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2009 Tour of California - "3 Riders" Update from the road - Stage 8


2009 Tour of California:  Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) finished 12th
in the Stage 6 Time Trial at Solvang.  After Stage 8, he gave his water bottle to "The 3 Riders..."
photo Copyright © Laura Alber/cyclingfans.com

The finish line announcer at the 2008 Tour of California kept yelling something about "The riders of the Apocalypse!"  It was annoying enough to have stuck with three great cycling fans who travel to the race each year.  Thus, "The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig" came to be.  Each day of the race, they send a fan perspective and photos to cyclingfans.com.

Update from Escondido

Hard to imagine but this year's Tour was even better than last year's.  

Tip for the day:  talk to your race neighbors!  We made lots of nice friends from those we sat with.

Big shout out and thank you to Christian Vande Velde for giving us his water bottle through our RV window after the race.  The whole Garmin-Slipstream team was gracious all week!

As we discuss all of the moments we agree that the time trial was our favorite.    The best towns were Paso Robles and Solvang.  Our favorite new view was on the hill in Pasadena.  The best action is not always at the start/finish line.

Our goals for next year are to catch a mountain stage and have cocktails with Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett!

The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig

2009 Tour of California - "3 Riders" Update from the road - Stage 7


2009 Tour of California:  The Astana train drives the peloton on the finishing circuit in Pasadena during Stage 7.
photo Copyright © The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig/cyclingfans.com

The finish line announcer at the 2008 Tour of California kept yelling something about "The riders of the Apocalypse!"  It was annoying enough to have stuck with three great cycling fans who travel to the race each year.  Thus, "The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig" came to be.  Each day of the race, they send a fan perspective and photos to cyclingfans.com.

Update from Pasadena

Tip for the day . . . If you want to park your RV at the Rose Bowl . . . bring your wallet . . . a really big wallet . ..$10 to park your car . . .$100 to park an RV.  Much thanks to the helpful guy biking by who told us about some parking on the street above the Rose Bowl, free parking that is.  As usual our parking debacle turned out really well.  We ended up watching the five final laps from the hill above the finish line.  We had our chairs, two bottles of fine Solvang wine and some snacks we shared with our new best friends.

Happy to see Big George and CVV in the break.  The Astana train was a thing of beauty at the front of the peloton.  Big hello to our new friend Rich, a rider from Tennessee by way of DC.  Nice guy, we were able to convince him to put on the antlers but could not get him to run on the hill beside the pros.

Traffic not a big issue today.  Escondido here we come!

The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig

2009 Tour of California - "3 Riders" Update from the road - Stage 6


2009 Tour of California:  Television commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen took time
to meet and chat with cycling fans "The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig"
prior to the start of the Solvang Time Trial.
photo Copyright © The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig/cyclingfans.com

The finish line announcer at the 2008 Tour of California kept yelling something about "The riders of the Apocalypse!"  It was annoying enough to have stuck with three great cycling fans who travel to the race each year.  Thus, "The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig" came to be.  Each day of the race, they send a fan perspective and photos to cyclingfans.com.

Update from Solvang

Today's only tip . . . Get to Solvang early & plan to leave early or spend the night.  Took us one hour to drive a whopping 2 miles and 4 hours more to make it to Pasadena (should have been a 2 and 1/2 hour drive).  We should have just stayed in the wine tasting bar a lot longer to let the traffic clear.

Solvang is picturesque, quaint and charming.  Our spots at the start house were amazing.  The start house during a time trial means close up time with all the best riders in the world just an arm's length away.  You can listen to them joke with each other or watch them focus on the task ahead.

We were lucky to meet Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett who could not have been more gracious with all of the fans.  Thanks to Paul and Phil for treating the cycling fans so well.

Speaking of treating the fans well, shame on the city of Solvang Chamber of Commerce who purchased all of the official Tour of California Solvang merchandise keeping it from the cycling fans.  I guess we will have pins from every city BUT Solvang.

The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig

2009 Tour of California - "3 Riders" Update from the road - Stage 5


2009 Tour of California, Stage 5: Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad) beats
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) to the line.
Copyright © 2009 The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig


2009 Tour of California, Stage 5:  The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig
await the peloton in Paso Robles.
Copyright © 2009 The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig
 

Update from Paso Robles

Tips for the best ToC experience ever..

            Be a pro team rider.  If you can’t do that

            Be a directeur sportif.  If you can’t do that

            Buy a VIP pass.  If you can’t do that

            Get an RV and get yourself to each stage really, really early.

We arrived in Paso Robles very early, finding free parking on the street just 1 block from the finish. After parking the RV with only slight damage to some tree limbs, one of our group went for a run and scoped out the town.  Another of our group headed out to check out the park/finish area and snag a nice spot for our chairs about 5 feet from the finish line.  The last of us (and the most sensible) had a nice cup of hot tea, and a croissant, relaxed and did a little reading.  RVs are the way to go when following the tour.

Loved Paso Robles, the wine tasting was everywhere, the wine was terrific.   The finish was in a beautiful park with lots of space for all the vendors.  A great location.  We would come back in a minute.

Tip for the day..check your twitter often.  We missed Lance Armstrong who was literally across the street from our parked RV at the Wellness Center by less than 2 minutes simply because we did not check our Lance Twitter often enough.  Sigh.

The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig

2009 Tour of California - "3 Riders" Update from the road - Stage 4


2009 Tour of California: Big George Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad)
Copyright © 2009 The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig
 

After a 6 and 1/2 hour drive from Vegas, we arrived in time to catch the finish in Clovis.  We were lucky to miss the miserable weather.  The sun sure brought out all the fans… especially the new ones who were not quite sure why everyone was standing around the Astana bus.  "Why is everyone standing here?"  "Why are they looking at that bus?"  There were lots of possible answers… ultimately we explained fully and accurately without undue mocking.  BTW…note to fans with chalk… have the writing face the riders not the other way around.

Tip to those coming to Paso Robles for stage 5… eat at Cool Hand Luke’s.  Great service, great food, great steaks…good wine.  It is very close to the race finish on 13th street near the 101 entrance.  Shout out to folks at Cycle's Gladiator Wine - really the nicest vendors at the Lifestyle Festival.  Everyone should stop by and stay hi.
 
Looking forward to Thursday's stage.  We have great plans to catch a good view of the finish.

The 3 Riders of the Apocalypse Featuring Christy Craig

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