Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tour of Utah

I went to the Utah Olympic Park this afternoon to watch the Prologue stage of the Tour of Utah bike race. This first stage was a very short time trial, about 1.2 miles up a steep hill. The finish times ranged from 4:05 to 5:22.

The bikes they were riding looked nothing like what I have in my garage. Carbon fiber everywhere. Funky shaped tubing.  These bikes were so light that I have to guess this rack was just keeping them from floating off like balloons.

It was a drop dead gorgeous day, sunny, around 80 degrees and 20% humidity.  This poor rider had his coach riding behind him, screaming something in Spanish similar to "go, go, go, pedal your ass off".  I can't imagine that really helps.

Photographing this kind of event is pretty boring.  One racer at a time, moving fairly slowly up the steep hill.  I apologize for the repetition.

This is the very last turn, up a steep hill, with about 250 yards to go.

There weren't that many of the big stars, but lots of the Tour de France teams were there.  This is George Hincapie, who has completed more Tour de France's than anyone in history.

Right behind him came Christian Vandevelde.  He was looking very comfortable and ended up 7th out of 116 racers.

Also from Garmin-Cervelo was Tom Danielson.  If you watched the 2011 Tour de France, Tom was the highest finishing American.

This guy was really pumping up the hill, but I wonder about having his weight that far forward.

There was a helicopter filming almost constantly.  Throughout the race it was swooping back and forth, popping up from below, and following the more famous racers.  It looked like it would be a blast to ride in but damn it was loud.

I would be quite happy bike shopping on the top of the BMC car.  Quite the selection and probably $15k each.

David Zabriskie is a local Utah favorite. With his time trialing strength, he should have rocked. He even dressed as Captain America.  Unfortunately he wasn't riding in that persona.  By the time he got to the last 500 meters, he was slowing down.  He finished in the middle of the pack.

Levi Leipheimer was the last one to go and finished in 6th. You can tell from the look on his face that he isn't saving much.

I won't catch any of the other five stages, but it should be interesting.  The course is tough, with lots of mountains along the way.  The only disappointment is they won't have a criterium in Park City.  Last year I really enjoyed photographing it.

Now we are off to Hillsboro, OR to visit with Julie's sister and her family.
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