Amgen Tour of California Prologue
February 14, 2009
The most awesome professional road bicycling race in the USA takes place right here in California every year. It's the Amgen Tour of California, and I'm especially jazzed this year since my friend Matt has worked so hard for many years to bring a stage right here to Santa Cruz, and this year is when he's finally done it. Charlotte caught the racing bug with all the excitement and suggested we head to Sacramento to watch the opening prologue, what a great idea!
A few of the police that will be busy making sure the race is safe.
A few of the scenes while we wait for the start. I want one of those team cars following me around on training rides. Maybe when I get just a little faster.
The organizer's are encouraging people to fill up the finish area with chalk messages. Monica let's Lance know she's rooting for him.
It's fun watching everyone add their own messages to the road, but it looks a little tricky for the riders that are trying to warm up. The riders have to be pumped with the hundreds of thousands of people that have shown up to cheer them on.
Charlotte shares a little of the love with our local favorites Ben and Andy Jacques-Maynes along with everyone's superstar Lance Armstrong.
Lots of cool sites to see including a great bike fair. The new electric Dura-Ace is looking very sweet.
Hey, there's Tyler Hamilton!
Charlotte and Monica have camped out by the starting line, while I head over to the Peloton Club tents at the finish. The girls got an awesome view of all the riders getting ready to start their 5 minutes of pain.
Monica gets a shot of Andy before his start.
Charlotte is the luckiest person on the freakin planet. She staked out a spot next to a garbage can in the midst of this huge mob. Lance steps out and looks for a spot to warm up, and they setup the trainer right next to her. She got to watch him get ready for over ten minutes. Very cool.
And then Levi Leipheimer sets up there next. I am so jealous.
Meanwhile my camera is taking tons of pictures a second trying to catch a good shot of the guys flying to the finish. It's really tricky especially with all the people squeezed in on both sides of me. There are a few good shots in here, so enjoy.
Most of the way through it occurs to me that I might get a good shot if I take some photos after they pass me. It's quite a trick to fire off a group of shots as they approach me, then instantly swing around and crank the zoom to fire off a bunch more. It took me a little while to get good enough at it, but there are some good shots of these also.
There goes Tom Boonen.
Then Tyler Hamilton.
Lance was almost impossible to get once the mob started pushing and leaning over the rails.
Next is Christian Vandevelde.
Followed by the incredibly fast winner of the stage Fabian Cancellara.
Michael Rogers is a rocket also.
Floyd Landis didn't post a very good time compared to the big guys.
And here comes Levi Leipheimer the eventual overall winner.
Charlotte liked the look of the local team Jelly Belly team car and bus.
And then Charlotte manages to get yet another shot of Lance while he cools off after the race.
Our governor Arnold presides over the podium awards. Nice job guys.
I am so glad we came to Sacramento for the opener. It was a real blast and it didn't start raining until the race was over. Talk about luck. Charlotte and Monica head back home, while I hang out for dinner, lodging, and the next stage in Santa Rosa tomorrow. I'll be meeting up with my friend Matt, whose the guy responsible for bring a stage to Santa Cruz this year. Since he's the chairman for the stage, I'll be having dinner with lots of big names in cycling like Davis Phinney and his wife, and Lance Armstrong. Charlotte may have gotten ten minutes next to him, but I'll be sitting five feet away from him while he talks to everyone for a good chunk of an hour. How cool is that? Tomorrow morning I'll drive down to Santa Rosa for the finish while Matt does the chairman ride in some really horrible weather. I wish I could have done that one too.