Amgen ToC – The Calm Before the Storm

Tahoe shoreline

Everyone is waiting to see what mother nature has in store for stage 1. I expect many of us will sleep fitfully, peering out our windows to gauge what’s happening as the storm is expected to arrive sometime after midnight. The sun set through a fast moving broken sky tonight, and the air smelled like snow was coming.

Earlier the afternoon mood at race HQ in the Montbleu hotel lobby was light and upbeat as the familiar cast of characters said their hellos and swapped stories between texts, tweets and calls. Amazing how distracted we all are now.

There was a Go-Pro-related huddle of managers, riders and media talking about some on-bike video complement to the coverage. If that comes off and the UCI doesn’t burst into flames it should be a big win for the fans, though as much as I like the output of the little cameras I think in their current form they detract from the clean lines of the racing bike.

They could remedy that with an aero version that attached to the underside of a road stem. VeloDramatic Patent Pending.

Chatted with my friend Glen Fant, owner of the Specialized store in Santa Rosa, super strong rider and good friend of Levi. Glen is reprising his role as Levi’s mechanic for this lap around California... last year he had the same responsibility at the Tour. Glen had some great stories from France, most of which I can’t relate but he’s obviously recovered from the Pyrennean descent that saw three team cars side-by-side on a single-lane road having an animated “discussion” His car was in the middle ;-)

As usual it took a while to sort out the media logistics at the press center (photo vest, parking passes etc). As it stands I’m definitely not on a moto for either of the first two stages... but there’s hope things will open up later in the race. In the meantime there’s nothing to do but check the routes, drive a little recon and figure out where something might happen.

That’s only half the battle of course, because you can park yourself almost anywhere during a stage race but the more dramatic and isolated the stage the less likely you'll get multiple cracks at the peloton. If I get one shot per stage that I like this week I’ll be happy, high stakes and long odds.

On the eve of this year’s race, I’m happy to say I’m in a better frame of mind than last year when the incident with the deer left me pretty shaken. That’s it for this dispatch, I’m off to look out the window, then bed. I’ve got tire chains, but I doubt any of the team cars or buses do.

2 Responses to Amgen ToC – The Calm Before the Storm

  1. Must have seemed you were back in Glencoe again Michael, at least you expect snow in Scotland during the winter months.