Some of the stud sprinters like Thor Horshovd, Tom Boonen, and Oscar Freire made it out for some stage battles. Astana was there with Lance and Levi, the eventual winner. Frank Schleck was there trashing the field in the final stage. His brother Andy was in there as well. Other decorated riders included Carlos Sastre, last years TDF winner, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Christian Vande Velde, Mark Cavendish, Ivan Basso, Kim Kirchen, Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, and David Zabriskie, and others. Basically a ton of legit riders I have only had a chance to see on TV before.
A new team joined the ranks of the pros for this race, Team Type 1. I had no idea they were in the race until a couple days after when I got an emial from my aunt. She told me that there was a new team trying to show that type 1 diabetics can hang with the elite. They might have been the ones that were 20 minutes behind the main pack, but I wish I had known they were there. I'm joking about being in the back of the pack because this team actually won some pro races last year. I found some infor on them, my new heroes, that stated quite simply that their goal is to " The Type 1 athletes in these programs strive to instill hope and inspiration for people around the world affected by diabetes. The team encourages control of diabetes through diet, exercise and the use of the best treatment and technology available today." Pretty freaking cool if you ask this diabetic.
Despite not having my TT1 jersey, sign, and chalkings we had a great time on the course. The sheer power with which these athletes crushed the climb was definitely aweinspiring. Maybe even more impressive was the speed they cruised by us with when they circled back around the base. The cars trailing them even looked like they were going fast. I was so caught up in watching the cyclists as they passed that, on more than one occasion, I may have stepped a little too close to the paths of the team cars.
Last Sunday was a great experience... minus the serpentine-like traffic jam winding through the hills of NE San Diego County as we left. I would definitely go again, and now I am determined to make it toTHE Tour at some point. Next year I will be more prepared though: a bike to try to ride the courses climb, a cooler of beer for after that, a sign, a shirt with a witty phrase on it, a couple chairs, and FOOD.
EDITORS NOTE: I don't believe Sastre actually made the start this year.