Yesterday was the L'Etape du California
in Claremont, California. Claremont is the host city for the grueling Stage 7
of the upcoming Tour de California
on May 15-21, 2011. The L'Etape du California was the opportunity for serious amateur cyclists to ride the entire Stage 7 route, the most challenging of the entire race. Cyclists came from around the U.S. and the world to participate.
Claremont is home to the prestigious Claremont Colleges, the sponsor of our bike group, and a 10-minute bike ride from home. In 2008, Claremont was designated a Bicycle Friendly City by the League of American Bicyclists
. (click on the first photo in that link and you'll see a 50+ jersey, worn by my very own Jim.
) It is a typical college town with a quaint downtown "village", tree-lined streets, and an ice cream shop that sells the best and hugest drumsticks which they make with various flavors of their own ice cream.
We volunteered at the sign-in/registration on Friday night; I noted that most of the riders I checked in were over 40, many over 60 - one was only 20. I would imagine that the older riders have years of experience on their side. Many in the room looked fit and strong; some looked like they didn't know what they had gotten themselves into. Many of our bike group members volunteered on the day of the ride to give out goody bags pre-ride, and medals and water at the finish line.
Yesterday morning, we arrived very early to greet the 5 members of our bike group who participated in the ride (the oldest is almost 70) --- and FINISHED! During the ride, we drove to Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) to photograph and cheer the riders up the long and arduous climb. One of them greeted us with "Bonjour!", another said "G'Day!". Almost all of them looked like this:
On the way back down the road, we passed a rider climbing up who's entire left arm was in a sling!!!
I took about 200 photos before, during, and after the ride and was able to get close enough to the starting line to get some good shots of the riders as they assembled and started riding.
The first row at the starting line consisted of VIP riders, including former basketball star Bill Walton and several pro cyclists whose faces I don't recognize; at least one of them wore the yellow jersey in the TdF.
I would like to know who they are -- some of you are very familiar with the names and faces of pro riders.... can any of you ID them?