By Roger Bird.
The USA has hosted many big, important road bike races and I’ve been lucky enough to see many of them. I was in San Diego last week for the Tour of California but I wasn’t there to spectate, this trip was all business. One thing we try to specialize in is buying the pre-ridden pro road bikes directly from the teams and offering them to you, our Racery customers.
Hinault and LeMond battling it out in '86
Speaking of watching pro bike races, I’ve been there to see Tour de Trump, back in the 80’s and watch it become Tour DuPont in the 90’s. I was in Philly several times for the USPro Cycling Championships. I watched Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond battle at the 1986 Coors Classic, and the same year, I watched Moreno Argentin win the World Cycling Championships in Colorado. I was also blessed to have been at the Tour de France six different times, mostly during the Lance era. I’ve ridden up and down many of the world- famous climbs including Venotux, Alpe d’Huez, Tourmalet, Galibier, Madeleine, and the riding is always better than I could dream of but there’s still nothing like seeing the best of the best riders in the world work their magic on two wheels.
Almost go time.
It takes a city, to support a big ride like the Tour of California.
Although I left town before the racing began, it was still a thrill to just be around it. The Tour of California is the premier road race in North America and the only time this year we will see the pros from Europe step foot on our soil. I stayed at a hotel only a stone’s throw away from the start / finish line for the opening stage on Sunday. Two days before the 18 teams took to the streets of San Diego for their first of 8 stages, works crews were already working to erect the massive collection of tents, sound systems, spectator fencing, and press broadcasting equipment.
Team Novo Nordisk setting up camp at the ToC
Holowesko Citadel Team ready to go
After a quick trip to the bustling start area, I hopped an uber for the 25-mile drive to the lesser-populated and hillier-country of north San Diego to meet up with the teams. The teams set up outside of the city so they could have room to build bikes and wash their new team cars, as well as have safer streets and attractive terrain for the racers to train and prepare for the start of the race.
You may really want to pay attention to this sign
It never ceases to amaze me the scope of logistical complexity, especially for a multi-day stage race that travels from one town to the next every day. I hope you tune in to the racing on TV. Look for it on steephilltv.com or better yet, come by The Racery Thursday and Friday mornings from 7-10am and watch the racing live.