Monday, August 24, 2009

Tour of Utah Stages 3-5

I probably should have broken this blog post down into different days, but too late. There are a lot of pictures, so bear with me, this is really long...

Stage 3 Time Trial
I didn't have volunteer duty on Friday's TT at the Larry H. Miller Sportspark, but I couldn't resist driving clear out to Tooele to see the race anyway. The racers were averaging about 30 mph at this race, so it was hard to get a good picture, but I got a few.

Chase Pinkham cooling down after the TT

Floyd Landis after his TT race

Dave Zabriskie finishing the TT

Stage 4 Road Race
Saturday's road race started in Park City and ended at Snowbird Ski Resort. Early in the day, I rode the Alpine Loop to chalk some encouragement on the roads. I had forgotten that the amateurs were racing the course in the morning, and I got caught up in it all. For a while I had people cheering for me and some of the guys I passed were telling me that I was the first woman they had seen.

After I stopped to chalk the road the first time, I really got passed by a lot of riders. If I had just kept moving I probably could have beat the rush. Just after passing Sundance, I got caught by the lead Cat 1/2/3 women. I rode with them for a little way before they dropped me.

I stopped to chalk the road and barriers several more times.

Had I not stopped so many times, I think I could have made it past most of the carnage on the way back down. I saw more wrecks, wounded bodies, and blood Saturday then I care to ever see. My hands were cramped and refusing to grip from braking most of the way down. Nearly every corner I came around had a vehicle stopped in the road helping a wounded biker. It was insane! Nearly to the bottom of the canyon I came across a three-mile long back up of stopped vehicles. Little did I know, until I came across the 18-inch wide stream of blood in the road, that someone had just been air ambulanced out of the canyon. Apparently a group of cyclists hit the back of a SUV when it hit its brakes to avoid a car that drifted into its lane. One of the guys went through the back window and cut himself open to his jugular vein. I hope he's healing quickly.

Anyway, on to the race. I course marshaled at the turn to the Alpine Loop. I had been told that no course marshal was needed at that corner, but had insisted that one was needed. I'm glad I got my way. The police did not shut the intersection down the way they had last was all up to me. I felt like I seriously put my life in danger standing in the middle of the road with traffic heading at me at 70 mph while I held up a stop sign hoping they would see me in time. I really wanted to get some pictures here, so I handed my camera over to some spectators and they got some for me.

Lead group of riders coming to the turn to Alpine Loop

Chase group of three riders in the Alpine Loop turn

Peleton coming to the Alpine Loop turn

The OUCH team leading the peleton through the corner to Alpine Loop

The peleton heading up to Sundance Resort on the Alpine Loop

After course marshaling in Provo Canyon, I decided to drive to Draper and watch the race from the other side of Traverse/Suncrest. I had been told that there would be "professional" flaggers on this corner, so I wanted to see how it was done. I had course marshaled this corner last year and it was a nightmare. My suggestion was to have double or more course marshals placed here. When I got there, I learned that there were just two regular, untrained people handling the corner. So, I went and got my course marshal gear and helped out. I also delegated duties (such as helping to shut down the gas station and take pictures for me) to spectators because I knew what craziness we were in for. With the extra help, we had five people helping shut down the intersection, and it still wasn't enough. What a mess this intersection is for a race. I'm glad nobody got killed! One racer still somehow managed to blast through the intersection, missing the turn, even after three of us directed him otherwise.

Some riders coming down Suncrest

More riders coming down Suncrest

Sleevie and some of the other Canyon riders coming off Suncrest into Draper. The course marshal guy was one of the ZTeam riders who hadn't made the time cut on Stage 1.

Some of the Canyon guys

Dave Harward

Stage 5 Criterium

My only duty for Stage 5 was to count spectators, and it only took me about 15 minutes. Then I was free to spectate and take pictures.

Will Dugan of TT1 and John Eisinger of Ciclismo signing in to Stage 5

Here I am playing the part of TT1 groupie

I got my photo with the second place overall winner and Best Utah Rider, Darren Lill of TT1

Dave Zabriskie lead out the first couple of laps

David Veilleux of Kelly Benefit, Brent Bookwalter of BMC, Dave Zabriskie of Garmin, and Justin England of California Giant in the early break

Floyd Landis

Riders in one of the corners. One guy must have thought he was going down with his foot of of his pedal.

Rock Racing riding on the front

Will Dugan of TT1 in the pits after a flat

Will Dugan of TT1 waiting to get back into the race after a stop in the pits

Will Dugan of TT1 getting pushed back into the race after a pit stop

Fancisco Mancebo in the yellow jersey with Floyd Landis a of couple wheels back

Darren Lill getting interviewed for the Deseret News behind the scenes of the podium

Darren Lill chatting with fans

Rock Racing posing for pictures

Me with Jeff Louder, last year's Tour of Utah winner and this year's third place winner

I had a lot of fun this week at the Tour of Utah and I was sad when it was over. Can't wait until next year!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tour of Utah Stage 2

Stage two of the 2009 Tour of Utah took the racers from Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, around the west side of Utah Lake and then up the Payson side of Nebo Loop.

I played the part of volunteer van driver today. After much confusion in finding the van this morning, I had to deal with finding someone who was willing to get in the van with me. None of the other volunteers showed up. Dave Zabriskie offered to get in the van, then one of the Garmin team managers, but even though I was serious about letting them in, neither of was serious about actually doing it.

Finally, one guy, who happened to have just wandered over from work and overheard that we needed volunteers, decided to course marshal. After watching the start, he got in the van and we took off. We took the freeway to Santaquin, headed west and ended up in Elberta, where we directed the racers east. After all the riders went through, we headed up the canyon toward the finish line. Silly guy who was with me decided he wasn't really needed at work the rest of the day, and opted to go watch a bike race with me instead.

The riders were so fast through Payson that we ended up not being able to beat them to the canyon, and had to follow them up instead. So I missed seeing the end of the race, but, unfortunately, saw plenty of action (or lack of) from the back of the race. I commend the racers who actually used their legs to pedal up the Nebo Loop climb. Enough said.

Here are some pictures of the day's events.

The Garmin team gets ready to race.

Dave Zabriskie's pre-race interview

Dave Zabriskie in the Best Utah Rider jersey at the start line.

Interesting that as Cindy fires the starting pistol that some of the riders look like they're going to have a nap.

The lead pack coming into Elberta

The peleton coming into Elberta about 3 minutes behind the lead pack

The racers head east out of Elberta toward Payson.

Jeff Louder pulling on the Best Utah Rider jersey at the end of the race.

Francisco Perez Mancebo in the sprinter's jersey.

Happy Birthday, Darren Lill! Congrats on today's win.

Not only did Lill win the stage, he got the climber's jersey.

Francisco Perez Mancebo in the leader's jersey.

Louder climbs out of the podium pit.

Best Young Rider, Overall Leader, and Best Climber