Stage 4 starts in downtown San Jose, and after a few miles, they climb vertically up Sierra Road. Anyone, who could take the day off, who was anyone in cycling in the area, made the trek over to Sierra Road. Some in fact climbed it all the way to the top … yours truly included. Here’s proof … me and my friend Michael, at the top by the KOM.
They actually had an amateur competition … a Sierra Road hill challenge. They had it all professional, with a booth and everything. It’s pretty cool. Too bad I didn’t find out about till later. My friends Chris and Deborah did the challenge. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t know about it. Otherwise, I’d be stressing about how good … or how bad I did. This way, I didn’t have to tweet about my power output to the rest of the Wrecking Crew. LOL
I also got to hook up with a bunch of old friends. This seems to be what the tour does … it provides reunion of sorts.
Now this was a change … it was actually sunny out there. The last time I was up here, for the Tour of California, it was sunny too. Maybe this isn’t cursed after all.
After being moved around a bit, I situated myself on the right side shoulder of the finishing stretch of the KOM. I had some really excited cycling fans to the left of me … these are the type that can’t just stand behind the white line, and have to get in the middle of the road, yelling like a crazed animal, ringing their cowbells … and obstructing everyone’s view in the process. Why do I complain about this? Well, there is this law of physics, you see. In order to take a picture of an image, the light that forms the image of the object need to reach the CCD of the camera by line of sight. If this line of sight is obstructed, you won’t get the image you want.
I was lucky enough to get one shot of the first two cyclists to make it up the KOM. It was not one of the top GC contenders, but it was still cool to see them really charging for the line. Gotta love Gimp (open source alternative to Photoshop).
What’s my point? Well, if you are at the top of a KOM, and it’s a very popular KOM, don’t even try to take a picture of the racers as they go past you. You won’t get a shot in. I should have learned from my experiences at Balcolm Canyon 2 years ago on TOC … same thing happened, but I guess my mind is going these days.
After the pelaton had gone through, we decided to descend the other side by way of Felter, then Calaveras, then back to the cars. Chris and Deborah didn’t know this route, so I decided to guide them through. It’s a nice alternative, instead of just doing an out and back … plus descending the 16-20% grades we had just climbed, didn’t seem like a lot of fun.
Everything was going alright, until the cars in front of us just stopped. One of them was a Calfire truck, and one thing I feared was that it was a cyclist down. Why did I say that … it turned out it was a cyclist who had gone down. Looks like they already had him in a neck brace and on a stretcher. Oh, I hate seeing that. This is the second day in a row I have seen this, after coming down a hill after watching the TOC go by. Why, people why??? Be careful when you are descending. It is not good karma to have cycling accidents on the day of the TOC.