Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tour of Missouri

The Tour of Missouri concluded last Saturday in Kansas City and I was fortunate enough to watch this race in person. If you ever get a chance to see a Pro Tour peloton in the flesh, you owe it to yourself to do it. The speed of the grupetto is amazing and the ability to mingle with these superstars is unmatched in professional sports.

One downside--these guys are TINY. Stand next to them long enough and you will develop the self-esteem of a high school girl in a room full of super models. On the plus side, I think I met a lot of guys that I could take in a fight (and it is not very often that I get to say that).

Before the race started, we toured the tents of vendors and sponsors checking out the latest gear and products. Bissel had a bike on a trainer that was "connected" to a vacuum cleaner and a tube with liquid. If you could move the liquid far enough up the tube, you won a cycling cap. After watching several individuals score a hat but not a vacuum, Bryan decided it would be easy to win the hat. He needs to get the green liquid above the orange line in order to achieve his goal. I will let you decide if he was successful.

Eventually the race got underway. We moved several different times throughout the event looking for the best possible vantage point. Being in a corner was sweet because you could tell that these guys were just flying. Another plus was watching the caravan of cars taking sharp turns at too high of a speed. I am really surprised we don't see more car accidents in bike races. One negative about the corner is that the whole peloton flies by at such a high speed that you don't get to spot specific riders. We eventually moved to the top of a climb so that the riders would be going a little slower and we could see what position everyone was in (as well as allowing us the opportunity to sit in some shade). Our final position was in a glass walkway above the start/finish line that allowed us to see the final kilometer of racing and the bunch sprint.

Once the race concluded, we headed to the team buses to check out the bikes and the riders. My wife really wanted to meet George Hincapie and I honestly thought she had missed her opportunity. However, perseverance won out and she finally got her wish (I love this picture).

On our way back to the hotel we spotted a Jelly Belly rider with chain grease on his calf. Since we give Scott such a hard time about this, we figured we should photograph it and submit it as evidence in Scott's defense.

1 comment:

  1. Lessons Learned from our trip to KC for Stage 7 of the Tour of Missouri:

    Things we did correctly:
    1. Stay at the host hotel. The lobby was a great place to people-watch because the riders all met their teams in the lobby to go out to dinner. I saw George Hincapie, Allen Lim, and one whole team wearing their matching jackets (can't remember who - maybe it was QuickStep). I also saw Dave Zabriskie and I must say that he has perfect posture. He doesn't walk, he glides. In addition to the people-watching benefits, the food and merchandise tents and start/finish line were located right outside the hotel door. Very convenient.
    2. Go to the team bus area immediately after the race. It's fun to watch the equipment being dismantled, cleaned, and stored plus you will likely see the riders, which means you have opportunities for autographs or pictures.
    3. Scope out the area before the race so that you know where the best vantage points are.
    4. If you are watching from an area on the course that doesn't have speakers or a tv, keep your phone tuned to whatever website is providing real-time race updates.

    Things we could do differently next time:
    1. I can only think of one possible improvement: Go to the team bus area before the race to watch the teams warm up.