Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tour of California! Oakville Grade!

I was happy to share in the Tour of California fever up here in Northern California. Luckily, the Winter's Criterium was available for us amateur's to get out our aggression before watching the real cyclists come through town.
I spent the entire day in a couple breakaway's gobbling up prime laps. Good thing I did because I came home with a set of Ksyrium rims and a bag of Marini Almonds. I love almonds! They pair nicely with Snapple and cheesy........I mean cheese.
A day later, the Calistoga/Napa crew headed up to Oakville Grade to watch Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California.  Happy Birthday Carl! What a terrible day! Not for Carl, but based on the weather.  After weeks of arm tanning sunshine, here comes the famous rain of Napa. Mix that with the steepest climb in all of Napa Valley and it was going to make for some entertaining cycling.
First up the Grade was the remnants of a 5 man breakaway that had been off the front since before Lake Berryessa. I was happy to see how they were creeping up the mountain. It gave me a sense of pride at how slow I have gone up Oakville Grade in the past. One of my favorite riders is bringing up the rear of the breakaway, Mike "Meatball" Friedman from Jelly Belly. Give up now, Mike. I can see Radioshack!
Hot on the heels of the breakaway, is Chechu, Lance, Levi, Horner, and Saxo's own Andy Schleck.
Much further back is none other than Stage 1 winner, the Golden Fleece wearer, and undisputed best sprinter in the world, Mark Cavendish. It's okay Mark, you only have Trinity Grade left to go. Oh yeah, then a quick 4 mile decent down pothole mountain roads.  Good luck with that! Across the road, Michael Raub is scratching his head in disbelief at all the excitement.
Hi Johan Bruneel........bye Johan Bruneel. You know cycling is getting popular in America when the Director Sportif gets as many shout outs as some of the riders. Note the Lucky number 13 being sported by Team Radioshack today.
Speaking of lucky, check out what I returned home to after my nice day chasing the Tour of California. I guess it is official. the Mrs. and I are moving. But don't worry, we have a few fun stops on the way planned before we make it back to Arkansas. Stay tuned.

No comments: