After slaving away all morning over some stupid assignment for school, I managed to warp it up in time to book down to the finish of TDG stage 3 in Gainesville. I decided to take the Pooj with me, but needed to true the rear wheel before I went, which was no problem. I even did it with the tire still on the rim. I had ben watching the race on the Adobe Race Tracker that is part of the TDG website, so I thought I had plenty of time. Just before I leftI noticed that the video footage on the tracker kept showing the ame section over and over again. Time had been going by but the tracke was caught in a loop. The TDG site predicted a finish anywhre between 3 and 4pm, so I was off. On the way I decided to stop at the Spray + Wash to give the Pooj a little rinse, since it had black crud all over it from the tires disintegrating as I ride. A quick wash and I was back on the road. I parkd at Greg Whites old apartment complex, and headed out to the course from there.
I had printed a map before I left, but my printer is out of ink so it wasn’t the best source. In fact, I could barely make out any of it. So I ambled towards where I thought the race was, and eventually I could hear the PA system. Unfortunately, what I heard was the announcer telling everyone to get off the road, and the sirens of the initial motorcycles that cleared the way for the race. I was about to MISS IT. So I started heading towards the sound, down a bunch a back streets. All of a sudden the support vehicles come blazing past me and this dude comes trucking up the hill.
I dunno who he is, but he had about a 10 second gap on these guys
The whole peleton blazed up over the hill and down further into the neighborhood.
I’m still trying to get to the finish area, so I am walking with my bike, the opposite way that the riders are going. Every few seconds a straggler would show up and some course marshallwould holler at me to get off the street, which I was usually already doing by the time they saw me. EXCUSE ME SIR, I would LOVE to have never even gotten on the course, but for some reason the Tour organizers decided to BURY THE FINISH LINE BACK IN THE MIDDLE OF A NEIGHBORHOOD, which was not that easy to find. I was trying to actually get to the finish area in time to see the sprint, and time was running out because the peleton was now passing me for the second of three laps.
Finally I reached the finish…by this time, having half jogged through peoples yards, avoiding the course marshalls and generally finding out that I had gone the wrongest way I could have possibly gone, I fel like I myself had ridden the race.
Unfortunately, I did not get close enough in time to see the sprint, but the organizers decision to locate the finish where they did became evident once you saw the big downhill leading to the line. Downhill sprint finish = exciting, and the crowd certainly responded. I did manage to get a snap of winner Greg Henderson just as he crossed the line.
Yet another case for getting a real Digi SLR and a nice telephoto lens. Even though this wasn’t quite the photo I’d hoped to get, at least I got something. I should have left earlier I suppose, then I could have gotten a better spot.
Anyway, after the race I did some bike spotting while waiting for the podium ceremony. There were no shortage of high tech rides on hand, such as this full suspension Tonka
and this awesome milk crate hauler with purple chain and shark attachment on the seatpost
while I was rambling around trying to get closer to the podium area, I passed by this mountain of Plasma Screen boxes.
They must have had all seven 42″ers set up somewhere, but I never did se them.
Something interesting was that there was a VIP area, directly across from the podium stage. It was cordoned off with steel fencing and you needed VIP cred to get in. They had food and beer, but moreso than that, it was the PRIME photo taking and race finish viewing area. The best I could do was lock my bike to the metal fencing, and get as close as I could top the podium area, which was all the way on the other side of the street.
BUT WAIT, whats this? All of a sudden, someone opened up one of the metal partitions and started letting folks through, to get closer to the stage. Most of the people were actual real press photogs but I sandwiched myself in with the group and scooted up close also. I am learning that having a camera means you can go wherever you want to at big events. te bigger and more bad ass your lens is, the easier time you have. Funny. Me and my point and shoot in a see of monster gear. Check out the heavy hitters
The awards presentation was pretty quick. The Mayor of Gainesville came on and spoke and was absolutely adorable, speaking several times in French without struggling at all. I thought that was class. Then they raffled off a Felt bike. Finaly, it was podium time. Ladies and Gentlemen, Your stage three winners: 1. Greg Henderson (NZ) 2. Andre Greipel (GER) and 3. Andy Farrar (USA)
It was a good day for Tam HighRoad eh? While I was taking these shots, it was unignorable how ridiculously HUGE these guys upper legs were. I mean they were seriously sick. Henderson’s average speed was 27.5mph!
In the Tour De France, the Kind Of The Mountains jersey is the polka dot, but in the Tour De Georgia, instead of dots you get…wait for it…PEACHES. Frank Pipp, KOM
and of course, the jersey everyone knows to follow…the Maillot jaune, the Yellow Jersey signifying the overall race leader at the close of the stage goes to Greg Henderson, making today a double whammy for him. Big Ups Greg!
The yellow jersey is the heaviest piece of bicycle clothing a rider could ever wear. Not because it is physically heavy, but because you have the weight of defending it the following day…
Ceremonies wrapped up quickly after this. On the way back to the car I HAD to snap a pic of this great sign
Very funny if viewed out of context.
I had hoped to find a pit area to be able to scope out all kinds of exotic bike parts on the team rides, and generally soak up technology, but i never saw a pit area. The Mavic Team Car was kind of jammin though.
Hopefully, tomorrow I will get to the Team Time Trial early enough to not miss any of the action. I think I am taking the mountain bike instead of the fixie. I’ve ridden around Road Atlanta spectator area before, and it may be more practical, since a lot of the places I want to try and access aren’t paved.