This was a really early start. The official start was at 8:30 am from Sausalito, but we had to get from Santa Rosa to Sausalito first. This meant getting our luggage out of the room and ready by 4:45 am. Woke up at 4:15 am. It’s a good thing my roommate is an early riser too, so there was no big deal about waking up so early.
We got to Sausalito around 6 am, and had breakfast in a really expensive bakery (the name escapes me though). The rain started to get harder and harder, and it was really nice to get some latte and oatmeal.
This stage went over the Golden Gate bridge, and down through Golden Gate Park (same route that I went on bike one week before). Our drop off point was down in Moss Beach. Pretty cool crowd … had a bunch of locals there, and spread my cycling education to them. I got them all excited about the race. Lynn texted me, telling me to look out for Eric’s flashing lights in the Course Director truck, just north of Half Moon Bay. I did see an Amgen truck in the gas station just north of me, but I didn’t realize it was Eric and Lynn in that truck. After they went on south towards Half Moon Bay, I see Lynn waving at me. Too funny.
After that, we had lotsa time to spare to get to the next stop, which is not until about a mile from the finish. One thing I got to realize is that with all the traveling, it allowed us to view some of the scenery that we might otherwise just blow right past. Case in point Pigeon Point Lighthouse. I’ve gone there many times, but never stopped to take any pictures. But this time, I finally stopped for a shot:
The rain stopped, and we could see a hint of blue sky in the distance, looking out over the Pacific Ocean.
We also stopped off for lunch before the turn onto Bonny Doon. Just by coincidence, all the other teams decided to stop here, where we got to see some of the live Versus coverage of the tour. It gave me another photo opportunity of some Hwy 1 rollies:
We drove over Bonny Doon, then it started raining again. Reach over the KOM, it just started to pour. Descending down Empire Grade, not only could I tell this would be a fast descent, but also a very slippery descent. The drop off point for me was the right turn at the intersection of Mission and Walnut. This was the first corner turn for me to marshall (i.e. Using flags to point riders in the direction of the course).
This area was not handled very well. They blocked off traffic about 3 hours early. By the time I got there, it was still over 1.25 hours before the lead rider would show up. There were a number of locals upset. One businessman had to get to work, and was pissed that he couldn’t pass through, and accelerated through the corner like a madman. I thought he was going to run over someone, but luckily he didn’t. Another woman came by, wanting to come through, and her reaction is “what is wrong with this city!”. It’s a good thing the CHP was dealing with that. But for those that came out to enjoy the cycling, it was a definite success.
There were several things the locals kept asking me:
Will I see Lance?
How long before the pack arrives?
Is that the last one?
How did you get that position (Course Marshall)
Since we had such an early start, the race finished a bit early … around 2 PM. That was cool, because it allowed us to get to San Jose without contending with too much traffic.