Thursday, May 14, 2015

Drought? What Drought? A Soggy Stage 5 At The Amgen In Santa Clarita

Some drought.

Welcome to sunny California.

All I heard about California for months was that the place was as dry as a desert so of course it's raining at the finish of Stage 5 at the Amgen Tour of California in Santa Clarita..

It's wet and cold out on the 95.7-mile route, which started in downtown Santa Barbara at 11:55 a.m.

"Conditions are deteriorating," the TV broadcaster told viewers on NBCSN. "The rain, which is needed in the region, is coming down on the peloton."

So, I explored the quasi-bike festival, which is set up at the finish line at each stage. In this case, it was staged in a big mall parking lot across from city hall in this suburban city 36 miles north of Los Angeles.

As you can tell, it was a bit slow at the music stage because of the rainy weather. This couple had the dance floor all to themselves.

Even the Michelob Ultra Light girls couldn't get too many guys to come up to the stage for a free photo.

The good part was meeting the local bicycle club -- the Santa Clarita bicycle coalition, which included two friendly gals, Nina and Susie. They both advised me that my motel was very close to a paved trail system trailhead, which I plan to use when the soggy conditions go away.

I did get a chance to stop by the Jelly Belly and Hincapie team racing buses, two of the nicer-decorated team buses.

It's always worth a visit to the race announcers Dave Towle and Brian Stover, who sit at the finish line and offer comments about the racers.  Let's just say they are quite enthusiastic. Dave has an upbeat Michael Buffer style of announcing.

In the end, Mr. Sprinter Mark Cavendish sprinted to the stage win in front of the VIP section. He's the headliner, pedaling nearly 96 miles in three hours and 52 minutes and averaging 24.7 mph after 8,699 feet of climbing.

So this Cavendish fella was joined by two other races at a press conference in Santa Clarita City Hall. Even though he's from Great Britian, which has this cool, rainy weather all the time, he looked super cold and his nteeth was chattering. Poor bugger, I wanted to wrap him in a wool blanket.

Even though Cavendish technically speaks English, I couldn't really understand the fella. He mumbled. Maybe the teeth-chattering altered his speech. He's electric on that bike,though.

Anyway, some poor reporter asked the guy about his strategy at the end and Cavendish mumbled that he answered the question in the first question during the press conference. Geez, would it kill you to take two minutes to just answer it again. What's the big deal?

The overall race leader is this Toms Skujins fella, who proudly sported the pink lipstick from the gal who places a kiss on the cheek of the racer in first place.

So, the time trial at Big Bear got snowed out and there's going to be a new venue for Friday's stage.

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