by Franz and Anne Kelsch
To the non cyclists, they might think a Tour of California is something you do in your car. But we are talking about Cycling here and that means the Amgen Tour of California professional bicycle race. Even the non cyclists have probably heard of Lance Armstrong. Today we got to see him race up some of the hills we have often climbed.
Eric and Connie Jorgensen offered their home for a big ACTC party to watch stage 3 of the Tour. They live right on the route, on one of the steeper hills of the whole week. It has been raining every day and the pro cyclists have had to battle the elements in both the Prologue and the first two stages. Today was no exception.
With no parking on the Sierra Road due to the race, we were initially planning on biking from a nearby place but as we were driving up to San Jose it was really pouring. Yesterday we had gone out for a bike ride with all our rain gear on and we were ready to do the same. But we thought maybe we could park off the road if we got there early enough so we headed straight to Sierra Road. We were able to park in the neighbor’s driveway, which was great. The rain had stopped by now so we thought it was a good time to get on the tandem. We made the long climb up Sierra Road, rated as a Category 1 climb for the Tour of California. It was windy and cold at the top but we stopped long enough to take a couple of pictures. I had not brought my big camera up with me on the bike so the iPhone filled in.
It would have been fun to stay at the top to watch the racers come up, but it was very windy so we decided to head back down towards the bottom and join the party. It was a good thing we went back down the hill because it started to rain again just as we arrived. It was not long before the racers came though. I now had my Nikon D300 camera, to capture the lead car.
Unlike last year, Sierra Road was at the beginning of the stage but even so, there was already a break away of 4 riders coming up the hill. You can easily see these guys were having fun!
Right on their tail was Mancebo, who was the race leader after the first stage, only to lose the lead yesterday.
Not far behind was the peleton. You can see Lance Armstrong in the middle of the group.
Everyone went by so fast, even though they were climbing. We did not have a chance to take many pictures.
The team cars were then following the riders up the hill.
After watching the racers come by we all went into Jorgensen’s house to watch the tour on theri TV.
It was a wet, but very fun day. Climbing up Sierra Road before the race, made it even more enjoyable. Unlike the riders, we were able to keep dry and get under an umbrella to watch them race up the hill. It looks like the weather will finally be nice tomorrow for Stage 4, something I am sure they will all much appreciate after four miserable days for the racers.