Alright, so I understand this race is called the US Pro Cycling Challenge (USPCC), but for the sake of our title today the Tour of Colorado just sounded better... Today we have another video for you and then the awesome photos and words to follow. It was a complete whopper, so buckle your helmets...
Then, Last Night
And here we are, post stage 2 and today was a doozie. But before we jump right into the now, let's travel back to last night... Simpsonic and I put yesterday's post together, got it all wrapped up, then headed back down into the town of Telluride. At the bottom of the gondola is a great bar and eatery called The Oak. We had beers to drink and a cruiser bike to give away. After another heated session of rock-paper-cruiser Frank took the bike home. Frank is a course marshall for the UPCC, so it was nice to send that cruiser into the wonderful hands of a hard working volunteer. Here he is (looking as if he's going to cry tears of joy):
The bar was dark and Frank still had his reflective safety vest on, so the picture is not my best work... But you get the idea (and I think the flash blinded him too, again, look at his expression, it's priceless). Another wonderful moment of cruiser bike giveaway history.
And then, we were just sitting there, minding our own business, when the podium girls from the Telluride finish came wandering in. Jeff is a New Belgium Beer Ranger for the mountain areas here in Colorado, and he is quite the lady killer... After a couple minutes of Jeff talking with these two ladies they just smacked a few smoochers right on him:
That was a big moment in Jeff's life (I think).
And then the lateness of the night got later and we headed back up the gondola to rest our weary heads and ready ourselves for the big day ahead.
Crested Butte was ready for this, like seriously ready. Simpsonic and I parked the NBB team car in town and mounted bicycles to climb to the finish at Mount Crested Butte. It's a huge 4 (ish) mile climb that just about tore the lungs out of my chest. But the road paint kept me pedaling. Painting the road is a tradition in road racing, it cheers the riders forward and entertains the TV audience that catch the quick glimpses. The whole road was painted with positivity from top to bottom. It was a treat to ride on top of it.
When I finally made it to the top I grabbed a beer and jumped right into hob-knobbing. The event at the finish started at 11am, the race was scheduled to cross the line at 3:50, we pulled in about 1pm grabbed those beers and headed right over to the bike pit. The USPCC presented a great opportunity to bring some beer and bicycle love on the road. And what better way to show it than a little piece of the Tour de Fat right inside the bike race. Art, art bikes, carnies, giant board games, funnel cakes (maybe not funnel cakes), and even a big kaleidoscope made an appearance today. The race fans with time to kill were killing it with all the fun to be had...
The Crested Butte fans were all about the TDF costumed fun today too. Here is Pac Man apparently munching down on a New Belgium tent:
He must have been hungry.
And then on to the beer drinking, because there was some. There were several beer stations (as they call them in the business) to grab a cold one. And then there were beer vendors, out pedaling around, bringing the cold ones to the people.
That, my friends, is the perfect scenario for the thirsty race fan unwilling to give up their spot on the barrier.
Oh, and there was some bike racing today too. It was a 99 mile stage from Montrose to Crested Butte. Lots of race action happened in between, but it all came down to Tejay van Garderen (or, as I like to call him, Tejay van Beer-Garden-en) and a last minute break on Christian Vande Velde. In fact, here is that break:
And then here is Mr. van Beer-Garden-en, right after the win, being escorted to the podium:
It was a great day of fans and fun and racing. And to close today's post here are some more photos that need no explanation:
On that note... We'll see you tomorrow at Stage 3 (classy Aspen)!