Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Wow, what a day at the races it was! We got up early knowing Sheila would be leaving early and wanted to touch base regarding the day’s agenda. She was out the door before we got out ours so I watched her drive away and gave her cell a call. The day’s plan was to pick her up from her school at 11:15 to drive together to the finish line in
on the hill top. Bob & I wanted to pick up a few things at the grocery store and maybe find a hardware store that would carry light bulbs for two recessed cans over the sink that had just burned out last night. Also, wanted to have Bucky’s toe nails clipped if we could find a pet store or groomer in the area. Hardware store located a block from the grocery store but no luck in having what we needed. Grocery store – big score, just wanted raspberries for the cheese cake I made last night that we had a bit more than half left and low on raspberries. I wanted to give it to the BMC support crew. The raspberries looked great and it was 2-for-1 if you had the Safeway store card, which Bob remembered signing up for sometime ago, and even had it in his murse (his man purse). We didn’t see any pet type stores so we just started driving down the street and stopped the first dog walker we spotted. Knew it was a gamble since the dog at the end of the leash was a golden retriever – not known for grooming so much! The dog walker gave us directions, complicated, and far away, with the “oh I just clip his nails at home”. So off we went to look for a smaller breed. Within a few blocks we spotted a little mutt of some sort, and sure enough the woman gave us directions for a pet shop just down the road. So, turned around, found the pet shop – walked in, asked the gal working if they clip nails. She said depends on the dog, as she was eyeing up Buck. Bob assured her he is real good – we just didn’t remember the clipper, ( truth be, neither of us really likes to do it). Anyway, I held Buck and within a minute she was done - $10 later – but I didn’t want Buck riding in Och’s car with long nails. So we headed home to go on a quick run to tire Buck out before heading to the race. We always say, A tired dog is a good dog! Besides I thought running on a bit of pavement would buff the toes from the new clipping. Ran – not jogged – around the park across the street from Sheila’s. The only old dog getting tired was me! Buck and I ran a bit faster than Bob and it was a very small loop around, so when we would get close I would let go of the lease and let Buck sprint to Bob. San Jose
About know you might be wondering when I’ll get to the race info. Well, right now Bob is driving in traffic and I am a much better navigator, when I’m on break – because we are on a 95 mile stretch before we need to exit – so I type and don’t look up unless he tells me to look. Like just now he said look – and just out my window was beautiful shore line, palm trees for Pismo beach. So all this typing is just a diversion for me so I don’t get “nervous” oh, my palms are still not exactly dry, but my nerves are not as rattled!
So yesterday’s stage ended on a hill top that you could either walk, run, bike, or shuttle up. No cars allowed. Well it was a no-brainer – the free shuttle was the choice for mode of transport up the very steep 4.2 mile climb. We got the back seats on the bus and I promptly took out last nights left over pasta salad for Sheila & I to share – Bob passed on it – onions! He of course pointed out the “No Food” sign so I told Sheila we had to eat all the evidence by the time we got to the top. No problem, it took over a half hour to get up there because of bikers trying to bike it and the road was narrow! We got to the top and immediately went to check out the VIP tent. Oh, did I forget to mention Och got us 4 VIP tickets – Buck got one too! We walked in the snow fenced in area were we showed our passes only to be told “No dogs allowed”. So Bob asked the “security” guy is he suppose to now walk back down the hill? All the security guy said those were his orders. Well, really this would not be a problem. Bob left the area walked around behind the tented area to where a few bikers were leaving their bikes, tucked Buck into the backpack, zipped it shut and handed it to me over the fence. Buck didn’t mind it a bit. He rides in the backpack when we bike, just not zipped shut. But since it was very cold out he was snug as a bug in a rug! And that’s where he stayed most of the day with an occasional zip open for a check. The VIP tent had food, beverages of which I told Sheila may help keep us warm! No hot chocolate for Bob – big bummer. But there was plenty of cheese and meat for sandwiches. The big screen TVs kept us informed and then there was the hand shake and picture of Bob with TV commentator Bob Roll. Of course Sheila is friends with Bob R. because he used to ride for 7-11. We got a glimpse of Paul Sherwin and Phil Ligget – Bob & I were not with Sheila when she said hello to them! When the helicopter started getting close Sheila said we should get into position to see the finish – and try to be seen on TV! We got right next to the fence and about 20 meters from the finish. The sun finally came out to warm us up as we rang cow bells and cheered them in. Chris Horner from Radio Shack won going away but 2-4 was a sprint. The field was pretty spread out – in fact half of the field didn’t make it in within the allotted time but that was okay because the organizers decided they weren’t going to throw out half the riders.
Okay, we got to our destination so this is now Bob typing since Paula needs to let her hands dry off (I drove top speed to get here).
We watched the boys all finish and then got on the shuttle bus to the bottom. Back to Sheila’s where we had a nice visit and dinner and relaxed. Buck figured Och must have come home for the night to see him. He was all over it. Och went to bed before the Tour coverage came on since they delayed it for the hockey game to finish. We tried to watch the Tour but all three of us kept nodding off.
This morning we said “good bye” to Sheila since we were heading on to follow the race. Fired up the truck, and took off. We found a parking spot in a nearby neighborhood close to the action and rode our bikes over. We made it to the start line in
about an hour before the boys mounted up. Walked around and got some good pictures of the bikes. Chatted a moment with Och. Then we walked up the road several hundred meters to stake out a spot on the curb. Paula needs a wide open area to bang her cowbell you know. I got some video of the roll out, and Paula’s cowbelling (man I love that bell, “I’ve got a fever”). Seaside
We then rode back to the truck and sped off to get a spot to watch the finish in Paso Robles. We stopped at a Pilot for fuel and a cb mic (mine broke I guess). Huge crowd of trucks fuelling up. They must have figured there was a sale or something. I had to do some trickie driving to get out too. We happened to be driving south on Hwy 101 and the peloton was on the frontage road! I got to blare the air horns and Paula hung out the window banging that cowbell. I think the boys rode faster hearing her cowbell. It was very cool timing to get to drive along next to them like that. Lots of people were pulling over or driving along the shoulder watching. We made it to Paso Robles, had a snack, and rode our bikes a mile to the finish area. Huge crowds there. And the boys showed up too soon so we didn’t get to see much riding. We still had Paula’s home-made cheese cake to get to the BMC crew so we rode around looking for their bus. Couldn’t find them but then we spotted two of the team cars coming into town so we gave chase. Buck kept telling me to ride faster, he was loving the wind in his face. Paula had a backpack and cooler and we’re lucky she didn’t crash. She even had to ride down some curbs without dismounting. Very courageous of her. We caught the cars and they said go down the street to the hotel, that’s where they were set up. We got the cheesecake to the crew and said, “hi” to Och. It was perfect warm weather too so we got to wear shorts and no jackets. First time for that on the trip. Yee haw. Then we rode back to the truck and did some on-line searching for a plan. We found a campground right near the time trial coarse for tomorrow so I called them and got a site. High speed run down 101 since I was now paying for a site I wasn’t parked in yet. We came over a hill and there was the ocean,
. Nice. Paula did a wonderful job navigating on the computer while I was passing mere regular campers like they were standing still. I love this truck. The campground is very nice. Lots of nice campers. We took Buck for a walk and visited with some other rustic campers like us (a group of guys are here to follow the rest of the race, this is their first stage, and they all left their wives at home, dopes). We’re now having great smoothies and pizza that Paula made in our new oven (first baking in it). We’re going to watch some of the t.t. tomorrow and then either run or go for a bike ride. We’re going to stay here tomorrow night too and then head to the 7th stage Saturday morning. Pismo Beach
Gotta eat and drink now, thanks a bunch for joining us on our Tour trip!