My first race: Amgen Tour of California, Stage 7

I have absolutely never been to a professional cycling race. I didn’t really know what to expect, but can I just take this time to say… it was absolutely awesome! We got there almost two hours before the racers were expect to reach the finish line because it was A) Southern California, on a beautiful day, on a Saturday, B) General Southern California freeway traffic, and C) typical L.A. area parking woes. Thus we found ourselves with a lot of time on our hands and lucky for us, the sponsors were out in full force and we got to check out some sweet bikes from the likes of Trek and Canyon. BMC’s pro team trailer was parked in a dirt lot right near where we parked which was pretty sweet as I’d never seen a post-race staging/mass bike cleaning before. Sadly, they did not accidentally leave behind a bike.

Turns out most of the teams ended at this lot post-race, and here’s as close as I’ve ever been to a Canyon Aeroad bike:

canyon.jpg

::Drools:: I love my bike, I really do, and I don’t have any intention of replacing it any time soon, but….come on, look at those bikes!

If there’s one thing that watching a race on TV does not prepare you for, it would be just how damn fast those pro cyclists are coming down the last 150m or so. We were following along on the Tour Tracker and knew Evan Huffman from Rally Cycling was in the leading group, but he basically came by in a blur of orange followed closely by a second blur of light blue and black (Team Sky) before winning the stage. Not too far behind were several more blurs and we only spotted Peter Sagan by the bright green sprinter’s jersey before he was gone in a flash.

In the end it was a super fun event to go to and I’m already looking forward to catching the tour next year. Maybe by then I’ll have the leg strength to ride up a climbing stage and catch the riders when they’re going SLIGHTLY slower. I also got to saying congratulations in Polish to Rafal Majka as he pulled of to the side which was kind of awesome. I came away with a slick Katusha cycling cap and probably the one thing I was *hoping* would be given away as sample packs…Jelly Belly Sport Beans. I love regular Jelly Belly jelly beans and had been checking out the sport beans for a mid ride snack option for a while. The only thing that kept me from buying some online was not knowing if they’d have that weird taste that energy foods typically have. Happy to report they taste really good (though I’ve never been a fan of pear and that’s still just as true) and I’ll poke around my local sporting goods stores to see if I can snag some pouches for my next ride. Maybe someone carries watermelon?

Anyone else been watching the Tour of California on TV or the Giro? I’m getting pretty excited about the grand tours!

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