--What a day! Last year's Sausalito to Santa Cruz stage was amazing and this year's didn't disappoint. In fact, it was better because I got to see the start in SF. I headed over a few hours before the start.
I walked around a bit before spotting the Haussler lookalike on Cervelo Test Team.
Then, I ran into Ken Conley who was out taking pics. I asked him if he had a moto but he says there's a pecking order and then if you get a spot, you still have to pay. Really cool guy, amazing pics. Check him out.
After that I came across the ex-Specialized angel:
She was out with Hunter Ziesing of Echelon Cycling. They put on Gran Fondos and you should all check them out (an upcoming one with Horner in Portland).
Then, I walked over to the Garmin van and caught a glimpse of Ryder which was really cool. Vaughters came out and I got a pic with him:
(I was trying to tell the old man who had my phone how to take the pic. Luckily a buddy snapped one of us.)
After that, it was time to camp out at the HTC van. I missed Cav last year so I wanted to see him. First, Eisel came out, then Grabsch, then Van Garderen, then Renshaw. For some reason they all had really dirty bibs. I know they've got white kits but this is your biggest market, guys. Besides, that's not PRO!
Finally, Cav came out and signed autographs. I could care less about autographs though so I just told him thanks for coming to Cali. He said thanks for having him. End of conversation. Luckily, Jan got a pic of Cav and me.
See, that's Cav, and the head in the bottom right, that's me.
By now most of the riders were heading to sign-in so I skipped over. I decided to skip watching them roll out and headed to the car [so I could get on my way down to Tunitas]. I drove a bit and then waited for @jwbender and Jan. I got out and watched them roll by.
Jan and Jim showed up and we headed to Tunitas (after they stopped at Chipotle and ripped my heart out because I thought we were going to miss them on Tunitas!). Thirty minutes later we were there.
The road was packed with more people than last year. Plus, this year they were going down the other side, King's Road, and coming back up 84. Twenty minutes after we got there the breakaway came through. I was too busy screaming for Andy Jacques-Maynes, a Cal alum, to get pics. Jan got some killer pics though:
Then, the peloton rolled through and I screamed until my throat was sore. That's cycling for you. Wait for hours all for a few glorious seconds. Then, do it again.
I jumped on my bike and rode over to 84 to watch them come back up. They came through right after I got there and Radioshack was on the front. I saw Horner riding second wheel and yelled at him. He looked over, gave a half smile, then nodded. Cool guy. I met him last year at the Vuelta before he crashed in Liege. He's one of my favs.
I rode back to the car and headed home. Tour of Cali, you rocked me all week long.
In short, Sagan has solidified his spot as one of the best young talents. Zabriskie still gets all my cheers when it comes to the TT (sorry Levi). Tony Martin is officially a manimal after his 200k on the front yesterday, and then to go on and win the ITT today. Phil Liggett said that Renshaw, after being in a break most of the day, still lead out Rogers yesterday--incredible. Glad he's recovering from his illness. Chicchi still has it. Lars Boom rocks. Race officials prove they're real braniacs by cutting the sprinters after yesterday stage (FYI: they wouldn't even do this in le Tour. Cav et al put off the second biggest Tour in Europe to come here and you cut them two days from the finish. Grow a brain. The reason this rule is optional is because fans want to see these guys.) They did, however, provide AMAZING coverage online. So much better than Versus. Glad the ASO started televising in France. Don't forget to watch the final stage tomorrow online. American cycling is on the come up. Even better, my mom came out to watch, big ups! I'll leave you with a killer pic she took of Mike Friedman...