10 days, 8 stages, and 7 hotels later I can official say that I have survived my first professional cycling tour expo. Woohoo! The Tour of California was all that I thought it would be, epic cycling, lots-o-work, pro athlete sightings daily, and a couple of delicious meals thrown into the mix. Figuring out how to eat well, healthy, and affordably while on the road is something I am still figuring out. This is something I hope to share with y’all in the future. I’ll tell you it involves a lot of fruit, nuts, water, and TRX.
Back to the Tour. My favorite day of the tour was stage 2 in Palm Springs. After a grueling 120 miles the peloton faced a 5 mile wall-of-a-climb up the tram road to the mountain top finish. Our booth was set up along the climb just 500 meters from the finish, perfect for spectating. By the time the riders reached the 500 meter mark they were swerving back and forth across the road (not something you see every day from Tour de France caliber riders) and they were sweating so much you would have thought a stream of water was being poured on them continuously. One rider was so spent he just fell off his bike less than 100 meters from us. Totally epic.
Palm Springs was a day for the strong men and I expected to see the 23 year old phenom Peter Sagan leading the charge up the climb (Columbian climber Janier Acevedo won the stage). So did his team director who just so happened to be standing right behind me. Quite some time after the first rider passed I saw the lime green glow of a group of Cannondale riders making their way up the climb. Tucked inside the group was Sagan himself! As the group rolled by Sagan stopped and proceeded to exchange strong words in Italian with his director before finishing the stage. I stood there mildly star stuck snapping pictures of the awkward encounter. Goal #1 of the ToC achieved.
Other highlights included: Evelyn Stevens, and Julie Dibens sightings at the Time Trial Invitational at stage 6, KP accompanying me on the drive down to San Diego, 2 great bike rides in Santa Barbara, and delicious sea food chowder at Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach, a bomb scare in Livermoore, and heckling riders struggling on hills while riding Specialized's new electric bike the Turbo.