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Friday, August 26, 2011

U.S. Pro cycling Challenge stage 4-- Lederhelmets und Lederhosen

it's really cool to go out to California to hang out with Jen's family and see a few stages of the Amgen Tour and all of the big-time Euro Pros that attend... but it's a whole new level of cool when the ProTour riders race on the very same local roads that i have trained on for years.
this part of Colorado is just about as remote as you can get in the lower 48; the probability of a top-level Pro race roaring up S.H. 131 seemed even slimmer than Andy Schleck himself. at least until then Governor Ritter and Big Tex teamed up for a stage race collabo of near-epic proportion.
today the ridiers left Avon and rode past the very spot where Dr. Steven Milo was so wrongfully SUV'ed (Squashed Under Violently) by Mr. Martin Erzinger in his black Mercedes sedan. fortunately, Dr. Milo survived the incident and Erzinger was not out driving on Hwy. 6 or any other roadways in the area, and the pelican passed safely to more cycling-friendly regions of our state.
we were waiting at the top of a 2.5 km climb that crested about 2 km from the intermediate sprint in Oak Creek. here's a few images from our roadside vantage point-and with an apology; we haven't received press credentials from the race organizers yet, so Jen and i won't be doing live feed tweets from the moto and real-time race coverage for the blog... at least until next year.
besides, with all of the anxiety-inducing feed break-up and technical problems (iced wings on the aircraft, etc.). i'm pretty sure that we are seeing more actual racing without all of the commercials than the poor sods trying to watch it on teevee.

here ya go:

a little space-alien wearing a leather derny helmet and vintage Vuarnets suddenly beamed down in the middle of rural South Routt County, Colorado. wait a minute, that's Jen...

these nice folks traveled from the remote locations of South Routt to cheer on the racers. they also had water and snacks for all of the many cyclo-sportifs who were out riding the parcours in front of the racers. and yes, that guy on the left is wearing our local variant of "Lederhosen".

you know things are about to happen when the gendarmes start flying past on their motos.

those are some of the 3800 meter peaks of the Flattops wilderness in the far distance and in front of them a few of the volcanic Puys that are found in this region. that's Rossi's hay meadow over on the right.

BREAKAWAY!!! gotta love those Colombian dudes, they are super aggro.

less than 2 minutes in front of the chase with mostly downhill roads for the next 30 km spell doom for the brave adventurers.

i prefer the "open" racing from the time before the radios; breakaways seemed more likely to succeed and the racing was more animated. i'm oldschool, though.

here comes the peloton, Jen readies herself to do some running.

i'm trying to get a lot of good quality images and lay on some hearty blasts from the horn all at the same time. it's not easy being a cycling super-fan, ya know.

probably the single-most beautiful image of South Routt i have ever taken in my life. this scene represents a dream come true for me. as you can see, Jen is looking pretty happy here as well

these guys were moving very quickly indeed.

arrrg. cut off the lead rider, but i'm going to post it anyway as it shows just how hard these guys were starting to drive the pace.

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