Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tour of California Prologue in San Francisco

(I was really sick Friday and not well enough yesterday to ride the Mountain, I'm REALLY glad I was pretty much over it by last night)

CJ and I took the BART to the City and got there about 12:45. We scored some schwagg including Jelly Belly Sport Beans, water bottles, a bike bell, and way too many Toyota thunder sticks. I also talked to the guy who's co-authoring Saul Raisin's upcoming book and he was selling Raisin Hell stuff so I got some socks and CJ got a wrist band.

The Amgen booth had a board to sign, then they asked for donations but we grabbed a bike bell and ran.

The decorations layout of the expo and start areas were really professional and grand. This is not your average industrial park crit. (I think they airbrushed George's varicose veins out of this poster)

Too bad these TVs weren't spread out over more of the course... they had commercials on them in between riders.
The crowd at the start area was enormous, and the expo was packed, so we walked down the course a ways. Both sides of the street were full of people until we got about 300 meters past the start box. After that you could find a place on the curb to sit down and take some photos. Adam spotted us early on - he was with his wife and some friends and he brought his Italian World's jersey hoping to get some autographs. Then Rick and his son found us so we set up camp there for a while and made noise and waved our flags for each rider. I realized here that the start list put out by was completely wrong regarding rider jersey numbers so it was essentially worthless except for the team rosters.

Plenty of places along the route to get close to the action if you didn't need to be at the strategic spots.

It was actually getting too warm in the direct sun so after a bit we walked farther up the course and found a shady spot that also had a grassy bit for the kids to play on. There was a volunteer course marshall there who was very adamant that no one put their feet in the gutter - they had to be up on the curb. But he had the official list with the real numbers and start order so we put up with him.

All the big names got the biggest cheers so the crowd really seemed to be knowledgeable. Cancellara in the rainbow jersey for TTs, Bettini without his, Hincapie, Zabriskie, and especially Leipheimer drew lots of extra excitement.

This guy got a huge cheer when he said "We should do this every year, with Levi winning the Prologue in San Francisco."

UPDATE: Despite multiple shameless iterations, Rick and I failed in our attempts to get ourselves on the TV coverage.

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