TOC Moto View: Stage 1
VeloSport Vacation’s Chris Gutowsky is on the lead moto at the Tour of California, and he’ll be providing an insider’s account of the action everyday. Yesterday’s Stage 1 was quite a race – Chris takes us inside…
– Reported by Chris Gutowsky of VйloSport Vacations. Chris is calling the ‘official’ action as it happens for the race organizers – and shares his adventures of the day as a special feature for PEZ .
STAGE 1 MOTO REPORT
After nightmares about freezing rain on the Cali coast in February, this morning’s balmy sunshine in Sausalito was much appreciated. I enjoyed it for a couple of minutes before i realized my radio was non-functional and went into a mad, hour-long scramble to get the gear set. With a helping hand from Jim, my driver-cohort, we got everything functional in time to roll out from the start while the riders completed their parade laps around town.
The roll up Mount Tam was sedate for us, keeping a couple of minutes ahead of the field. At the KOM line, we whipped into a pull-off to watch the pass-through, then slammed into high gear and joined the madhouse line of vehicles on the descent. We could just catch a view of the dropped riders trying to get onto the group, swerving coming out of blind curves to avoid the various team cars stopped to provide wheels.
With numerous pot-holes, there were at least a half-dozen flats and a crash. Half-way down, we came around another turn to catch one of the first open-water views, only marred by two Priority Health riders just getting going after a spill. Torn-lycra and strawberries for breakfast?
Stiff headwind-crosswind breezes on the coast kept the race speeds way down, not to say it looked easy. We passed through the bunch a couple of times, rubbing shoulders with a few guys as the riders searched for shelter, no time for views on the panoramic road of all time. I snapped a couple of pics along here (hi George!), but had to shoot facing inland since the wind was from our left.
The first two intermediate sprints passed, leading us to another key moment of the day; espresso stop in Bodega Bay! Nothing like seeing a roasting machine to raise the spirits. The Coleman Valley climb was a further boost, packed with fans and un-fricking-believable views. The rolling profile over the top guaranteed some good action and the KOM-points chasers took full advantage. Four riders got clear and we tucked in behind, close enough to almost join in a near-crash on a decreasing radius right-hander. Andrenalin-glands working, check.
Things settled down on the flat run-in to Santa Rosa, where we took a crowd-count lap of the finishing circuit (packed!) and pulled over in the last turn. 1st day over, at least no new scar tissue on this ex-rider’s body! Can’t speak for the rest….
Today’s race report provided by Chris Gutowsky of VйloSport Vacations. Check ‘em out for some great ideas for your next cycling trip. For more information, contact VйloSport Vacations at P.O. Box 1235, Bloomington, IN 47402, 800-988-9833, www.VeloVacations.com