Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lance Armstrong and I are Tight

The big AMGEN Tour of California bicycle race, whose prestige has grown in its few years of existence to make it one of the world's great biking events, completed its second stage in my hometown of Santa Rosa yesterday. Everyone made quite a big whoop-de-do about it, and enthusiastic crowds were huge despite light rain.

Unfortunately, that's not where I was. Instead, life took me to the Central Valley college town of Davis yesterday--where, coincidentally, the day's race began. And while I don't follow or really care much about the sport of cycling, when the circus comes to town and you have a chance to see the best at anything doing what they do, I think you take it. Which is how my girls and I ended up standing on a Davis boulevard about a mile downstream from the race's starting line.

My daughter Robin shot the video. Somewhere in there--I've no idea where--are Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, and another couple dozen of the most elite biking athletes in the world. You can hear me laughing about halfway through the video. That's because we'd spent several minutes devising our photography strategy, which the race itself destroyed in an instant. Somehow I'd pictured more racers more spread out. Instead, this tight little scrum blew by us in about two seconds. I thought I'd have time to shoot five or six photos. Instead, with the brief delay my digital camera takes to process each image, I had time for three: coming, whooshing past in a blur, and going.

If my schedule had cooperated, it would've been possible for me to see the start of the race in Davis and then drive home to catch its finish. That's not how my day went. But I'm glad we took the trouble to check it out. It was the most fun two seconds I can remember having in quite a while.

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