|Liquigas-Cannondale girls in Denver ©Photo by PedalDancer™|
do not chase just one guy Okay this might apply to life in general, but it also applies to cycling. If I camp out with all eyes on Andy, I could miss Tejay Van Garderen standing right next to me, who happens to be one heck of a great young rider (albeit with a penchant for changing jersey colors every day). I try to remember to look closely, but think broadly, at a bike race. Okay so I didn't get Andy's signature, but really Jens Voigt is where it is at for me anyway! There were over a hundred riders at the race, all the best at what they do.
|Andy Schleck in the large crowd in Steamboat Springs, Stage 5 ©Photo by PedalDancer™|
|Tejay Van Garderen on a quiet morning in Salida ©Photo by PedalDancer™|
go for it I saw far more than I had hoped at the race. What I expect rarely happens, but the unexpected is the most memorable (like asking Jens how many fish he caught, and meeting others who had read my blog). Being overly cautious or tentative will result in nothing more than missed experiences. When being a fan I keep going until the bikes are put away and the stage is taken down. Go up and chat with that rider or team staff member. Courtesy, confidence and enthusiasm (plus a cowbell and a flag) is about all a fan needs to have a excellent adventure.
|Jens Voigt in Colorado Springs ©Photo by PedalDancer™|
stop and share Everyone is there to have a good time. Being at a race is my time to fit in and connect to others who can relate to walking around on a mountain pass in road shoes (actually I bring flip flops, but you get what I mean), or want to marry Andy Schleck (actually I don't, I'll take Bernie), or might admire Jens Voigt as much as I do (actually he told me he admires me - kidding!). Nobody else in the office gets the connection to pain that I share with Jensie. I think the 1 million fans surrounding me at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge understand the thrill of the sprint and the agony of defeat. I am with my people. I want more.
|The official Routt County chapter of the Jens Voigt fan club ©Photo by PedalDancer™|
wear your pride You can never have enough cowbell or flags or screaming fans. If I noticed anything about this first year race it was that fans have not accumulated the years of t-shirts and hats and history that the fans in Europe have. In Europe the fans wear their pride as our Bronco football fans would. They look ridiculous, but that is the point. I yelled out to two fans wearing only skimpy speedos on Vail Pass, "you've overdressed for the occasion!" I also handed out 50 free American flags on Vail Pass simply to share the tradition. Less speedos, more fan apparel, more flags, more cowbell!
|fans on the road during Stage 5 to Breckenridge ©Photo by PedalDancer™|
gear matters "What do you have in that napsack?" I was asked. "All my essentials," I replied. Cowbell, flag, polka dot climbers hat, road chalk, tahini nutella rice cake sandwich, phone, cameras, rainjacket, knee warmers, and cap." Even when I set out to climb up a mountain pass in 75 degree weather, it storms in the afternoons in the mountains of Colorado. I was so cold I was shaking my bike frame on the descent from Independence Pass. I was happy for my essentials. Even for the road chalk so I could scribble out - if found, please dethaw cyclist.
|Michael Gibson and Sherman Towsley on Independence Pass ©Photo by PedalDancer™|
water is heavy Although essential to survival, the stuff is gosh darn heavy to carry. I'm a traditionalist, water belongs in bottles in bottle cages on the bike. Extra water belongs in team cars. I apparently need one of those. Although I would have been fine - there were people on the passes selling water. I even saw a roadside fan on the highway between Avon and Steamboat holding a sign which read, "Free beer, cyclists only!". I supposed that would have worked in a pinch.
Tour Tracker Loved it!
|I swear this is Cadel Evans - t-shirt!|
bring a pen Bring two. Riders
|This pen does not belong to Tommy D ©Photo by PedalDancer™|
bring your bike or bikes Packing list: 1 road bike + 1 townie bike = ready to chase a tour in Colorado. The smartest thing I did was to bring two bikes with me, it enabled me to avoid traffic and park and ride around town to find the key locations like start, team buses, sign-in, finish, VIP, parties, friends, etc. My townie bike had locks and lights so I could enjoy a drink and ride back to my hotel. My road bike is pure and light and my main machine. It brought me easily up the passes.
One big playground for a fan
|The team area at Garden of the Gods, Prologue ©Photo by PedalDancer™|
do what you are good at: I am good at compiling information, enjoying the simple pleasures in life, and encouraging others. I care little about promoting myself, but I do care greatly about promoting the sport. I am glad others excel at tweeting and writing up race results, taking excellent photos that inspire me, and offering their opinions - that is their niche, I depend on them, but I connect with the fans, because I am one.