Sunday, September 04, 2005

San Francisco Grand Prix

Dear daughter (age 5.5, she and I have been to all five SFGPs together) and I took BART into the City - $4.15 each way each person made for a $16.60 round trip... Usually I take BART for the convenience but with gas at $3/gal and the Bay Bridge toll it would probably have been about the same cost to drive (if I could find free parking). Met Sarkis on the train with his MTB and lots of other bike race fans, and we got off at Embarcadero right where the race
starts and finishes.

Rumors were that with Lance retired the crowds at this year's race would be much smaller - could be but not by much. Lots of people were there but the schwag expo was a *little* less elaborate than prior years. I scored some Don Francisco coffee, a Gerolsteiner/Levi water bottle, some Jelly Bellies, and a few other things. Then we walked down the block to watch the start.

Our plan was to walk the course during the first few laps, making our way to Taylor Street where the decisive selection is usually made. Rick called me from Fillmore and said he'd meet us on Taylor too. One thing that makes this race so much fun to watch is all the interesting people you see in between the laps... the kinds of people you can only see in San Francisco.

As usual in this race, the steep hills break the peloton into a bunch of splintered little groups. Michael Creed from Discovery was on a solo break with no chance of winning but he was the first one up the climbs for quite a few laps and the crowd loved him for it. Finally another break of three guys including McCartney and Lieswyn caught him and took over the race lead. Here's the photo I took:

The group of three lost the Kodak-Sierra Nevada rider on the next lap, Then a couple Gerolsteiner guys who had been chasing hard the last lap or so pulled one out and Fabian Wegmann caught up to the group of two. Here's my shot of that move:

Rick took a photo of me and daughter on the street, and you can see Alcatraz in the background.

Wegmann rode the last couple km perfectly and won the sprint to be the King of San Francisco. He looked really happy to win. I hope this race continues to grow every year, it's such an exciting and fun event.

Thank you Barclay's Global Investors. Maybe they're keeping track so check out that link. Also send them a thank you note like I did, telling them you appreciate their sponsorship. Here's a link to their website feedback form FEEDBACK (that's not specific to the race so be sure to put in a good subject line).

Here's a link to Ken Papai's digital photos of the SFGP - he makes my photos look like garbage. PAPAI

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