Amgen Tour of California was on this week, and as tradition, I took the week off. I mean why not?
It started out pretty spectacularly. I put out feelers to see who would be playing hookey, someone I can hang out with to watch the stage.
Lorri gives me a big surprise … She won a VIP pass for stage 2, but couldn’t make it. She offered it to me. Wow!
So I go there, not knowing where I’m supposed to go … I guess I’ll throw out the VIP term … That gets people’s attention really fast. I eventually get the star treatment and was able to meet Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, in person. But like an idiot, I didn’t think about getting any autographs, but I did get a picture.
Since I am in the VIP section, I was able to get very close to the finish line.
and I was actually able to get some podium shots too. That was really cool!
The finish was at the top of Metcalf Road at the motorcycle Park, which meant narrow, twisting switchbackroads leading to the park. These were also fairly steep roads, so when spectators ride up here, they have to be careful to control their speeds going down. Well, one of them didn’t, and went down, which meant that narrow road was blocked … Our shuttle couldn’t get to us. So we ended up waiting for the shuttle till about 6 pm (the race ended at 4 pm). Everything was being torn down, and be we are here waiting for our shuttle. Same thing happened last time it was here. No matter how many times they preach to slow down, take your time, someone gets hurt coming off the mountain.
The next day, the start is at Pismo Beach, which is a long drive. I originally wanted to go see the start, but I would have needed to get a really early start. To complicate matters, my dad had some stomach problems, and I felt I should go there, instead of going to the start. Oh well … Family matters take precedence always.
Dad is doing well … He’s getting up there in age, and diarrhea can be a common occurrence, so I just had to be on the safe side.
I was next planning to see the Queen’s stage on Thursday, up Mt. Baldy. That’s an epic stage, that actually does a loop from Baldy Rd to Glendora Ridge Road, to Hwy 39, up Glendora Mountain Road, back to Glendora Mountain Road, before going up Mt. Baldy to the ski lift. I could actually cat h them coming by twice. It was madness, lots of fun, and one big wild party.
There was a jester, guys in duck suits, superhero outfits (there was a guy dressed up in a Wonder Woman outfit). Only thing missing was antler man, and the priest.
This was at what we call the Cow Saddle. When they make the left turn onto Glendora Ridge Road, they have a short 10-13% climb up to this point. We were yelling, screaming, banging cowbells …
After the pelaton went through, and everybody left, I headed along the course to catch them on the return. I wanted to be see them coming up the KOM on GMR. I found a spot by the shack, and there was already a crowd settled there. While waiting, guys were forming a wave. Never thought I’d see that.
We can tell the pack was coming when we see choppers above us.
Of course, the big caravan of Vans, CHP, photo cars was another big indication.
I got a little better view this time, because it was not as insane as soon the Cow Saddle, but it was still pretty crazy.
Wow that was fun. However, spectators who don’t know how these races work, always think the exciting part is over and want to head down, not knowing it is not the end of the convoy …. The race is still going on. I gotta hand it to the Course Marshall … He kept everyone inline, had everyone behave very well.
I could have made the slog up the ski lift for more madness, but my legs weren’t feeling it today, but at least what I did see be was a blast.
Some people go to Europe, Hawaii, Asia for vacation …. Me, I follow a world class bike race. It’s my ritual.