I was in Lyons, Colorado this past weekend to go to Yonder Mountain String Band’s Kinfolk festival. After I had bought tickets, I also found out that the USA Pro Cycling Challenge would be rolling through town the 2nd day of the festival. I had only really been to one cycling competition before, but nothing of this caliber.
But I’ve seen Breaking Away enough times to know what’s what. Go Cutters!
A number of the participants rode in the Tour de France, Olympics and this race, all in the span of the last 6 weeks. And the race is in my home state. And they’re riding through some of the most beautiful wilderness in the entire world.
I wasn’t going to miss this. (or check out the larger flickr photo set here)
So I wandered down from my campsite at Planet Bluegrass about 12:30pm and scoped out locations. I saw that they had a sprint in the middle of town and that looked like where the action was going to go down. I posted up right near the line (and across the street from Oskar Blues’ original brewery).
And then I waited. People started to get lined up, lots of kids were running around, and there were some hijinks. We were having a good time.
This dude wanted to get a better vantage point.
I think that this dude worked at the cycle shop up the street. On the front of the kid trailer was a sign that said “DOPE” on it with a message about Lance Armstrong’s alleged performance-enhancing drug use.
Then shit started to get real.
Cop cars started flowing around the corner and going past us, having come down from Nederland ahead of the pack. A few minutes later some car-based commentators came to give us the lowdown. 14 riders had broken away from the peloton and were about four minutes ahead. A second later one of the official photographers got right next to me. Apparently I had picked a good spot to be in!
We got ready to cheer.
Next we heard the television helicopter in the distance, and as the rumbling got louder you could see the breakaway pack come around the corner towards me. Team Exergy rider Serghei Tvetcov was in the lead, and really started to turn the speed on through the straightaway. I love how torqued to one side his bike is as he’s off his saddle, pushing hard to get the sprint points.
A little peek under your shoulder at the pack to see if they can catch you.
Then crank through the “Waste Management Sprint Line”.
The rest of the breakaway group can eat your dust.
And just like that, in maybe the span of 20 seconds, the pack is past you and that’s that. I took a peek at the photos on my LCD and realized it’s easier to just use a way wider lens. So I quickly changed lenses and waited the 4 minutes for the peloton to show up. A majority of the riders are in this group.
Did you see that little smudge at the top of the frame? It was actually the TV chopper.
So the peloton passes through, followed by a ton of team cars that carry support staff & spare bike parts of every shape and size.
So you basically wait around for a couple hours to secure your space, chat with other people out to see the spectacle, and then the actual racing part was about 5 minutes long! I loved being able to check this out and take photos of it.