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  1. #1
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Ken - How was your day at the TOC Prologue?

    We need a full report with photos and tales of celebrity sightings!

    I've been watching the coverage on Versus. Looks like the fans are showing up in big numbers.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  2. #2
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Well, I didn't bring a camera I thought I was there to work. Now, with that disclaimer out of the way...

    This was my first bike race... I really had no idea what to expect other than what I had seen when watching the TdF on Le Tube. It was just like that only, instead of just watching it, you're IN it.
    As a volunteer course marshall, we had to get there pretty early to check in and get our assignments so we got to watch them set up the starting gate which was pretty cool. Then we got shuttled up to our positions ( but NOT shuttled back at day's end so, unfortunately, we didn't get to partake in the Life Experience Fair -or whatever it was called- which was going up when we got there in the AM and was being torn down after we got back. Major drag and NO schwag! ). I was spotted on Telegraph Hill Blvd just 100 yards from the Finish. My wife, who didn't even want to go at first, got placed right at the corner -the apex- of Lombard and Telegraph Hill. Long story short, the full time marshalls in my area didn't have much use for volunteers so I was pretty much a spectator for the whole event. My wife actually had to work. While I was pretty close to the action, the riders cut right through her corner of the world... close enough that she swears Hincapie smiled at her from a foot away. She even got some TV time. Sadly, volunteers were not supplied with a start sheet so I had no idea who was on the course at any given time until the passed by (the whole volunteer experience was pretty p*ss-poor... disorganized and badly run. They kept saying how much they needed us until the day of the race when they seemingly had no need at all and really could care less that we were there. They lost a repeat volunteer for next year).

    The course ran from Justin Herman Plaza down the Embarcadero, left on Bay, left on Stockton, left on Lombard, right on Telegraph Hill and on up to the Finish at Coit Tower. From they time the riders turned onto Stockton, it was all uphill. And not just chump change but probably an average of 7-10%. I got to watch all the practice climbs (here, I did get to do something; I had to yell "Rider UP" or "Rider DOWN" as the came around the blind corners. Cool) and then the climb during the TT itself. It was amazing to see how composed the guys were riding all out up this nutso climb, over and over again. Some stayed in the saddle, some were honking, mouths hanging open gasping for air. Mostly, though, it made me sick how easy they made it look. I tried imagining myself making this climb... no way. Not like that.

    The really amazing part was the whole crowd experience. You could hear as the rider approached, out of sight, the screaming and shouting, the cowbells and thunder sticks. It moved like a wave. It was just like being on Les Alpe du Huez. And, Paolo Bettini wore gold shoes.

    I can't wait for next year. I'll be at the Starting line (I hope)
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  3. #3
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    I've been watching on Vs also, but the full show was not as exciting as your up close personal update is. I wish you were going to be there everyday. I did sign up to win the TOC bike, that would be something!

  4. #4
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    BlankCrows over at the NoCal forum took some photos in this thread...

    East Hill
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    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

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    Oh boy,I'm so excited!!! I'm going to see them this Saturday . I hope to get some good pictures.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
    Long story short, the full time marshalls in my area didn't have much use for volunteers so I was pretty much a spectator for the whole event. My wife actually had to work. While I was pretty close to the action, the riders cut right through her corner of the world... close enough that she swears Hincapie smiled at her from a foot away. She even got some TV time. Sadly, volunteers were not supplied with a start sheet so I had no idea who was on the course at any given time until the passed by (the whole volunteer experience was pretty p*ss-poor... disorganized and badly run. They kept saying how much they needed us until the day of the race when they seemingly had no need at all and really could care less that we were there. They lost a repeat volunteer for next year).

    I can't wait for next year. I'll be at the Starting line (I hope)
    That's too bad your volunteer experience wasn't more fun. I've run into some bad volunteer experiences, too. Don't let this turn you off - it might be much better the next time.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    It's really disppointing because what I wanted to do more than anything else was to contribute
    There was a full-time marshall right behind me seemingly willingly running himself ragged with 6 volunteers standing around with 30 feet of him. He wanted no part of us. And what *really* cheeses me off is that I emailed the local promoter a week before the race asking for a start sheet and never got nothing. I figured if I was a spectator, the biggest question I'd have would be "Who's next?" Luckily, one of the spectators there got one (from a race organizer, no less, after we were promised that morning that we would each get one before the TT started) so I could ask him.
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  8. #8
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
    It's really disppointing because what I wanted to do more than anything else was to contribute
    There was a full-time marshall right behind me seemingly willingly running himself ragged with 6 volunteers standing around with 30 feet of him. He wanted no part of us. And what *really* cheeses me off is that I emailed the local promoter a week before the race asking for a start sheet and never got nothing. I figured if I was a spectator, the biggest question I'd have would be "Who's next?" Luckily, one of the spectators there got one (from a race organizer, no less, after we were promised that morning that we would each get one before the TT started) so I could ask him.
    This is a new event and it sometimes takes a few years to work the kinks out. If you get the chance to give some feedback you might suggest the volunteers could be better utilized. I hope to be able to attend this event sometime. I have been to the Tour de Georgia and loved it. We went the last year Lance rode in it. We bought tickets to the Yellow Jersey area and were right at the finish line.

    I once volunteered for the PGA Golf Tour when it was in town. They assigned me to the media communications room and my job was to give information to news people when they called or stopped in. I told the head fellow I'd never played golf and wasn't sure I would be able to answer all their questions. He just smiled and said not to worry - some of them calling in didn't know as much as I did. It turned out to be a great day. I got to meet many of the local television sportcasters and newspaper people.
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  9. #9
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Ken, sorry to hear that the volunteer experience wasn't what you expected. Having served as a local volunteer and as a full time marshal a couple of times in the Tour de Georgia, I can tell you that the local volunteer coordination is often a problem. Much of the planning for local volunteers depends on the local team leaders. The full time marshals generally try to make the best use of the local volunteers, but often communication is not what it should be. You never know if you have smart helpful volunteers or if you have people who showed up to get a free shirt. Sounds like the marshal in your area missed a good opportunity to get some good help.
    First days are always strange and time trials are completely different from what the marshals are normally required to do. I strangely miss the thrill and terror of piling into a van full of my marshal teammates, making a mad dash to get to the next dropoff spot ahead of the race, scoping out the situation, the crowd, the road conditions, the volunteer availability etc., making sure everything is under control, helping the fans safely enjoy the excitement as it passes by and then hopping back in the van to do it all over again further up the road, day after day.
    But then again, I really enjoyed last year being able to find a good spot to wait and watch the race come by without responsibilities. I especially enjoyed riding my bike up a mountain to watch the race come by on the way to a mountain top finish.
    Last edited by BluesDawg; 02-21-07 at 09:18 PM.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  10. #10
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    I was at the finish of Stage 2 in Sacramento. There were six of us there, at the finish, with a pretty good vantage point. But two of us decided to head down the street a few blocks to see them come around a turn. We were probably 700-800 meters from the finish. The route took them "around the block" 4 times, so we got to see them four times. We were right on the curb. No one in front of us. 144 riders came right at me . . . fast! I could have knocked over 20 riders if I stuck my arm out. Here's a taste from my pictures.
    Here they come for the first lap.
    This was snapped a half second later.
    After they passed by three times I ran down the street a ways and caught this bit of the final sprint from about 400 meters out.
    Truth is stranger than reality.
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  11. #11
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insights folks! We need one of those races here in NC again. It's been way too long......

  12. #12
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Cool pictures. There's actually going to be a bike race in Missouri. This makes me think seriously of going to spectate.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  13. #13
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Here's an account of a talk given by Greg LeMond at a TOC-related event.

    http://www.marinij.com/sports/ci_5257516

    Note that he is now 45, approaching #46 this summer. Won't be long until he can join this forum!

  14. #14
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrierman
    Cool pictures. There's actually going to be a bike race in Missouri. This makes me think seriously of going to spectate.
    Oh yes, by all means, I'd say you should. While my volunteer experience sucked, the *race* itself was wonderful. Whether I volunteer again next year is immaterial, I *will* go back to see the race again.
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    Here's an account of a talk given by Greg LeMond at a TOC-related event.
    Note that he is now 45, approaching #46 this summer. Won't be long until he can join this forum!
    No way he's getting in here. LeMond's always cracking jokes, and veers off-topic like Digital Gee after a three day carb-bender at a Mexican Restaurant!!!

  16. #16
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Great stage on Wednesday. My beer-drinking buddy won the stage. I had a two-Heineken conversation with Jens Voigt at the after-party of the 2004 Tour de Georgia. Being on race staff does have its perks. I also met his teammate, Bobby Julich in line at the breakfast bar at the staff hotel the day after the 2005 TdG.
    Also, podium girls are just crazy about course marshals!
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
    Oh yes, by all means, I'd say you should. While my volunteer experience sucked, the *race* itself was wonderful. Whether I volunteer again next year is immaterial, I *will* go back to see the race again.
    Next year????? September is da Bomb!!!!!!!!!!!! San Francisco Gran Prix. They'll all be back.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  18. #18
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I was on one side of a fence when a 2-person TV crew from a local station called to someone behind me and asked to interview him. I turned and found myself less then an arms' length from Greg LeMond.
    This space open

  19. #19
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Hey 'Dawg, that's some fine company you're keeping there. And nice story, too

    Dchiefransom - That's how ignorant I am... I didn't know they still ran the SFGP. Something to look forward to, yes yes
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  20. #20
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I just stumbled across this article about a TOC traveling course marshal. Makes me wish I was there working with my old friends.
    http://www.venturacountystar.com/vcs...375989,00.html
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg
    I just stumbled across this article about a TOC traveling course marshal. Makes me wish I was there working with my old friends.
    http://www.venturacountystar.com/vcs...375989,00.html
    This is really interesting. But I have to wonder about this paragraph...

    "Nicholls has been telling her fellow marshals about what to expect along today's stage. She rides the same route during her own training, including 90 miles to Santa Clarita and back to have her hair done."

    Huh???

  22. #22
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Paulie
    This is really interesting. But I have to wonder about this paragraph...

    "Nicholls has been telling her fellow marshals about what to expect along today's stage. She rides the same route during her own training, including 90 miles to Santa Clarita and back to have her hair done."

    Huh???
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  23. #23
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    Well, at least she can't use the excuse, "I just got my hair done," with her husband. Not after riding 45 miles home from the salon!

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