Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tour of California - Stage 8

Stage 8 took place in Westlake Village, CA which is a couple miles northwest of Los Angeles. The race started at a mall in Thousand Oaks, CA and had a neutral roll-out until it reached the real start/finish line in Westlake Village. The rider would do 4 laps on a brutal 20 mile(ish) circuit with 2 big climbs each lap. Due the layout of the race, I decided it would be too hard to try and go to the initial start and then jump in my car to try and catch the rest of the race in Westlake Village. This ended up being a great decision as I was able to snag and amazing spot to watch the race.

This post will be much shorter than the previous one, I promise! I spent pretty much the whole day in the same spot because it gave a fantastic view of the race every time it came around and the race announcer kept the fans updated (as well as the flatscreen behind him...more on that later.) My only regret of the day was not somehow procuring a bike and riding out to the the climb where craziness ensued.

The main thing I learned standing in the same spot all day was that there were not a whole lot of people in attendance that knew anything whatsoever about cycling. Now that I sound like an elitist, let me give you some examples. The large family in front of me was decked out in exclusively free t-shirts. They singlehandedly repped just about every sponsor of the tour of California...and cheered more for the police cars than the actual racers. The man standing in front of me at the end of the race remarked to me, "Isn't it funny that the guy leading the race is named Mitt Romney?" For those that are unaware, the race leader, and winner's, name is Michael or "Mick" Rogers. The person near me who seemed to know the most about cycling was the drunk senior citizen who spoke exclusively in a foreign language and was waving a Slovenian flag that appeared to be signed by none other than the Slovenian Time Trial Champion, Jani Brajkovic. This alleged cycling knowledge was unfortunately removed by the Police after he tried to steal a folding chair from the aforementioned family.

Near the end of the race, I spotted prolific cycling blogger Neil Browne (a.k.a. @neilroad) of whom I am a huge fan. So I used the zoom on the camera to take a creeper picture that was reminiscent of my sister's pictures of *NSYNC from when she was 14.

I promised this post would be shorter, so I must end the stories. I shot a lot of awesome (or what I consider awesome) video. I have posted it all in chronological order below. Hope you enjoy!

The field rolls through the start line after the neutral roll-out:

Lap 2 begins as the break rolls through, followed by the peloton:

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) and Mark Renshaw (HTC-Columbia) who dropped out of the race earlier in the week threw on their team kits to take a ride through the finish line! In the middle of the race!

The break begins the third of four laps:

The peloton begins the final lap (I accidentally deleted the video of the break grrrr):

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) beats out U.S. National Champion George Hincapie (BMC) to take the final stage! Mick Rogers rolls through shortly after in the Golden jersey to take the overall.

1 comment:

  1. I was at the Oaks mall (where stage-8 started) the day before, there were signs adverising the race everywhere. One woman asked another what was going on, the woman replied that "Amgen was putting on some kind of bike-a-thon". So... I guess Mitt Romney won the bike-a-thon.