Amgen Tour of California is the week, and as I have always done, I take a week off of work, aka PTO, or Personal Time Off. Yeah, I know, it’s sad that I’m not off to France, or Hawaii, or something like that for vacation … but spend it local, watching a bike race.
Here’s my justification though … Where else will you find world class athletic competition come to your backyard, and you get to view it … for FREE!!!! Ok, so it’s not quite my backyard. I had to drive > 1 hour, to get to Laguna Seca Raceway, and I had to ride about 1.5 hours to get to Morgan Hill, but I didn’t have to pay to get in.
So I got to view Stage 3, at Laguna Seca Raceway, a 2 mile racetrack, most known for motorcycle racing. It was cool to have a cycling race here on this track. I got there early, and it’s a good thing I did. I was able to take 1 lap around the track. It was pretty awesome!
Riding through that lap, it wasn’t really easy. It had some significant pitches in it, but you only see either motorcycles race through here, or the pros racing here on their road bikes. It’s much different when weekend warriors go and try ride this. It was cool to ride through the corkscrew on this course.
I had to spend some time to waste, while they set everything up, so I decided to climb around the surrounding streets. With just that little jaunt, I wound up with a 13.4 mile, 1500 foot climb ride … at least I got some workout in.
The race itself was really exciting. I ended up watching it from inside the last corner before the finish. It was cool to see the live video feed, then seeing the racers live in front of you as the speed pass you.
I also saw Stage 4, which is the time trial. It was held in Morgan Hill, so I decided to ride over from home. It was a good 30 mile ride out to the start. They closed the course off at 10 am, and I get there via McKean, and there were at least two very visible signs, stating there is a race today, and the road will be closed from 10 am to 4 pm. Even with these warnings, there were a few cars that went all the way on this road, only to find … the road closed! They had to turn around and backtrack … one guy even was trying to get to work … WTF … can’t you read the signs?
Anyhow, I took a few pics right after the left the start ramp, and a few when they finish the course.
After taking a few of these pictures, it became clearly evident that I would not be able to tell who each of these riders are. But it was really exciting. The only drawback is, that with the time trial, you get all these riders passing by you for 2 hours … that’s 2 hours of standing up. That gets you a bit fatigued .. and I still have 25 miles to go to ride back home, and in a stiff headwind!
There is just nothing like watching a tour live, especially when you see others as enthusiastic about this sport as you are.
Where else would you see something like this?