The Tour of California is returning to our state capital this coming Tuesday – and with it, 136 carbo-fueled, shaved-legged, spandex-clad, über-athletes.
Among them are seven world champions and four Olympic medals.
Last year I participated but certainly not on a bike. Clad in my official sun-bright yellow volunteer shirt, I did my best to keep some inattentive pedestrian from becoming road kill on the streets of downtown Sacramento.
And there was our Governor – up on the awards stage after last year’s event – leaning on his solitary crutch.
What? Was our Gov out there racing on one of those ultra-light weight, high tech, composite space-age materials, skinny- tired racing bicycles and get caught in one of those sensational massive bike pileups reminiscent of a scene from the Tour de France?
Or was he one of the people who insist on hugging – and even hanging over – the curb of one of the streets around the capital as the careening pack of over a hundred bikes scream by at upwards of 45 miles an hour and maybe he got plowed into by a domestique of the peloton?
While bicycle racing may not attract quite the attention of other national sports, like, say, football, it is hard not get caught up in the excitement of this 650 mile, eight stage event that attracts somewhere in the neighborhood of a million and a half spectators.
And if nothing else, last year there was some cool give-away’s at the bike expo along 10th Street.
You can check out a lot more information at the official website (www.amgentourofcalifornia.com).
And as to the four laps: last year we were told the bunchalliance of bikes would go by three times, but as we were about to let the people pass into the streets, the mobile mob flew by yet a fourth time. Huh?!?
Truth be known, the riders race across the finish line on “L” Street three times and then make one more lap before the race is finished, hence they actually make FOUR trips around the capital. Hey, I was there and I am still confused!
Oh, and as to the Governor’s crutch carrying condition…there was some story about him breaking his leg while standing on a ski slope somewhere. Personally, I think a bike racing accident would have been more befitting his action-movie persona.