…and really flippin’ hot.
Yup, that’s Utah in a nutshell. My first race back after breaking my poor left clavicle on June the 5th is now in the books with the 2011 Tour of Utah complete. I came here with the intention of gaining fitness as well as help my teammate Timmy Duggan do his due diligence and smash Utah as best he can. We had a mere six riders for this race, rather than the standard eight, which doesn’t exactly give us the upper hand, especially when the RadioShacks and Columbian teams of ToUT come with full squads. Alas, that’s simply the way things unfold and out of my grasp so it’s time to suck it up and race our bikes.
Regardless, I’m rather thrilled with the week in general. Timmy rode like a champ with a solid 7th place on GC and 9th on the Snowbird queen stage. I managed a 12th place on stage 2 by merely avoiding sliding along the tarmac and maintaining good position in the finale, all the while rotating the front the entire day that day and a handful of other days. So jumping straight to a conclusion, I got my allotment of pre-USAProCyclingChallenge racing fitness which I cannot get anywhere besides with a number on my back, a dose of medium altitude 4,000-6,000′ training, and I got to practice my Italiano being the first team engagement I’ve had since the crash in June.
And now a quick photo summary, we started the week by opening up the legs avoiding Utah’s scenic splendor and instead riding the highway’s frontage road full of 18-wheelers and dirt. Glorious!
The following day was the Park City prologue which some folks thought might be a flat prologue, but in reality, it turned out to be about as flat as an Olympic long distance ski jump… because that’s exactly what we had to cover, bottom to top along 2km of arduous racing. Here’s a lovely shot that Lyne of PodiumInsight snapped as I hit meter number 3 of the race.
Here’s another photo that I stole from the internet. The intellectual property rights or whatever don’t exactly belong to me, but that’s my handsome mug in the screen, so I call dibs. (Umm, slightly more seriously now, thank you to RealCyclist who did snap the photo and posted it on the Facebook, which is precisely where I stole it.)
Next up was stage 2 and that’s where I will post a photo and thereby conclude posting vain photos of myself. This one is from Dave of Veloimages which is artful and pretty beautiful. Thanks Dave.
Moreover, I want to extend a sincere thanks to everyone who makes Tour of Utah possible. The number of volunteers are absolutely incredible – more so than virtually any other race I’ve done. Additionally, Mechanic-to-the-Stars Dave Vance was also his typical generous and gregarious self for team Teddy-Timmy-L’gas-C’dale. Dave does exceptionally fine work to make our bikes spic and span and quintessentially bright green. Dave, you’re the man.
I’ll wrap it up here by saying just how blown away I was yesterday at our Infinite Bicycles grand opening Cannondale ride up some canyon that we raced down in the Tour of Utah. You see, there was an enormous turnout of folks on bikes last night since we created a full peloton, complete with Mavic support car, taking up the entire right lane (and often more). Here what truly shocked me is the indescribable patience of the cars behind us; there was an entire parade of cars snaking behind the peloton on this sinuous canyon road, but whenever a car did come by in the rare event there was a stretch of pavement long and straight enough, they would toot their horn cheerfully and throw a thumbs up out the window! On the way down, it was more of the same. Finally at the bottom, a massive doulie pickup truck complete with an exhaust system the size of a turkey fryer passed us and then parked at the side of the road. The driver slowly opened the door as we approached, at which point I expected a barrage of profanity and maybe a tossed beer can or two… but instead the driver reached inside and gave his salutatory horn toot and thumbs up again. Floored, was I.
Utah, you continue to amaze me. See you in 2012.
And now onto the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Hoo-ah.
Oh, I also signed a fan’s copy of the Sound of Music. A bit odd, but whatever.