Tuesday, August 26, 2014
ANNOUNCING TO NO ONE, STAGE 5 USPC, HOW, WHY, WHERE, WHEN....MAKING SHIT HAPPEN....
Above is a short video of some of the action from Stage 5 of the US Pro Cycling Challenge. This video was shot while once again there was zero television coverage available for viewers on their boob tubes and other "smart" devices. In a nutshell, the TV coverage has once again been terrible during this event. It's a complicated system that requires ground cameras to send a digital feed up to a helicopter which then sends the feed to an overhead circling airplane which then bounces it up to a satellite. It's a plan that simply will never work in August with late day stage start times. It storms almost everyday this time of year. I know these things because I lived in the high country of Colorado for 31 years. for cycling fans, it sucks. With that said I have a very good idea of how this tour operates and works. I worked with the USPC the first two years in Vail and Avon, as well as in Beaver Creek as the expo director for all three of these stages for the Local Organizing Committee (LOC). Being a member of these stage committees requires a TON of your personal time in meetings and planning which is all basically for free and for being closer to the race action when it comes through. You might get a free embroidered golf shirt and hat as well as a free Smashburger for lunch for your efforts, or not. I've also been very fortunate to have been paid by the Champion Systems team to host their team party for the Denver and Vail Time Trials which gave me an opportunity to announce all the great names involved in this wonderful bike race. It was an honor to do so, and Dave Griebling hooked me up with these opportunities. I've been among and part of a few of the craziest parties at this race. The crowd on top of Swan Mountain road during the first year of this race was legendary. The Vail Pass TT crowds are always insane. Thanks to Dave for sneaking me up to the finish last year in the Champion Systems Team Sprinter Van with my sound system for the mayhem. I've also watched some of the racing in very remote places where there are no fans at all, which is a very satisfying way to observe the race, it's quiet and you do not have a bunch of fat people in skin suits running you over trying to get on TV while they actually do not even watch the race, it's annoying.
Let's move forward to this past Friday and Stage 5 of the USPC. I had driven down to Colorado Springs the day before to watch Stage 4 in Garden of the Gods National Park, were Jens once again went free and clear only to be caught close to the line, it was a great day. The next day I had to drive to Gunnison to announce the 24 Hours in the Sage over the weekend. This is one of mountain bikings biggest parties, and it was again this year. With that said, I had to drive right along the route of that day's stage to get to Gunnison from Lakewood. From Jefferson to Fairplay, on Hwy 285, the peloton would travel, exactly where I would be driving that day. As I came off of Kenosha Pass I realized that I had my full PA system in tow, along with my generator. The decision was made immediately to set up and blow out the race as it came by. There is an unmarked smaller pass on this route right before the race drops into Fairplay. It is called Red Hill Pass, and I knew the race would be slow climbing up this section of the course, it's a fairly long grind at 4-7% grades. A couple of people were at the top of this pass, and it was dumping rain most of the morning up there. and freezing. I decided to set up camp about halfway up this climb away from anyone, and in a spot where no one else could squeeze in. It was a grand viewing location, I could see the riders dropping into the bottom of Red Hill Pass from about 4-5 miles out as they approached. With the PA speakers covered with plastic bags and my sound board in the back of the car dry, I had the music pumping, really loud, and when the 12 man break came through they got a full dose of Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain". Roughly 4 minutes later came the main Peloton which was being paced by BMC protecting the lead of Tejay Van Garderen. It was grand, and it was miserable and cold, and the Peloton came by to "Turn Down For What" ripping over the sound system. The entourage of vehicles was throwing thumbs up and honking horns as they came by, and I annnounced, to no one other than the riders. It was a riot. The entire incident got a little bit of play through Twitter and Facebook for the better part of a day, and if it helped the riders at all, it was worth the effort, which was minimal, but fun. And that is all it was meant to be. This is the video.