2016 is the 7th year in a row that I've visited the Tour of California. Here are my previous posts on races that I've visited.
- 2016 Tour of California, Stage 5
- 2015 Tour of California, Stages 1 and 2
- 2014 Tour of California, Stage 1
- 2013 Tour of California, Stage 4
- 2013 Tour of California, Stage 5
- 2013 Tour of Utah, Stage 1
- 2013 Tour of Utah, Stage 2
- 2012 Tour of California
Stage 1 was the typical sprint stage that starts and finishes in Sacramento. I've been to a version of this stage a couple of times before. I thought I knew what to expect, but this year was a little bit different.
Last time I was in Sacramento the buses were all parked in a big square and it was easy to hop around from one team bus to another. This year wasn't so easy because the buses were all stretched out in a long line.
What you won't see in the video is that I also saw him after the race was over. I just so happened to be riding back into Sacramento not too long after the race when a lot of riders were on their bikes riding back to their buses. I was just rolling along, and here comes Peter Sagan, rainbow jersey and all, riding right towards me with absolutely nobody around. It was an amazing sight. Forget that he's one of the best riders in the world and I have zero talent. For one tiny moment I felt like we were just two guys who love to ride bikes. I doubt he felt the same way, but let's go with it.
|Maybe they need to test me for something?|
He brought disc brakes to California.
He seems like a nice guy. I don't know why Grivko punched him in the head. He signed a lot of autographs and was patient taking pictures with plenty of fans.
Bike porn is always fun here. Cyclingnews did an article on these bikes, which were inspired by kids and will be auctioned off for charity. I thought the snake bike looked the best in person.
|Rob the bank or steal the bikes?|
After the start I rode the course backwards for a while, then stopped by the river to watch the riders roll by.
It was a nice day- sunny and cool without much wind. There wasn't a hill in sight, so there was no doubt that the day would end in a sprint. Marcel Kittel won the stage, followed by Peter Sagan and Elia Viviani.
Stage 2This was mostly a ride day for me with a little bit of race spectating added in. I started in Livermore and rode south on Mines Road to meet up with the course on 130. From there I followed the course on 130 to the top of Mt. Hamilton.
Mt Hamilton is a pretty difficult climb- not long, but steep. I'm not sure if I've ridden it in this direction before. I know I rode the other side back in 2015 when I rode across the country. That was on day 1 of Petoji, which you can read about here. Back then there was a ton of gravel on the road, which made for a sketchy descent. No gravel today, thankfully.
Lick Observatory is a the top of the climb, which is a good place to take in the views. They also have nice bathrooms up there and a few vending machines.
I turned around and headed back to where I came from. There was a little uphill section along the way that looked like a good place to watch the race. I expected big crowds on Mt. Hamilton. There weren't a lot of people there when I made my climb, but on the descent there were a ton more riders coming up and all of the little turnouts were getting filled with vehicles.
I made it to my viewing spot with a lot of time to spare. I had a pretty good little corner picked out, but towards the last minute a guy in a car parked not too far away from me. Then as the race got real close I had one of the photo motos pull out right in front of me and basically ruin my view. Oh well. Then there was a service moto that did the same, and one of the guys took a piss uncomfortably close to my bike.
I probably waited at least an hour for the race. I wasn't sure how my legs were going to respond to that on the way back. Sometimes a rest is good, and sometimes your legs want to keep resting. Today the rest was a good thing. I felt nice and fresh riding back to Livermore. Mines Road is absolutely beautiful and a super fun ride. It was a nice change of scenery since I've been riding a lot of the same routes lately due to the weather.
I didn't think Stage 2 would do much to the GC. Mt. Hamilton is tough, but it was pretty far from the finish. I was wrong on that one. Rafal Majka won the stage and it turned out to be more of a GC day than a Sagan/Degenkolb day like I was expecting. Bora is killing it this month. Postlberger won his stage at the Giro, and now Majka won a stage here. Sagan also went on to win a stage later on.
I may or may not go to the Tour of Utah this year. I'm still deciding. I'm not a huge fan of any of the teams that were invited to the race, but the stage routes were announced today and they look pretty good. There are 2 mountain finishes and an uphill TT. I've never been to an uphill TT before. That would be a fun stage to see in person. I'm also a big fan of Utah (My second favorite state, perhaps?) and wouldn't mind an excuse to make another visit. We'll see how it goes. I have a lot of plans for this summer, so there may be some higher priorities on my list