Monday, February 16, 2009

Race: Spectators

At the top of Tunitas Creek Road, a rated race climb, eligible for points in the “King of the Mountains” competition. At the end of a week of racing, there will be an overall winner and a winning team, but awards will also be handed out for riders who climbed mountains fastest, who rode in front of the peloton the most, and a few other ranked categories.

The corner is familiar to a lot of Bay Area cyclists. This picture looks down Skyline Boulevard, the highway that runs the ridge of the Peninsula separating San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The racers were coming up from the Pacific side to the ridge. Directly across Skyline Boulevard at the same intersection is Kings Mountain Road, which climbs up from the Bay. Both are popular cycling routes.

(I have been past this corner a few times on rides, but only on the way down: I usually climb to the ridge on Page Mill Road, further south of here. Kings Mountain is a “technical” descent, steep but with lots of tight curves preventing a rider from gaining much speed. I always feel for the riders huffing up it as I whiz down.)

My brother and nephew

Many drivers had parked on Skyline Blvd. and walked down the top part of the climb. Some riders had cycled up the hill in the rain to watch the race. Tunitas Creek Road itself didn’t offer much parking along the road, but a few people had camped out in what spots there were. Many pedestrians walked up and down the road, picking a place to wait and watch. Race vehicles came up now and then, checking road conditions and now and then letting us know how far back the racers were.

Star Hill Road meets Tunitas Creek Road about a mile down from the summit. We meandered down this far, took a look around, then started heading back up to find a spot to perch. We wanted to keep moving, to keep warm. The drizzle was not helping my nephew’s spirits. He had set out enthusiastic about watching the bike race, but the longer we wandered in the rain, the more emphatic he got about wanting to go back to the car.

“Next time, we should see bike races when it’s sunny.”

We all agreed.

1 comment:

Kangamoo said...

Go figure the smallest one in the group was the smartest. Let's hear it for some sunshine. And he didn't even have to walk back up to the car... he was carried.