Saturday, September 13, 2008

2008 TOM - Stage 6

I'm starting to think sleep is just not going to happen this week. I guess that's what Monday is for. :-) Tonight we were talking and remember different things this week and it has me almost floored with how quickly the days all melded together. Thank goodness I have pics to trigger reminders on what day was what. Several jokes with the Tour and I am not convinced there is no way the riders have any idea after like day 5 or so. I think I was good until Thursday and tonight, it's all one big mush of memories. Hopefully I can pull better write ups for the earlier days when I get back.

Another enjoyable stage today. Started down in Hermann and for me a search for some coffee as last night was a wee bit of a late one trying to get caught up on a few things. (Tonight's not looking much better.) We had some rain as we left the hotel. As we pulled out onto the highway the Jelly Belly crew was there. As we all turned for the off ramp I found myself in with their cars. Janann and I thought T might be going a little crazy seeing them. I think it would've been a treat to have seen her in the middle of the cars. Hopefully no crashes would've been had but I have to think it would've been cute.

Jelly Belly in front of me, the truck behind, and the camper behind that. Light drizzle and what felt like back country roads. Fun morning trip to the start. :-)

At the start the first priority for me was coffee. Usually I grind and brew mine (bring coffee pot and all when on a driving trip) but choosing 30 minutes more sleep this morning meant no making coffee. Once that was taken care of we walked around in downtown Hermann. Went and chatted with Jelly Belly and dropped off some cookies and some good coffee beans with Brad. (Serious apologies guys as the cookies this race were not the good ones from back by me.)

Walking around we ran into Luis again. Wished him happy birthday (which was yesterday) and teased him about Janann being married. Good laughs and all good fun. When he got the email he even noted - MARRIED on it. So funny. After that we ran into Kurt again. I've been seeing him at races the past couple months. Then at Downers we joked around with him. Now here at TOM it's becoming a fun part of the day to stop and catch up. Some smiles when he walked up and says he has a favor to ask. Luckily it was simple and not a problem at all.

The past couple days I've been running into Neil from Road as well. Being a fan of the DZ interviews one has to check in to see what the new laugh will be. Still waiting for the one he thought he might get I think on Tuesday or Wednesday but the chamois cream one got some laughs when we watched yesterday for sure. Make sure to check it out.

Once the riders got going we headed out with plans to watch the 3rd KOM. Our plans got yanked though when the road got closed well over a 1/2 hour before the race came through. No other day gave us any issues but the gang said last year this area had the same issues. So we watched them turn onto the road from that point and then opted to skip the KOM since we were now behind them instead of 40 minutes in front. Just as I took a couple pics of the guys coming around John called to see what was happening. He was headed to pick up Leah. Tonight looking at pics I got one of at that stop which was pretty cool.

The entire drive today kept us awake. It was loaded with rolling hills. In a lot of spots it was the kind with the roller coaster feel where you push to get to the top and unable to see anything until you hit the top and then you roll down and head back upwards. Good stuff. Although on the way to the start in the Jelly Belly cars, more than once I wondered how the camper managed that with out making the guys sick. They all seemed good when we saw them so maybe it's not as bad as I think it would be.

We got really sweet parking at the finish. We were parked right off the course and only a couple blocks from the line. We headed to the jumbo trons to get some updates. The GPS locks on a signal and my blackberry was pretty sweet in keeping us updated from the CN live report but cell service was touch and go through all those hills. The jumbo trons were great to sit back and watch the race until the riders arrived. We got a spot on the fence about 50-100 meters from the line too which was nice. While waiting I located John and called him. Told him to wave. Little Uma was so cute and grandpa certainly was enjoying the time with her.

The riders had a straight shot at the finish today. No circuits through town. The pack came flying by us and Cav won the sprint. Usually we wait and watch the riders all come in and the finishers ride around but we headed to the podium area as there were tons of people with this being a weekend (and the rain holding off). Once everyone started filling in that area, the sun peeked out and winds slowed and we all got baked. It has been humid all week. Today didn't feel nearly as bad as yesterday but it was still sticky.

The podiums were great. Rollin is having some good fun with this KOM. Cav got back the sprint jersey after having lost it on the course with sprint points. Eisel got the most aggressive. And C looked great in yellow! It was pretty fun having the Vandevelde family down here today. The cheers and excitement were clearly stepped up. Being a weekend also jumped up the crowds. Everyone seems to be loving the riders and C is getting great warm welcomes from all watching.

After that we hoped for some wind to cool us off a bit. Lyne came walking by and pushed me! I couldn't believe her nerve. LOL!!! We ran into Kurt so he and I headed to my car so he could get his pics. I walked back then and saw Brad after his press interviews. Got to give him a hug and congrats on his 3rd place. Then I headed to find the gang. We located a smoothie stand and we were ready for something. I'm not sure Janann and I ate anything more than a small bar all day and in the heat the cold drink was great. We decided to head to the cars. On the way we saw C doing some press interviews too so we stopped and listened. He was asked about next year and he said he wants to come back and he loves the race. He would come back as long as his schedule would allow it. He then says - and his schedule WILL allow it. Smiles and laughs all around. As he headed out I gave him a hug too and congratulated him on a great day.

With Garmin having gotten bigger and C having the best year in cycling ever, getting to say hi to C is pretty rare. He stopped over earlier in the week on his way back from sign in and Janann and T got to get his autograph at sign in one day. I was enjoying seeing the kids go nuts on the teams and got some fun pics. T and Janann got the close ups of the guys coming by. Tag teaming the fun has been great for us all week.

After we checked in tonight we were all starving so he headed for dinner. As we're eating I noticed Neil walk in with his girlfriend. I comment to Janann that it was him and T tries to figure out what we're talking about and we lie and say some guy looked like Neil that walked in. (Good laughs and if you know T, you know we did this for her health and safety... maybe Neil's too. ha ha!!! We love you sweetie!) After dinner we were up in the lobby and Neil and Joy came up so we all said hello's and talked for a quick bit. I headed outside for a bit and the gang headed up to the rooms.

Neil and Joy came outside and we chatted for a bit. Talking to them about this past week reminded me of some of the hillbilly stories we have had this week. I'm hoping Alan and Janann see him tomorrow to fill in some of it but the jist was still funny. I kid you not on this one... Thursday was like the day from a Jeff Foxworthy comedy. The best over the top part for me was walking past this group next to their car trying to figure out changing the tire. The women is on the phone saying they have a flat and they need the person to bring them a spare. She then proceeds to tell them that the spare is in the front yard! Janann and I just look at each other. We get about a block down and we bust up laughing. After the many other things that happened Thursday, that just sent us into pure laughter.

Once I got back to the room I uploaded some of my pics. I've decided I will probably work on some edits on the computer and then will reload the stages on flickr again and delete the other files from this week. On stages like the TT, I think I have most of the riders labeled on my computer but the upload took so long that I didn't wait to add it. Oh well. I also worked on loading up T's pics for her onto her web spot.

All good stuff but now I am totally due for some sleep. Tomorrow looks like we could have no rain during the race and high humidity or up to 6 inches of rain possible. Gosh help us! VIP tent tomorrow is looking pretty darn sweet. The course is a 14 mile city course and I think they make the loop 5 times. It doesn't start until like 2 pm so sleeping in and chilling tomorrow morning is going to feel pretty good.

Some of my stage 6 pics are up.

CN: Live Report - Stage 6
CN: Cavendish back to winning ways in Missouri
VN: TOM: Cav tops again, Vande Velde holds lead
Garmin: TOM Stg 6: Christian Vande Velde One Stage Closer!
JellyBelly: TOM - Stage 6


Erik said...

I have loved cruising the ToM pics. It looks like you had a great time at the race.

Janann said...

Dang that was a fun week! I am just reading your blog entries (no computer for me on the road) and TRYing to get suitcases unpacked and laundry done for all. Soooooo tired, as we got back late on Sunday night.

Thanks for getting your pics up on the Flickr site -- so much fun to relive our trip :)

Nikki said...

Hey guys!
I'm glad you're liking the pics Erik. Sadly, I have a whole lot more from the later stages that I did not dump into Flickr as it was taking too long from the hotels. I have the TT ones labeled too so I will reload those soon.

Janann - I had such a good time. I hope this is the new tradition and we make plans every year. Not much can top the fun.

cat2bike said...

Nikki, I still haven't had a chance to read all your entries! Or check out all your pics, but I will, even if I'm still looking at pics of the ToM in November!!!

We had such a great time!! Best of a lifetime for me!!


Nikki said...

Hey T!
Still working on some write-ups and sadly as each day passes some of the fun is going to be missed but I hope to go back and catch up. For now it's massive catching up at work - yuck!