Sunday, February 22, 2009

Race: Fan Scene

The store at the top of the hill was doing a brisk business.

This is the top of the Palomar “King of the Mountain” grade. The course had three other KOM climbs, but none so daunting. Two were Category 4, which is the lowest rated climb (to earn points for the overall best climber prize); one was Cat 3. The Palomar grade is in a whole different class; it was rated HC, for “hors categorie,” which in French translates to “what, are you nuts?”

The French use the same word in the phrase “hors d’oeuvres,” which means “nuts from a Hitchcock film.”

Hey, if the store can make a buck from the race . . .

The audience was captive: All roads leading off the peak were closed until after the race.

These guys had a great rig. They had an RV with all the conveniences, and under the red canopies they had a satellite TV (dish is behind canopy on left) so they could watch the entire progress of the race in comfort. They also had just about the best seats in the house for watching the riders come up to the crest of the hill and make that right turn.

Not so much that it takes all kinds, but we’ve got all kinds. The sign in his hand says Ulrich Fan Club, if that tells you anything.

I settled in right around 5,000 feet. The summit was at 5,123 feet, at mile 47.8, which makes the climb from here about a 3% grade—not coasting, but not horrible.

The Pope was stationed just uphill from me. He had a busy day: Many police cars, bicycles, bicyclists, Chargers fans, and helicopters needed blessing.

This guy shows up at lots of bike races; you’ll see him in TV coverage at the top of various climbs. All kinds.

When life gives you snow, make an innovative way to store bicycles.

Someone had trucked bleachers up to about 4,500 feet above sea level so folks could watch the bike race.

Many people along the way had food out on tables; it wasn’t always clear to me whether it was for sale or for sharing or just for conversation. In this case, the food was from Mother’s Market, a local consortium with generally healthy food. Like the Diet Coke there on the table, for example.


San Diego’s downtown skyline, with offshore islands behind it. This is looking south by southwest; the islands are actually off Tijuana, which makes them . . . far away. Someone said 100 miles, which looks about right on Google Maps.

For all the haze, the air was clear.


Kangamoo said...

Nice to see they have entertainment there while you wait. Just like the subway in NYC. And a nice group too. Ihope you brought your own healthy food, in case you didn't want a soda.

mrjumbo said...

There were plenty of nuts along the course. But I wasn't that hungry.

Kangamoo said...

According to your post, I was thinking you might be nuts too. Good thing no one around you was hungry either.

CaliforniaGirl said...

Something parents with kids that run, swim, ski and dance learn really fast is that there is a choice between watching and shooting. I am glad it never rains in southern California, so you could watch the bikes in the sun. Next February, we can meet at your house.