If you have the chance, you really should attend a pro cycling race
A pro cycling race is a unique experience.
Granted, we are huge cycling fans. From the spring classics to the grand tours, we watch every minute of every broadcast (thank you NBC Sports Cycling & Radio Shack Tour Tracker).
But, even if you are not a cycling enthusiast, if the opportunity to attend a pro cycling event in person presents itself, do it. It’s like no other pro sporting event.
Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 start in Sonora, CA
The Sonora stage 4 start reminded me of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge 2011 Stage 1 in Salida – a small town that had done their best to welcome their visitors, complete with merchant windows decorated with bikes and the high school band to entertain.
The teams generally stay in stage finish towns, then transfer to the stage start towns in the morning, so there is an air of excitement as the spectators walk the streets waiting for the buses to roll in.
Then, the flurry begins as the buses & team cars arrive and form pit row. Bikes are unloaded, fans form vigils around team buses and you typically see Bob Roll roaming the street, interacting with fans, signing autographs, and preparing for an interview.
One of the most unique characteristics of pro cycling versus other pro sports is the ability to interact with world-class athletes minutes before they perform.
Not to mention, the chance to meet sporting legends. We hung out with Eric Heiden – yeah, that Eric Heiden – team doctor for BMC, one of the original 7-11′s and, oh yeah, he won some gold medals in Lake Placid.
The guys sign autographs, pose for pictures and then get on their bikes, sign in, take a few laps, line up and start.
Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or curious local, it’s hard not to be amazed by cyclists’ legs. Thighs as big as waists; amazing calves, and well…
(if you are a cycling fan, you’ve already guessed who it is,
yes, George Hincapie’s quite famous legs)
And then, just like that, they’re gone
The team cars immediately follow, the buses load up & leave, and 30 minutes later, its back to normal for the host town.
Stage 4 of the Amgen ToC 2012 left Sonora and 130.2 miles, 6 climbs and 2 sprints later, finished in Clovis. At times the peloton reached speeds of 43 miles per hour.
Peter Sagan, the 22-year-old Liquigas-Cannondale rider proved unbeatable for a 4th day in the row and remained in yellow.
Heinrich Haussler, of Garmin-Barracuda, also for the 4th day in a row, remained in 2nd.
Article by Kim Hull
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