love to come back to Mount Diablo and to Livermore, but it depends on our route selection," said Kristin Bachochin, the executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and a senior vice president of Anschutz Entertainment Group. "We think the stage went great."
Race organizers typically announce starting and finishing cities in November after considering which places appeal to racers and fans and which route provides a competitive event.
State park officials likewise were pleased with fan numbers, enthusiasm and safety in the park.
"I think it went very well," said Dave Matthews, a state park public safety coordinator with the Diablo Vista district.
He estimated that roughly 8,000 people -- some 4,600 of them recreational cyclists -- visited the state park that day, including some 1,000 people involved in staging the race.
He figures that perhaps 5,000 people came to Mt. Diablo State Park last year when the Amgen racers rode half way up Mount Diablo and then zoomed to a Livermore finish.
This year, racers began in Livermore and finished 91 miles later at the Diablo summit on the seventh day of the eight-day race.
Some fans who pedalled or walked up Mount Diablo for the race were upset that they weren't allowed on the small plateau at the summit, which was limited to VIP's who paid $250 or more for tickets, race officials and media.
Bachochin said the summit had very limited space, but the many other spots along miles of the mountain course were free.
Several cyclists said they were pleased Mt. Diablo State Park had plenty of portable toilets along its roads this year, unlike the race last year, and had many volunteers to meter the flow of cyclists riding down afterward and to watch over the event.
As some cyclists prepared to descend on race day, a snake slithered onto the road.
"A good Samaritan stood by the snake to escort it safely across," said cyclist Geoff Landon of Danville "That pretty well sums up how it went."
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff