What a great weekend! Today's stage was won by Brad!!! Yeah!!! I could not be happier for him and it was a great win.
Poor Chris Horner was involved in the crash yesterday at the end of the stage and he broke his collarbone. Ouch! But the trooper and sweetheart was at the race today and he was talking through out the race up on the stage. It was good to see him back but he also looked sore by the end. Chris Horner talked through the stage - broken collarbone and all.
Peg and I saw John and Diane on our way over to say hi to the Jelly Belly guys. He told us Val and Harriet VanDeVelde were coming to the race too! Peg knows the whole clan from years ago and we were both looking forward to seeing them!
We stopped over to wish Brad, Bryce, and the team good luck. Bryce was warming up and waved as we walked over. Brad was chillin' a little bit before the race so we tried to catch up on what happened in yesterday's stage. Matty Rice was pretty funny and clearly at home with us visiting. If these guys only knew what it's like growing up with brothers and working with mostly men. Little shocks us. But Danny Van Haute tried to keep it clean. We all enjoyed the laughs.
More pics with Brad, this one before today's winning stage!
From there we walked over closer to the start and got to meet Fast Freddie and Tyler Hamilton. Enjoyed seeing many other riders too and then headed to find John and Diane. We found Val and Harriet and from there the real fun began. I can't say enough about how great the family is and how much of a pleasure it is to spend time with them. John came over and he managed to get us all into the VIP area. What a treat! It offered a nice break in air conditioning, up top offered a great view of the start finish line, and the drinks had certainly made for a lively and laugh filled afternoon!
John and Diane are on the right along with friends of their's from Belgium.
Peg and I took a break from that and walked around some too. We ran into PopUp Rolan from Podium Cafe and it was great meeting him. I also got to talk to Amy (Chad Hartley's g/f) again. We took some more pics and then headed back for some water. John was then onto the stage for an interview and we all had some good fun making fun of the waves he should do to the crowd. With about 10 laps to go we all went down to the ground level and cheered on the riders somemore. They cheered really loudly for Daniel Holloway and John was his typical enthusiast cheering on the guys and Tyler. I of course cheered on Daniel but had to cheer for Bryce in the breakaway and Brad and Chad in the field.
As the laps counted down we were pretty much in non-stop laugh mode. John shared some awesome stories of the France visit. If you get a chance and have Stage 21 on tape, make sure to check out Christian blowing apart the QuickStep train on the Champs!!! He lead going into the tunnel and on then dropped back. Millar is seen leading coming out and what a great story. As David Millar said - what GC leader takes it upon himself to make some noise and disrupt a train like that for their guy Julian!!! Way to go C! He's off to Beijing tomorrow and Leah, Uma, and good ol' Jake are coming here. Safest travels to you all!!!
As we watched the breakaway get sucked up we were all cheering for the guys. On the last lap we all prayed they'd make it through that last tight corner and they did. As they came flying up to the line I saw Brad fly off the front for the win and I was screaming for him. I was so happy. They gang was like who was that - and I was like THAT was BRAD!!! Yeah!!! Brad even impressed John and we were all happy for him.
The gang took off and Peg and I headed over to get pics and cheer for the winners. Once that was done we walked around the back and saw Chris Horner and Fast Freddie. We got to congratulate them and wish Chris a speedy recovery. He was such a trooper! We then saw Brad being interviewed and I went to congratulate him and we helped him carry his flowers and nice big check back to the team. We ran into Amy again and Daniel Holloway so I officially got all the pics I had with signed which was pretty sweet. And all the guys are going to be back for Downers! Yeah!!!
Overall winner's podium.
A huge congrats to Brad on a great win today! I was so excited for him and I seriously can not say enough about him and the entire Jelly Belly Team. The entire team is just a great group of guys who were super friendly and took time to chat and made us feel very welcome in stopping by and saying hi. They have set a very high bar for others and I only hope others are a fraction as friendly as they were!!! Again, thanks guys for a really great weekend of racing!
Sometimes a little much, but always unconditional. :-) The above pic was C, me, and John before the start of Downers Grove 2008. C took off with about 15 laps to go for a fun lead to liven the race up a bit. It was great seeing him again!