I packed up the car with both my road bike and my around town bike and headed south out of town. I parked near Garden of the Gods, visited the team area near the visitor center, went to the start, and then raced on my bike downtown to watch the awards on the podium.
My day as a fan:
If fun is talking to Jens Voigt about fishing, and having Cadel Evans step out of the car and walk straight toward me, and having Frank Schleck smile and then hand me his water bottle just before he walked up to the start ramp, and telling a group of young kids just how cool Laurens ten Dam really is, and seeing DZ strut his stuff in his new red white and blue skinsuit, and getting to ride my bike in between all the fun is considered fun, well then I had fun today.
Jens opened up. He said, "I caught none, Frank caught all the fish." "It was beautiful at 10-mile canyon, as if you were the only person on earth, and nobody else was around, really beautiful," he said. On and on he went, I could tell he wanted to talk more about fishing, but there was this bike race going on around us.
The fans went crazy for Frank, Andy, Cadel, George, Ted King, Basso, Levi, Tommy D, and just about anyone else the Announcer announced at the start line. Were the crowds huge, no they were not, not in comparison to Europe, or even California, but those fans who were there were having a blast. It was similar to the early years of the Tour of California. This is a first year event, and I was able to move around very easily, which was a joy as a fan. I will look back fondly on the first year of this Tour.
Welcome to the first day of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge
and jelly beans
and some nice bikes
Familiar faces (Bob Roll)
Riders warming up and riding around the area.
Just another day at work
When Ivan Basso asks for an adjustment to his bike, mechanics hop to it
This was a cool vest (the temperature could be controlled)
Laurens ten Dam
Cadel was a little close.... super nice guy, he signed lots of autographs. And for the first time, in all the many races I have attended - I got one too. My first autograph and it was by Cadel Evans, cool. Then I got one by Jens, and Laurens ten Dam, and Jeremy Powers. I couldn't stop...
Then the LeOpard Trek boys showed up on the scene
Meanwhile the Liquigas mechanics were still working on Ivan's bike
As for Cadel, well I mostly just watched him because I ran out of disk space on my camera!!! I used my phone (this was the first sporting event I saw someone using an ipad to take pictures).
And the Tour continues tomorrow with Stage 1 - Salida to Mount Crested Butte