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Stage One of the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Crested Butte
In the middle of a work week, a mangy group of Rez Dogs including Chuck, Nate, Bob, Chuck W. and Mike B. somehow managed to find their way up to Crested Butte to watch the very best cyclists in the world - including Cadell, both Schlecks, and Levi - do battle in the high altitude of Colorado. A report:
1. Serious TV air time. Here is a verbatim email exchange between Chuck, Bob and Paul the week before:
· Chuck to Bob and Paul: “FYI…I fully intend to get my keester some serious TV air time. Bob can you cover the legal ramifications of just busting on the course and riding with the Schlecks the last mile to the finish line on our Tomacs?? Public roads right? I won’t mind a full body cavity search by the Colorado State Police, but I don’t want to do any jail time.”
· Paul’s reply to Chuck: “Chuck don’t worry about the cavity search or the jail time with the cops, they have a gentle touch and they are cute too!”
2. Night Guy re-emerges. It’s been awhile since we have heard from or seen Chuck’s alter ego, Night Guy. Perhaps the last time was when he famously tied one on the night before Dawn til Dusk in April. Well . . . Night Guy re-emerged in all his glory with a late night romp in Crested Butte that included a 1am dash downhill (without lights) from the ski resort to the town of Crested Butte, a belligerent cop, and a cowboy bar that Night Guy and some of his fellow dogs were lucky to survive. And as usual, Night Guy wrote some big checks (more below) for Morning Guy, to cover.
3. Grinning like the cat who ate the canary. Excitement grew the evening before the race in the condo when Chuck opened up an email from Scottie Nydom, the former BMC racer who took a bad fall in the Tour of Gila Crit a couple of years ago. Scottie still works for the BMC team which includes Cadell Evans and George Hincapie. Attached to the email were photos taken the day before Stage 1 at the prologue in Colorado Spring’s Garden of the Gods with Peter sitting behind the wheel of the BMC support car grinning like the cat that ate the canary. The general consensus of those who saw the photos was that Peter must have been grinning because he was thinking about taking off in the car for the Bread Springs loop for a rematch with his nemesis.
4. Crested Butte’s “signature trail”. Before heading into town, Night Guy planned a 7am ride with Bob on Trail 401 which by most accounts is Crested Butte’s “signature trail.” At 6:30am, Morning Guy – against all odds – popped out of bed bright eyed and bushy tailed and started brewing coffee and loading his 29 compartment (yep, it’s somehow still growing) Gallup-Flea-Market- Camelback in spite of Night Guy’s escapades. Morning Guy then hammered out a fantastic ride that included chest high fields of flowers, raised, wooden wetlands crossings and steep but sweetly flowing switchbacks that climbed 2,000 vertical feet to a high pass above timberline. So, yes, Morning Guy came through and - yet again - covered another big check written by Night Guy.
5. Random impressions of the show: Here are some random impressions:
· The whole scene was astonishing. The course set up, the entourages, the pre-race festivities, the trade show, race announcers and the crowds were like magically stepping into a live giant screen broadcast of the Tour de France.
· The number of cars and motorcycles that drive in front of the racers is unbelievable. No joke. There were at least 50 cars and motorcycles zooming though the finish area for over 30 minutes before the first racers came in.
· Levi took off like a rocket in the final stretch. Instead of doing a drug test, they should have searched Levi for a jet propelled rocket.
· Crested Butte is a great place to be in the summer and the ski condo lodging is roomy and cheap. Chuck: “Let’s do a weeklong tour of Colorado ski resorts next summer where we stay condos and ride the trails at each resort.”
· The Americans (Levi, VandeVelde, VanGarderen, Big George Hincapie and Tommy D.) destroyed the Europeans. Cadell was game but the Schlecks and Basso were non-factors.
· There were pockets of Columbians with flags and dressed in their national colors cheering on their climbers - who did better than the Europeans.
· The crowd at the finish area stayed in place and cheered just as loud for the last riders as they did the leaders. Way cool!!