Main Street is the place to be when the cyclists take off and return for the final stage of the Tour of Utah. Even though many of us have never cycled in a race, we all can relate to the difficult sport. I can’t even imagine five days of leg burning capped off with a sprint up Guardsman’s Pass in the last 5 kilometers of the race then racing at 50 miles an hour down the steep Empire Pass. That’s brutal!
I love the buzz on Main Street in Park City on race day. I attended last year and was shocked at how we were able to get such a great view of the finish line at this world-class race. This year my focus was on the start. My husband and I came early and set up on lower Park Ave so we could watch the riders from the beginning before all the breakaways.
I found myself cheering for the support car from my favorite sponsors as they followed the riders on the course ready with a spare bike and tire. It seemed a little odd to be cheering for a car in a bike race. Then again, NASCAR fans across the nation cheer for their favorite cars (sans the drivers) as the support team drives across the country to the next race. So I figure I am in good company.
Main Street was packed with bike enthusiasts discussing the latest equipment and technology with vendors. The BackCountry and Subaru booths were jammed with fans watching the race on the big screen TVs inside.
We picked up our swag from the vendors including our cowbell that we plan to send to our 3-year-old granddaughter (which she’ll love but just might drive her parents a bit crazy.) We stocked up on Chapstick, hats, and sunscreen offered by the vendors. We put our names in to win multiple bike jerseys – we’ll let you know if our names are drawn! You never know.
Mostly we walked away with an appreciation of the teamwork involved in cycling. At first glance it appears cycling is an individual sport. It’s not. I really had no idea how the Lead-out man, the Peloton, and Domestiques on the team work together to produce a win. Living in Park City, we have so many opportunities to learn about world-class sports up close and personal that we might not have the chance to see elsewhere.
This may sound silly but I am looking forward to riding my bike on the trails in Park City using my “Competitive Cyclist” water bottle. It will be a reminder for me to push myself, take one more hill and pick up my speed due to some inspiration I got on Main Street at the final stage of the Tour of Utah in 2013.