Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009 Tour of Utah: Some Reflections

The Tour of Utah was a very successful stage race. The race was won by Rock and Republic racer Franciso Mancebo. I did not want to appear negative about the event, however some comments are in order.

This is the post information age, I understand that. Everyone is tethered on an Internet link, blogger, twitter, or a social network site. Problems emerge when people are deprived of a computer, say during a race, and they have only conventional news outlets to rely upon for information. This happened to me during the Tour of Utah and the results were less than satisfying.

The main and only media outlet was KFANZ radio in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although KFANZ repeated advertisements for the Tour of Utah thousands of times a day, the race summaries were perfunctory five minute news releases. The prologue was won by Jeff Louder who beat David Zabriskie by four seconds. Finis. Even the so called queen stage with a mountain top finish at Snowbird Ski Resort, which was advertised to have regular race radio updates...well the updates never materialized...the station ran a syndicated ESPN radio program discussing Brent Farve and Micheal Vick ad nausea. The Tour of Utah should work to improve the race coverage in 2010 beyond a mere two minute summary of the stages, realizing that some race fanatics do not have access to the Internet.

KSL radio did not even mention the downtown Salt Lake City criterium race in their sport report the following day even though there were several thousand people downtown. Bizarre.

One other thing. Take my advice and never decide to ride your bike up Little Cottonwood Canyon, in the afternoon, on race day, in one hundred degree plus heat. Duh! Being a fool and ignoring advice, I set out from Salt Lake City at 11:00 a.m. rode thirty miles to the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon and started to climb. I felt great for the first five miles. But the traffic was bumper to bumper and Little Cottonwood Canyon has no shoulders, a very dangerous situation. Of course, there is no need to mention the exhaust fumes, the ozone, the smell of burnt rubber, the heat, the 8% grade, or the fact that at mile marker seven I ran out of water. There is also no need to mention the fact that spectators who lined the road waiting for the professional riders to appear cheered me on with shouts of appreciation and applause.

Darn. I bonked with less than one mile to go, sick of the exhaust fumes, the traffic, the heat, the stench of burning rubber, and the ozone. There was not one breath of wind in the canyon that day. Only thirty eight miles back to Salt Lake City to ride! Panic and a fateful decision. Turn around and leave before they close the canyon road for the professional race. Bad idea, which I regret to this day.

But as you can see from some of the photographs I took maybe it did not matter. The camera may be great for portraits but not so good for high speed bicycle racing. The queen stage did not have any race changing attacks or unexpected bonks as many people had expected. The only bonk was from the idiot riding the orange and red thirty pound mountain bike up Little Cottonwood Canyon that

Lastly, I wish Floyd Landis would have been a little more interactive with the fans. Floyd you don't have to be paranoid, come out and play. I still love the way you ride man. I was there and you were there and that beats an unfair suspension every time.