I think that today was my favorite day of any Tour of California! The adventure began as we decided to do something a bit different….
During these long stages the riders need to constantly refuel themselves, consuming up to 5,000 calories during the ride. You don’t really see much on T.V. about the “Feed Zones” so we decided to look at it up close today!
We took off down the highway in search of the smaller roads they would be riding. We knew about what mile marker the Feed Zone would be. South of Fresno is very wide open land, with many large dairy farms…we drove for miles in this open space before finally coming upon the road signs. No one was there at all since it was 8:30 am and the racers were not excepted through this area for another 4 hours!!!
So, we opened the tailgate, boiled some water and make coffee and hot mochas J
In case you have never seen this at all, the riders slow down just a bit from the 25+ MPH they are traveling to swing over to the side of the road, while still riding, and grab a bag of food and drinks that is being held out for them…quite a tricky process. They quickly go through the bag and discard any thing they do not want or need…the balance gets tossed on the road (that’s where we come in)!
As cars started to arrive, and a few spectators like ourselves, curious as to this process, we positioned ourselves along the road where we hoped the riders would be going through their food bags. Now, if you have ever stood in line for hours for something good you will understand. The competition was not much, but I was really determined to get a few ‘goodies’. We were pretty certain we were positioned just about right in the grand scheme of things!
Here they came up the road. I saw a few water bottle fly over the road on the opposite side of the road, darn it. No worries they were just about in front of me when one rider tried to fling the bag in my direction, but it was caught by one of the photo motorbikes, darn it missed that one too!
Then, as the main Peleton whizzed by the stuff started flying up the road everywhere. I was across the street at a dead run, grabbing bags, water bottles, etc
Now, keep in mind that:
1) there are still support cars on the road
2) there is an older gentleman who is now also caught up in the moment and running stride for stride with me (wasn’t counting on that)!
3) I have promised a girl who parked next to us that I would trade her something if I got a Rock Racing souvenir
It was a chaotic mess for about 5 minutes and I found myself about ½ mile down the road as the Feed Zone sweepers showed up. They dashed out of their vehicles, grabbed all the swag and drove away…the nerve!
Anyway, here’s a look; (notice the 3 Astana bags? Yes, one of those IS Lance Armstongs!!!
That’s all for today…stayed tuned for Solvang results tomorrow.
PS Jeff Louder rocked again today in the breakaway!!!!