Saturday, August 25

Stage 6: An Amazing Experience

It was a little hectic getting going this morning. We wanted to be in Golden by 9am. In the slightly chill air we struck out on the cargo bikes.

The ride to Golden went well. It was obvious people were biking in to Golden for the USAPCC festivities.

After tucking the Cannonball and Kona Lisa in the bike corral we strolled over to Washington to the VIP tent and snagged a well earned breakfast.

We rubbed elbows with local politicians, Leadville riders, regional cycling advocates, the CEO of the race and lots of excited people.

It was fun to watch as the race unfolded in front of us. Team and race vehicles lined up. People walked around looking important. Volunteers passed out sheets of rider trading cards. And then I realized we needs to move up the block to the announcers stage. 

After positioning ourselves at autograph alley, where the riders would come off the stage after signing in, we eagerly awaited our favorites.

Very soon we were rewarded for our patience as riders started coming our way. One of the early ones was Cadel Evans, last year's Tour de France winner. He was awesome, stopping to talk to Boone and signing his cards AND Boone's cycling cap. He even talked to Boone about the cap.

We collected quite a few autographs and I got lots of photos of the riders. Names we got include Christian Vande Velde, Andy Schleck, Timmy Duggan, Tom Danielson, Rory Sutherland, Jens Voigt, Dave Zabriskie, Rafael Infantino, Ivan Basso, Tyler Farrar, Taylor Phinney...Levi Leipheimer...and...George Hincapie.

Levi and Patrick Dempsey

George Hincapie on his last day 
of professional road racing

 Taylor Phinney of Boulder signing 
an autograph for Mandy

Finally the riders were all through and the race staff let us move closer to the start. We really couldn't have gotten any closer. I was about three deep from the barrier about five feet ahead of the arch, exactly even with where the leaders lined up. Beanie sat on my shoulders and Boone snuck up to the barrier. He was right in the middle of everything.

I couldn't quite get a good photo of the leaders, but I saw Dan Grunig from Bicycle Colorado up at the barriers.

"Dan!" When he looked back I held out my camera. He gave me a grin and took it. When he handed it back there were a few amazing pictures of the leaders, on the starting line, from the front.

Thanks Dan!!!

Then the madness began. The race was off and made two additional laps through town in front of us. Watching them scream through town was cool.

We ambled back home and made it in time to pick up the racers heading up Boulder Canyon on the Radio Shack Tour Tracker. Been watching ever since. As I write this the peloton is bearing down on Boulder for the Flagstaff finish.

I had been bummed because I hadn't been able to keep up with the race all week, but today was worth the price of admission. We had such a great time.

The stage finish today promises to be exciting.

(It was an amazing finish, Jens Voigt pulling through Boulder, Rory Sutherland then pulling away and never looking back to go on to win the stage, and finally Levi Leipheimer breaking out to take back the leader's

 Jens Voigt at the starting line. 
He made the stage interesting

What's exciting about all of this for me is that this is our home. We can ride out to Golden and check out the start of the race and then ride home and watch the rest on the computer.

Living in the Denver area has presented so many opportunities like this for us. Like seeing Lance Armstrong at Leadville. Like being a part of this greater Colorado cycling community.

Man, what a day!

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