The fast boys

On Saturday, the Dude and I left the Husband to his interminable Ironman bike riding and we drove two hours north to Santa Rosa to spectate the Amgen Tour of California. We’re always partial to a bit of Pro-Cycling action. We’ve spectated as many years as possible – we watched the start in San Jose in 2014 but our best spectating moment came in 2012 when we got interviewed on TV and the Dude looked like this…



Santa Rosa did an awesome job of hosting. San Jose had the start in some park outside the city centre. Santa Rosa had it slap downtown, with one of the main streets pedestrianized and packed with sponsor stands, food trucks and other similar booths. We found parking easily and followed the crowds (i.e., a couple wearing Ironman finisher jackets and holding a baby) to the festivities. As the riders came in to check in, they’d be interviewed by the microphone guys on the stage. We got super-excited when our hero Mark Cavendish arrived – we waved our Union Jacks and screamed at the top of our voices but he didn’t hear us!

tour of california cav

One lovely thing was the presentation of Eritrean cyclist Daniel Teklehaimanot who was the first black African rider to wear the Mountains jersey at the Tour de France. He got a massive cheer, he was greeted like a hero. I noticed a number of supporters waving Eritrean flags for him. Pro-Cycling is pretty relentlessly white so I was really happy to see this.

Soon enough, the riders were ready to set off … we found a spot and positioned our flag for the British riders. The announcer was super-American, it was brilliant. ‘Here he is, the 26-time Tour de France stage winner, road cycling world champion,  Milan-San Remo classics winner…Maaaarrrrkkk CAVENDISH….’ It was hilarious!!  Eventually, in a (rainy) blaze of glory they were off!

tour of california cycling

We spent a good few hours checking out all the stands. All the stands were giving out copious amounts of tat. My little man loves tat so we collected goody bags by the handful. We made videos of us being chased by a bear, we spun wheels, we bounced on the bouncy castle, we got our faces painted (well, he did) we posed in a Photo Booth…it was a LOT of fun!

tour cycling dude
So much tat!

We got to see the women’s race sprinting through town to the finish line…

tour california

…and then we drove a few miles out of Santa Rosa to catch a roadside glimpse of the guys coming back in.

dude tour california dude
Roadside spectator
tour california
I THINK that’s Cav on the left at the front.

Santa Rosa did an awesome job putting the race on, it was a really fun day out!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Nic J says:

    Looks like a fab day out! There’s a lot to be said for making it spectator friendly. I’ve done the Salisbury half before, when their race series started at the fire station on the edge of town. Bit dull. THIS year – the start is the market square, and finish in the Cathedral grounds! If my leg sorts itself out in the next few weeks I’m signing up!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I did a race that started at the fire station, what a damp squib. I definitely think the additional complexity of a city centre start is worth it for the race experience. When is the Salisbury Half? I’d love to do that.

      1. Nic J says:

        It’s 9th Oct – take a look at
        Better news than that, pushed a 5.6m run yesterday and IT DIDN’T HURT!! Woop! Shin splint GONE! Very very happy. Has got me back into cycling though. Joining a group ride a week Wednesday with the lady who works at the local bike shop (and her ladies ride group)…

      2. Cathryn says:

        That is GREAT news!!

  2. bt says:

    I am assuming that tat = British for schwag. Is that correct?

    1. Cathryn says:

      Kind of, but bad quality schwag. Schwag can be great but tat is poor quality rubbish like stickers, wrist-bands, temporary tattoos…the kind of stuff that 6 year olds love but just clutters up their bedrooms for MONTHS!!!

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