19 May 2011

Stage 4 Tour of California

That was quite a stage for the fans
From Livermore to San Jose, the stage was laid out so it was very easy for the fans to see both the start and the finish of Stage 4. 
The day began in the start city of Livermore. It was a good set-up in the morning with the team buses parked on a parallel street to the main downtown boulevard where the race began. It was a calm morning with the smell of pancakes and syrup and coffee filling the air as the riders rolled to the sign-in stage on the main street, and eventually to the start line. The riders gave us one glorious neutral start lap before heading out of town. 
When the riders took off on their stage 4 journey, the buses moved and then the fans also moved. By bicycle or by car, we took off northwest on the back roads (bike) or major freeway (car) towards San Jose. My one impression of San Jose was - Policemen! There were police cars everywhere in that town because every intersection had to be sealed to allow the route to pass through safely. It was also unusual because the fan areas were split up. The team buses were down in town by the High School, the Finish Vendor Village was up the road at the base of the climb, and the VIP area and Podium were at the top of the last climb, 5km up the road - and it was a steep road!
A bit hard on the riders because they had to descend back down the 5km climb which by then was covered with lots of people on bikes and on foot. Of course if you were one of the fans on a bike, you may have had the ride of your life descending behind the Saxo-Bank team or any number of Pro Riders. It was a long day, but kind of cool logistics for the day, it was an unusual treat for the fan to be able to see and do so much. Oh, and the weather was hot!
Pictures from the day:
START - photographs from Livermore, Amgen Tour of California

I like this one of Levi with a fan
ready to race
George Hincapie
Team Leopard Trek leads the start

team cars!
FINISH - pictures from San Jose, Amgen Tour of California
My dog found some shade
wonder what that look means?

Andy Schleck at the finish of Stage 4

+ more later, for now I am on the road to Paso Robles ... and Solvang!!