Archive for the 'Pro Cycling' category

Tour de Georgia – The Final Stage

April 22, 2007 2:18 pm

It was a beautiful day in downtown Atlanta to watch the 7th and final stage of the Tour de Georgia. We drove down with the grandkids to meet John and Amy before noon. While we were waiting for the 1 pm start, we went over to the area where the pro cycling teams had their busses parked and waited for the Discovery team to come out.

Lance Armstrong was down here. Kyle, my 5 year old grandson, got his autograph along with autographs from Levi Leiphemer, George Hincapie and Johan Bruyneel (team manager).

Kyle with Tour de Georgia autographs

With seven loops we had a wonderful chance to see pro cyclists serveral times. I moved from spot to spot looking for a good location to take photos. This one I took from accross the street.

Family watching Tour de Georgia

After watching a couple of the laps we all went over to the CNN building for lunch in the middle of the race.

Family at CNN Building during Tour de GeorgiaThis format also allowed me to get some good pictures, like this one.

The Final Stage (Tour de Georgia)

Click here for my cycling photos. After the last lap went by us, we moved to try to see the finish. It was so crowed that John and I climbed up on a wall, but even up there we couldn’t see much.

John and Franz at Tour de Georgia

Tour de Georgia at Stone Mountain

April 21, 2007 6:25 pm

This morning John and I went for a jog along a river. It was my first run since the marathon so I kept the pace down. Later in the morning we headed out with everyone to Stone Mountain, where Stage 6 of the Tour de Georgia was going to finish. While Ann, Amy and the grandkids went into the park, John and I went on the road bikes about 10 miles, circling the Stone Mountain park and scouting out where the Tour would go. We found the finish line, which was less than half a mile from where we had parked the cars.

We called Ann and Amy and met them back at the car and we all went down to the large expo area, collecting a bunch of goodies. We then positioned ourselves at a spot only 100 meters from the finish. This stage had the riders come through the finish, then on a 7 mile loop, and then ending at the finish line, so we could see them twice. It was amazing the speed they were going. Unlike the prior day with a mountain top finish, it was difficult to get any pictures. But it was exciting to watch the sprint finish. Freddy Rodriguez was the stage winner.

Franz and Ann at Stage 6 of Tour de Georgia

John and Amy were going to spend the night in Atlanta, so after the race we took the grandkids back into the park for an hour while the traffic cleared. I asked Kyle what he liked most about the day, thinking it would be one of the many attractions in Stone Mountain, but he said it was the race. Good going Kyle!

Tour de Georgia at Brasstown Bald

April 20, 2007 8:09 pm

John and I went to watch Stage 5 of the Tour de George. This stage had a hill top finish up Brasstown Bald. We took road bikes and parked about 10 miles from the finish and biked in. The last 2-3 miles was a steep climb where the pro cyclists would be going later in the day. I was on my daughter-in-law’s bike which had a triple crankshaft but since John only had a double I decided to do the climb in the middle chairing. I passed about 50 other bikers on the way up. There was one section that was very steep and I had second thoughts about trying to keep in the middle chainring, but I decided to grind it out. I noticed that most all of the other cyclists were now walking their bikes, but my pride would not let me stop. I finally made it past that part and the grade returned to simply “steep”.

Up near the top was a level area filled with big crowds and an expo. The actual finish was up another 1,000 feet climb but they would not let us ride bikes up there. One offical said it was too steep except for the pro cyclists, but I knew I could climb it. Nevertheless we had to walk up a ways where we sat and waited for the cyclists to arrive. Here is a photo of the stage winner, Levi Leiphimer.

Levi Leipheimer

Click here for more cycling pictures. It was amazing to watch the pro cyclists climb this steep section. After the entire field came up we walked back down to get our bikes and waited for permission to head back down the hill. I kept the decent speed down since I was not on a a bike I trusted completely. As we were about half way down there were several emergency vehicles which we had to walk our bikes past. We could see they were administering CPR to a cyclist laying on the ground. Someone said the person was coming down too fast and it was a terrible crash. I was glad I was careful! After the steep decent we raced back to the cars and then a two hour drive back to Atlanta.