21 May 2010

Tour de California Dreamin'

Being a fan at the Tour of California is great. Access to the small towns is well planned with relatively low traffic, easy parking, and fantastic rider accessibility. I traveled to the race start this morning for the 6th Stage of the Tour of California. The first of three stages I hope to attend over this coming weekend.

Centered in the small town of Palmdale, California, the start village was set up in a 4 block radius around a small park with a lovely fountain and shade trees. The morning was warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. Palmdale was not crowded compared to European standards of the throngs of fans that flock to stage starts.

This is exactly why I look forward to the Tour of California every year. I am able to walk from team bus to team bus, from rider to rider, to DS and back with a carefree easy flow led only by my fancy of who I would like to go visit next. It is like a delightful dance among my favorite sport figures.

I know them by name, I know them by sight, and this makes it far more enjoyable. I almost forget that (of course) they don't know me. I see them regularly on TV and at races every year. They are so familiar to me that I easily call out to cheer them on or tease them. Today I saw Fabian Cacellara, Mark Cavendish, Johan, JV, Bobby Ulrich, Chris Horner, Levi, Chechu, Sagan, Andy Schleck, Jens Voigt, and Tom Boonen, as well as many others.

Here I include a couple pictures from the ToC this morning: Andy Schleck (above) before the race, and Jens Voigt (below) rolling out of the start in Palmdale, CA. I have many more pictures to add later. Tomorrow I meet up with my family to watch the Individual Time Trial in downtown Los Angeles. More fun ahead.