Cycling becomes a strange spectator sport when most of the crowd have ridden their bikes up a mountain. Yesterday's stage from Claremont to Mt. Baldy simultaneously demonstrated our devotion and short attention span re the great sport. On the good side, I was amazed at the effort everyone made on those super steep ramps to ride to the top. About a mile below the summit with a view of a two stretches of road I spent three hours bantering with the ascending peloton of fans. In spite of their suffering, everyone was quick with a smile (I'll have a big gallery of shots up on Zenfolio in a couple of days... you may be there); I loved that.
I didn't love the fact that the same crowd started down the mountain on bikes before the race had finished. Hundreds started the descent while there were still 40 riders coming up the mountain. Not only did this make for a very dangerous situation, but the fans missed half of the opportunity to watch the PROs. Had they been a little more patient they would have seen their favorite riders speeding down the mountain, instead of getting in their way.
Watching the pros descend, knee against top tube, is just a thrilling as watching them come up. I saw them all come down and predictably, stage winner Levi Leipheimer was last. Nobody else was paying any attention. I find that strange.