Once on our way again, Pete cruised ahead, as he was on a tighter timeframe and I casually jogged down the path, appreciating the cushion of the Hoka Bondi Bs on the sometimes steep trail. It seemed to take longer than anticipated to get to the race course, I think it was a bit longer than advertised, but I was able to get there for the 10th or so rider to start, with all the bigger names coming later as they start in reverse GC order.
I continued down the hill, negotiating the crowds the best I could with a double jogger and eventually found a nice shady spot for the girls, where I was able to watch the race 10 feet away and still be able to keep close tabs on them. We spent a bit over 2 hours watching the riders go by at 1, then 2 minute intervals and as the race progressed, the riders got progressively faster, to the point where it seemed almost surreal how fast they were going. Somewhere in the middle, Buzz walked by and I called him out, so we watched together for a bit.
The crowds were absolutely insane. It was just what I would imagine a stage of the Tour to be like, as thousands of rabid cycling fans went absolutely bat shit crazy, screaming, blowing horns, ringing bells, running in silly costumes..... the whole shebang. It was AWESOME.
After the second to last rider (Hincapie) went through, I positioned myself strategically at the juction of the bike path ahead of the crowds, ready to bolt as soon as I heard the race leader's time. Once he came in, I took off running up the hill.
This turned out to be one of the most intense challenging runs I have ever done. It was the perfect storm of conditions to get me fired up to push.
- I was eager to get to the top in front of the masses and not be stuck in traffic.
- The clouds were looking quite ominous on top of the pass where we were going and I was worried about getting the girls stormed on.
- I was fired up after watching the bike race, sort of like walking out of the theater after watching Rocky or Without Limits.
- And thus I was feeling extremely competetive, even though I was competing with bikes.
- I got TONS of positive and encouraging comments from the riders passing me by which inspired me to dig deep.
- But most of all, this had been a long day for the girls and they started getting a bit fussy and I needed to get them food and naps.
Amelie (l), Isabelle (r), they nearly stole the show and got a ton of attention and pictures taken
Very proud dad
A beautiful day in the mountains, perfect for a bike race
Amelie getting a closeup of the racers
Local boy, Tim Duggan
Lance was walking around saying "See this jersey! Doesn't anyone know who I am!!??"
The owners of this tent were gracious enough to offer up shade for the girls. They made many friends throughout the day.
Video of Andy Schlek
Andy Schlek from Jeff Valliere on Vimeo.