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Old 04-22-06, 06:03 PM   #1
thomasbien
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TdG - Stage 5 Report

Today was exciting! We left our campground around 10 o’clock this morning and drove towards Brasstown Bald. Parking on the shoulder of 180 we had a 15 minute walk up to the spur that leads up the mountain. We paid $5 each to take a shuttle van to the lower parking lot that is 0.6 mile from the summit. Many people were walking and some people were riding the 3 miles to the lower parking lot. From the windows of the van we could see the effort on the faces of the riders. The higher we went the more bikes we saw being pushed than ridden. Bikes were not allowed higher than the lower parking lot.

In the lower parking lot the Health Expo was setup. It consisted of a bunch of booths for vendors and organizations. The giant OLN screen was also setup here. We walked from the parking lot up to the summit and I would have to say I was shocked at just how steep the road is… I mean words, stats, or pictures cannot convey the steepness. Very steep!

Just as we reached the observation tower on the summit the rain began. Not a downpour but it was a soaking kind of rain. Beneath a vacant tent that was setup just past the finish line we stayed out of the rain for a couple hours, which sounds like a long time to just sit around clouded in on the summit of a mountain. There were a few other couples that sought cover beneath the tent and the enjoying conversation made the time pass quickly. We heard on one guy’s scanner that McCartney was out on a break yet again.

It was around 1:30 and the rain was letting up. There was still no view due to the clouds. Along with a couple we met in the tent, we walked down the road just beyond the last switchback the riders would face. We were just past the 100m signs on the outside of the corner with a good view down the road. This was the last steep section before the run into the finish line.

The clouds began to separate as the announcers over the PA system relayed that the riders were just turning onto the spur up the mountain. I started my stopwatch. Just under 21 minutes later the leaders appeared. Prior to this, the announcers really had the crowd whipped up as they announced the attacks and action of Floyd, Tom and Popo. I haven’t exactly read how it unfolded but we were pretty fired up when we heard that Popo had attacked yet again and opened up a 100 meter gap. Moments later as the lead motorcycle came into view we saw Tom leading Floyd. Popo was a few moments behind. It was quite a while before we heard who made it to the line first so it must have been close.
For the next 45 minutes or so we watched the rest of the field labor up and out of sight around the last corner. These guys were really suffering… some looked like me (on much lesser climbs of course) fighting just to keep turning over the pedals. The crowd was cheering on every single rider. The only person that still looked cool and calm coming by our corner was Eki. He didn’t look as whipped as anyone else we saw go by.

At one point we looked down the road and saw a Kodak rider on foot. He was pushing riders, on his team or any other, as they fought the last 125m of the climb. We cheered especially hard for him.

The riders had to ride back down from the summit to the lower parking lot to get in their team vehicles. So as riders were still coming up others were zipping down just a few inches in front of us. The “big names” stayed at the top doing interviews or preparing for the podium presentation.

It was great to see these guys pushing themselves to the finish, they earned their pay today.

We watched the podium presentation and then walked back down to the lower lot. After waiting for the shuttle for over 30 minutes we gave up and walked down the mountain. Unfortunately there had been a wreck involving a cyclist (fan) going down hill, a pedestrian, and a car. They shut down the road and took several people away in ambulances.

Walking the lower portion of the mountain I was once again amazed at the length and steepness of the climb. It took us just over 50 minutes to walk down the mountain and back to our car.

So that was our day at the Tour de Georgia. Tomorrow we drive 10+ hours to get back home. A worthwhile experience, I think we will be doing this again next year. It was our first pro race and was really exciting!
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File Type: jpg dave_z.jpg (90.3 KB, 70 views)
File Type: jpg 100m.jpg (88.0 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg freddie.jpg (94.0 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg popo_finish.jpg (96.6 KB, 46 views)
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Old 04-22-06, 06:23 PM   #2
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Thanks for the great report. The climbing stages are always the best in my opinion. Nothing like seeing the best cyclists suffer like mere-mortals!

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Old 04-22-06, 07:25 PM   #3
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I was going to start a pic thread but i'll just merge with this one, hope you don't mind.

These were taken about 95m from the finish.

Notice in the first picture where Landis is looking as opposed to Tom D. and the mavic wheel guys. I honestly think Landis thought he was going straight instead of taking a left (even though he rode this last year).

The second picture shows Tom D passing Floyd after they go around the curve.

You know the third picture.

The fourth picture is priceless. Lots of struggling faces going up the last 100m.

Maybe tomorrow i'll post a few more.
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Old 04-22-06, 07:27 PM   #4
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worst glasses ever:
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Old 04-22-06, 07:39 PM   #5
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Yeah, when he rounded the corner I thought the lead singer from U2 had signed with Phonak.
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Old 04-22-06, 07:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timhines
Yeah, when he rounded the corner I thought the lead singer from U2 had signed with Phonak.
lucille ball or elizabeth taylor come to my mind....
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Old 04-22-06, 07:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by timhines
Yeah, when he rounded the corner I thought the lead singer from U2 had signed with Phonak.
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!



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Old 04-22-06, 08:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ostuni
worst glasses ever:
The shape reminds of the glasses some professional snooker players wear to see better when leaning over to make a shot.
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Old 04-22-06, 09:32 PM   #9
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Anyone have any pictures of him with those glasses during the time trial.... with his weird time trial position, those glasses, and the green jersey= praying mantis?
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Old 04-23-06, 05:18 AM   #10
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Loony Landis is cooler than all of you put together.
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Old 04-23-06, 07:43 AM   #11
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At least Phonak's wearing Atmos's instead of those golfball helmets from last year. Still has the porn mustache - tool.
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Old 04-23-06, 07:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timhines
Notice in the first picture where Landis is looking as opposed to Tom D. and the mavic wheel guys. I honestly think Landis thought he was going straight instead of taking a left (even though he rode this last year).
Yeah, I know what you are saying. At the fork in the road with about 95 meters to go race volunteers were supposed to be directing riders to the left (to the finish line) and vehicles to the right which looped around the observation tower to the finish line. Unfortunately as riders were approaching at the same time as a vehicle, the volunteers were not doing a very good job of directing traffic. I saw Landis look like he would miss the turn but even worse was Popovych. As he got to the split the volunteers were trying to direct a vehicle to the right and Popo thought they were directing him. I was yelling "LEFT, LEFT, LEFT!!!" as Popo nearly came to a stop as they tried to redirect him in the proper direction. He threw an arm up in disgust. Now that I think about it a motorcycle carrying a camera man almost wrecked right there too. The bike ended up doing a burnout as it tried to takeoff in the correct direction. They should have had a sign setup with the words "RIDERS" and "VEHICLES" and arrows to help the confusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timhines
The second picture shows Tom D passing Floyd after they go around the curve.
I am eager to see the coverage from OLN to know how the battle played out. How awesome was it when Dave Towle was calling the attacks and counterattacks between Landis, Danielson and Popo?! The crowds near the summit were going crazy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by timhines
You know the third picture.
We are hidden in that picture just behind Fred's back.


Quote:
Originally Posted by timhines
The fourth picture is priceless. Lots of struggling faces going up the last 100m.
Watching some of those guys chugging up the last 120m almost made me feel bad for making a spectacle out of them. We were cheering hard for them. There were some tired and pained faces, except like I mentioned in my original post, Eki impressed me as looking pretty calm. Did you notice that at least one of the riders had a triple?
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Old 04-24-06, 06:47 AM   #13
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dude, were you in a black shirt with a good looking lady with you?

If so I have a couple nice shots of you yelling in the background. haha

I'm viewing my pictures now from work (high speed) and they look like crap!
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Old 04-25-06, 07:22 AM   #14
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is that you thomasbien?
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Old 04-25-06, 07:41 AM   #15
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is that you thomasbien?
rider looks like hincapie!
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Old 04-25-06, 07:54 AM   #16
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is that you thomasbien?
or, is that you in the crowd pic on the ajc slideshow here.
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Old 04-25-06, 07:57 AM   #17
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The rider pictured Is Egoi Martinez. But i'm sure you knew.
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Old 04-25-06, 08:08 AM   #18
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The rider pictured Is Egoi Martinez. But i'm sure you knew.
thanks - i knew it wasn't hincapie, but did not know martinez....
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Old 04-25-06, 05:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
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is that you thomasbien?
No, that's not me. If those fans are at the 100m corner they most be on the inside of the corner... right? The Rhodos in the background make me say that, plus they look to be cheering a climbing rider that is moving to their right.

I was on the outside of the 100m corner, wearing a dark yellow rain jacket. We were probably 105m from the finish line. Behind us was a small, open grassy area.

You must have been on the observatory side of the road, inside the loop... right?

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or, is that you in the crowd pic on the ajc slideshow here.
I remember the guys in this pic. They were leaning way out and starting the "GO, GO, GO, GO!" chant for the struggling riders, which was cool to see the crowd get fired up for all the riders. Anyhow, these guys were on the outside of the 100m corner (like us) and about 5m further down the mountain than us.

Were you there too Ostuni? If so, where were you watching from?
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Old 04-25-06, 05:33 PM   #20
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rider looks like hincapie!
Speaking of Hincapie... two riders I wish would have been there: Hincapie and Bobby Julich. I believe it was already known that Hincapie was not going to be there even before his injury at PR. I did not read or hear about Julich though.
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Old 04-25-06, 06:38 PM   #21
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I can't decide who has worse glasses, Landis or Alex Zulle
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Old 04-25-06, 10:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
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...Were you there too Ostuni? If so, where were you watching from?
no, my plan sort of came apart - saw the start, hung around blairsville to see the peloton come back through town after the loop around the lake, then dawdled too long and got hung up in traffic trying to get over to brasstown to see the finish (was in the vehicle)....

next year will try to pull off the start/finish thing again, but will do it onthe bike...
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Old 04-25-06, 10:42 PM   #23
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Quote:
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I can't decide who has worse glasses, Landis or Alex Zulle
haven't seen zulle's, but how could they be worse? elton john was wearing less flamboyant glasses in his 'goodbye yellow brick road' days...
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