Monday, February 16, 2009

Race: Breakaway Leaders

First come the motorcycles. The Highway Patrol convoy, the team cars, the race marshal’s car, more motorcycles, a medic, more cars with team labels. An announcer car comes around the far bend and moves up the road, thanking everyone for coming out and letting us know the racers are on their way.

Then, down the road, a shadow, and there they are. Cell phone updates have let us know the stage leaders are a few minutes ahead of the pack. None are contenders for the overall race lead, but this handful of riders has decided to pour it on today, to try for a stage win or to rack up points in one of the intermediate contests.

After a long wait and many false alarms, this is the real deal, climbing up the road toward us.

They come by quietly, working hard, hunched over their wheels, while everyone around shouts, “Go! Go! Allez! You’re almost there!” Cow bells ring. Cameras flash.

In no time they are upon us . . .

. . . whizzing through the trees . . .

. . . and then, just as fast . . .

. . . they are past, followed by mechanics with spare parts, and we won’t see them again until we check race updates after we get home.

We settle back into regular heartbeats, check our cameras, and feel the anticipation tighten as we realize that this was just the precursor: The peloton is on its way. We check our cameras again, and make any last-minute adjustments.

1 comment:

Kangamoo said...

Next time I am sure you will bring a tripod for one of your cameras. I see we got all the good pictures here.