Today didn’t work out like we planned, but it all worked out in the end. My team purchased a fan zone (catered!) along the race route in Forest Park – we were supposed to be able to watch the peleton pass the Grand Basin below and then fly up Art Hill and back down in front of the World’s Fair Pavilion. Of course, we got hit by a hurricane this morning! Okay, not really a hurricane anymore, just a tropical depression. It didn’t look good for awhile – even if the race was a go, the family and I weren’t sure we wanted to go sit in pounding rain and gale force winds (even for free food!). Conditions eventually started improving though, so I got online to check the TOM website – it said the race was on, but Forest Park would be eliminated. Oh no! What about the party? I tried to call the shop – no answer. I told the wife, let’s just go and see what’s up – if nobody’s there we’ll find a spot to watch the race. We drove to Forest Park, thinking maybe there would be a sign or something – there wasn’t. So we drove to the shop to see if there was a sign or something – there wasn’t. Okay, let’s just see how close to the start area we can get, so we started driving down Delmar but got diverted towards Forest Park on Union. As we were crossing Lindell, I saw some tents and a bunch of people – “There they are!” I couldn’t believe we actually found the party. So we parked, had some good eats (brisket sandwiches, drumsticks w/ hot wing sauce, and homemade cookies – yummy), caught up with a lot of teammates that I haven’t seen too much of this year (my fault), and watched Kirk O’Bee (Health Net p/b Maxxis) and Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly Cycling Team) try to stick a 2-man break.
I didn’t worry much about trying to get pictures today, but on the last lap I went over to the bridge over Forest Parkway to watch them come up the off ramp onto Union.
The party was fun, the food was great, and I really appreciate my team doing something like this for all of us and our families. Still, I think I would have preferred being down at the start/finish. Last year I marshaled the intersection at Market and Jefferson – it was busy, but I had help from St. Louis’ finest and was able to see the race come through the start/finish line each lap before heading up towards me. After coming past on the final lap, I was able to hoof it quickly down to the finish line, and since I had a volunteer’s badge (and an orange traffic flag) I was able to stay on the course and get within ~50 yds of the finish line for a great view of the finish, up close photos of Ivan (stage winner) and George (overall winner), and a front row spot at the awards ceremony that followed. Kinda hard to match that!
p.s. Three posts in four days – woo hoo!