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Any advice for viewing a race?

Old 08-07-11, 04:09 PM
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wxduff
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Any advice for viewing a race?

With the spike in North American racing coming up over the next couple of months, I'm sure I'm not the only person with the questions I have.

I'm personally going to the GP Cycliste Montreal. This year there is still the Tour of Utah, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and the GP Cycliste Quebec as well and I'm sure other people will be going to their first pro race. My question how do you plan a trip to one of these big events?

1. Do you have to camp out to be near the finish?
2. What kind of hotel do you stay at usually?
3. How do you get autographs if you want them?
4. What kind of stuff would it be good to know before I go (aka other peoples mistakes)?
5. I'm bringing my significant other who isn't into cycling like I am but is excited to go to one of our favorite cities. Any advice there?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-11-11, 12:28 AM
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So nobody here can help me on this? This might be understandable do to the lack of races in North America, especially one day classics type races.
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Old 08-11-11, 01:20 PM
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Perhaps you are right about the lack of races, or really more correctly that things are changing. It is much easier to give advice about an event that has been similar for 20 years than one where the crowd has been growing by 10% each year and has only existed for 5 years.

Still based on other events here is my advice.

To be near the finish line you will have to get there early. Considering interest is growing I'd say at leat an hour earlier than you had to be the year before.

Early may mean a long wait, the kind where having food and drink might be smart. Find out the rules for the city in question. Especially if dring means anythgni with alcohol.

Plan but be flexible.

Expect to be tied up for at least 2 hours after the end of the event. That is figuring on an in city finish. Figure far longer for any remote finish. (Hmm, one of yuor favorite cities, is the finish near one of your favorite resturants? Close enough to walk? if so a reservation abotu an hour after the end of the race might be a good plan.)

I don't know specifics on autographs, I do know up and comming athletes often are eager to sign. Guys who have everyone pushing somethgin to sign in their face get tired of it. Knowing something, even just their name helps, it is shocking how many fans just go after teh same ones everyone else goes after.
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Old 08-11-11, 02:50 PM
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Every race is different. Your best bet is to check the event's website. Some are better at telling fans what roads will be closed (and when) than others. The biggest race I've been to is the Tour of California, unfortunately.

1. I've seen guys camp out, but only on the big climbs and it's somewhat rare. I saw a guy camping in the snow next to the road at Emerald Bay this year. I would guess a few guys will do this at Colorado, but it's more common in the big European races, I think. If the finish is in a big city it's best to just show up early in the morning. You'll have no problem getting around on foot or with your bike, but you'll have to claim the good spots early.

2. Not sure the hotel matters. I'd just stay wherever is cheapest within a reasonable distance. Some hotels may run specials. I think Montbleu did for the Tour of California.

3. The best place to get autographs is if you can make it to the team presentation. I hung out at Montbleu after the presentation and saw a lot of guys walk by, but I'm not a big autograph person. The second best thing to do is hang out near the start by the team buses. Even if you don't get any autographs you can see a bunch of riders up close and you can even check out their bikes when they're not around.

4. To me, the best thing is being on a big climb. That's where you'll find the best atmosphere and you'll get a good look because guys are going slow. I'd say hanging out at the team bus area is a lot more fun than watching guys zoom by for about 1 second.
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Old 09-05-11, 08:11 AM
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Montreal is a super-fan friendly course.

Stay where you can, I doubt anyone will be camping on Mont Royal.

The start/finish won't be hugely packed till the last lap or two. They have big-screens setup if you can't get to the barriers.

The course is short enough that you could potentially walk most of the route. Having a bike is a good thing.

The climb up Camilien-Houde is a good place to hang, and you can cut right through the park down to start/finish towards the end of the race.

Feel free to ping me @tourpro if you have more questions.
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Old 09-16-11, 07:27 PM
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Get a room
Learn the route
Figure out where you want to be. The ProCycling Tour had big screens near the finish that showed the race live. I watched the screen, enjoyed the other fans and watched the finish. I walked up to a couple of the pros immediately after the race. Took some pictures, but did not approach them for autographs. That would have been a bad time. They were still in physical and psychic pain.
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Old 09-16-11, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
Perhaps you are right about the lack of races, or really more correctly that things are changing. It is much easier to give advice about an event that has been similar for 20 years than one where the crowd has been growing by 10% each year and has only existed for 5 years.

Still based on other events here is my advice.

To be near the finish line you will have to get there early. Considering interest is growing I'd say at leat an hour earlier than you had to be the year before.

Early may mean a long wait, the kind where having food and drink might be smart. Find out the rules for the city in question. Especially if dring means anythgni with alcohol.

Plan but be flexible.

Expect to be tied up for at least 2 hours after the end of the event. That is figuring on an in city finish. Figure far longer for any remote finish. (Hmm, one of yuor favorite cities, is the finish near one of your favorite resturants? Close enough to walk? if so a reservation abotu an hour after the end of the race might be a good plan.)

I don't know specifics on autographs, I do know up and comming athletes often are eager to sign. Guys who have everyone pushing somethgin to sign in their face get tired of it. Knowing something, even just their name helps, it is shocking how many fans just go after teh same ones everyone else goes after.

This. Also might be wise to invest in a small, portable cooler of some sort. That way, while you're waiting, you can bring along some snacks, and drinks, maybe even a sammich or 3. Sunscreen, a hat, maybe a route of the race? a COMFORTABLE, folding chair/seat, b/c you might be waiting for long periods of time.

A race, say the size of the TDF(and it's history), you're better off getting there atleast 3-4 hours early, and camping out, near the front/finish line. Frenchies take that race SERIOUS, and they know what to do, to view the race. Might be a good idea to hang out with them, or ask, a day or 2 in advance, should you ever decide you want to go to France and watch the race.

In the US( say for a race like the Tour Of Utah), a 1-2 hr time frame, for getting there early, should be sufficient. Have fun.

Last edited by LemondFanForeve; 09-19-11 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 09-20-11, 01:37 PM
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We have made a tradition out of the TOC Time Trial. Usually in Solvang Ca. (once was in Los Angeles which toatlly sucked.) We ariive the afternoon before the event ,check in to our hotel (many choices but you have to book within days of the tour schedule being announced, 2-3 months in advance), and have a relaxing evening with a nice dinner.

Next day up early have breakfast at hotel, then out to get our spot at the barriers. Good spot is right before last turn to the finish straight. Usually huge jumbotron there. The teams have not shown up yet they are driving in from previous finish city. Mechnics are there with the equipment traileres starting to get organized.

Nice thing about a TT is its usually both the start and finish town. So the team busses are there first thing, the finsh town expo is there, plus the teams are still there after the conclusion.

After teams arrive , riders start milling around, and then start to warm up. After the race the ususally do a cool down. Lots of opportunties for swag and autograph aqusition between the teams and the expo.

We usually trade off walking around leaving someone to maintain our spot. Some will cable and lock their chairs to the barrier. Need to have back pack full of crap with you, sunscreen, water, snacks, hats , sunglasses, and very important to have chairs.

We were on the street pretty early this year befor the taems shoed up when this skinny guy rides up in full Team Leopard kit on a full out team Madone. I was thinking ,jeez this guy is really a fan, when he pulls up on the sidewalk by us (fan dork riding on sidewalk). Look at his top tube and there is a little decal says Linus Gerdermann. I ask him "Linus what are you doing here so early?" He says "I need coffee." So my wife takes him to a palce she just got back from and buys Linus Geredermann (Tour De France Stage Winner)his race day coffee. Made her entire weekend.

Later that day DZ had finished his run leading at the time . Levi and Horner had yet to finish. Look around and DZ is standing right behind me in street clothes holding his kid and watching the Jumbotron. So we are standing right there with him when the times come in and he knows he has won. Highy fiving DZ at the moment of victory? are you kidding me?

Later got bunch of water bottlles from Leopard, Bunch of autographs. Also talked to Kristen Arrmstrong for a little bit.

Stayed over an extra night then drove home to LA the next day. Great weekend , great day with some of the tours top stars.
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Old 09-22-11, 04:39 PM
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We followed the USA Pro Challenge (Colorado) for a couple of days.

We camped out on Independence Pass for the stage there. Got there the day before to get a camp spot 2 miles below the summit. There were thousands of people there! Passed the time riding our bikes up and down the road, watching people, meeting people, walking around. Lots of fun!

Spent the day in Vail for the ITT there. We left our bikes with our vehicle. Walked all around Vail to look at the team busses and watch different parts of the stage. Took the bus up the road to watch the race near the finish. Lots of fun!

Went to Steamboat Springs, camped in campground near town. Rode our bikes into town to watch stage finish. Camped over and watched stage start that next day.

We saw a variety of parts of the race. Lots of fun!
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Old 09-22-11, 05:16 PM
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I live just outside Salt Lake and have seen stages of the Tour of Utah over the years, so no advice on hotels since it's local. But that's a big plus too. Went to the TT this year, and that's always a good place to see the riders, since there all right there warming up and only a few are on the course at one time. Hincapie walked right beside me as he took his bike up to the start booth. You can real close to lots of people warming up if you want. Also have watched have watched the queen stage going up to Snowbird a couple of times. Like most people I try to figure out the best spot to sit and watch them when their working their hardest. This was really steep so they were all killing themselves since it was a mountaintop finish, and it was the third mountain on a 100+ mile hot day. It was funny when one bunch of guys went by, and one said, "everybody's got cameras, but nobody's got water!" Levi and the Columbian stage winner went by one-two about three feet away. It's a lot fun, but probably more fun if you're into riding. Maybe your "other" will get into it. Best advice is read the ride literature or web site, pick out what most interests you, and get there early enough. You can always see a lot before and after the race too.
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