Despite temperatures that reached as high as 105 degrees in some places along the 102.7-mile route and climbs that took the cyclists as high as 11,000 feet, Lieuwe Westra of the Vacansoleil-DCM team sprinted to a win in the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday.
The riders began and finished their day in Escondido. In between they climbed Mt. Palomar.
This is the first time in the race's eight-year history that riders will be traveling from Southern California to the north.
This is the first time since 2009 that the race came to San Diego County, and the debilitating heat had riders putting frozen ice bottles around their necks and swerving whenever possible to catch a bit of shade.
Up-close views showed sweat salt caked on the faces of the racers.
But at the end, it was Westra, a 31-year-old Dutchman, who had enough energy to beat Spaniard Francisco Mancebo of the 5-Hour Energy P/B Kenda team.