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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tour of Missouri 2008

FINALLY...I'm up to date on Tour stuff. this year's Tour = fun, fun, fun! For the second year I was chairman of the Ancillary Events and planned activities again. This year the bike safety rodeo was held at Celebration City. The park was very generous and allowed all of the kids that brought their bikes to get into the park for free. The Taney County Fire Department also came out to help. SO...all in all, it went fairly well. Granted, for the second year in a rained that day, thus lowering our attendance. Did I mention that it rained LAST year also?

The night before the race we had our VIP night at the Landing on a boat. Great food and friends! After the party everyone worked their way over to the stage area where we were having a block party. We had live music playing by the fountains and plenty of people listening. The cyclists stay at the Hilton, which is right on the Landing, and some of them started to filter towards the music. Most of them eventually wind up at Waxy O'Sheas, an Irish Pub near the Hilton. SO....anticipating that, my friends and I started at the music and then made our way to the Pub to mingle with everyone. On the way to the pub we ran into most of the Liquigas Team. COOL!
Of course, a picture was taken.

I suppose I should interrupt my blogging and explain why I said "COOL" about meeting the Liquigas Team. They were the Team that I was pulling for this year. I had been a HUGE Discovery Team fan for years, hence my stalking of their bus last year. After the team ended, a lot of the riders went to Team Astana, along with Johan. Naturally I followed along to Astana along with some of my other friends. George went to Team Columbia so I kept tabs on that too. Well....this year Astana didn't participate in the Tour of Missouri so I decided to pick another Team to follow. In addition to all of the US Teams, there were a few European teams that weren't here last year. I liked a few riders on the Liquigas Team (Italian) already so I decided to support them. Granted, I only recognized a few of the names of the team that they sent to the ToM but hey, they were still Liquigas. SO.....that is how I decided on "my team" this year.

OK, back to the Pub. It was a blast! Steve, a preivious drummer from our show, was playing in the band that night. I only planned to stay for about an hour because I had to get up really early to help set things up for the trike race and the TT. While we were sitting at our table Mark Cavendish, from Team Columbia, walked in. He had won a couple stages already and is inhumanly fast on that bike. Seriously one of the fastest men in the world. My friends kept teasing me (and double dog daring me...are we in grade school?) to get a picture taken with him but I didn't want to bug him since he was with his friends. I was literally almost shoved out the door to the patio where he sat . I was laughing ( and embarrassed) when I looked over to a the table across from us. There sat 3 of the Liquigas riders that we took our picture with. They nodded their heads and raised their bottles to me and then....I left. LOL I was embarrassed enough and figured it was time to go anyway. OH yeah, and I also don't speak Italian.

Branson was again the stage with the Time Trial Course. The tour organisers wanted us to keep the same course because it went over so well the year before. Before the TT we had the Trike Race again but, instead of celebrities, we used mascots from around the area. After the trike race I was off to see if I could find Debbie at the Columbia bus. When I got to the parking lot I couldn't find her so I walked around and saw Rory Sutherland and decided to get his picture. He writes a witty blog when he races and I always make sure I read the new posts to get a chuckle. After that I tried to find the Liquigas bus. To my disappointment I couldn't find it. I was a bit confused because I thought they would all be in the same parking lot. Eventually I saw a few riders and then saw 2 men with team shirts talking to the food people. I decided to ask them where the Liquigas riders were since one of them spoke English. He told me that they were on the other end, across the street, and that it wasn't that far of a walk. I showed him the picture that I had taken the night before (I had it printed up that morning....loooove 1 hour photo) and asked him if he thought the guys would mind signing it. He said that they would love it and that I should go over there. After that he rode off on his BIKE. Ummm, yeah, not far with a bike but walking? With my short legs it took a little while. Hehe.

Eventually I got over there and to my dismay, there was only one other team over there. Now, normally I'm fine with that but, I felt like a stalker. Because it was so out of the way there were only a few other people over there. I couldn't try and blend in with the other crazy fans because I was pretty much the only one. AWKWARD!!! OH yeah, and I don't speak Italian as I stated earlier. Well, I saw the guy that told me how to get there and he told me that he would translate for me and would help me out. His name was Rory and he was great. When I got there Jacopo and Da Ros were warming up for their ride while the rest of the team was still in the hotel. I got their signatures and then sat around waiting for the other guys to show up. So....for a little while I was the dork sitting there, like a stalker, waiting for photos and autographs. *sigh* Yep, dorkdom at its best. The Team guys were nice and offered me a chair and something to drink while I waited. Now, normally I am the most talkative person in the world. I will talk to anyone. Those of you that know me...stop laughing. Shhhhhh. SO...the talkative person was actually silent and a little shy since there were only a few people that spoke English and I didn't want to bother them. Eventually the rest of the team made it out there and I was able to get them to sign the pic. I also got to take a pic with Chicchi. YAY...the Man is a great sprinter. He had come in 3rd in the first two stages of the Tour and was currently in second place. Anyway, he warmed up for a little while and then got ready for the ride. Meanwhile, at one point, Rory left to get a Mountain Dew so...there I was, alone with Chicchi and no talking. Talk about Awkward. I would have loved to talk to him but... there was that whole language barrier thing. I also didn't want to take a lot of pics because it was a bit obvious since I was the only one there. I think I need to learn a bit of Italian if I want to hang out with Liquigas again. LOL Eventually Chicchi got ready to leave for his ride and Rory gave me a lift so that I didn't have to walk. He also invited me to sit in the team car behind Chicchi. WHAT? So....I was really tempted and would have loved to go but I get really carsick. The ride would have been on windy roads for around 45 minutes and then back down. I didn't think it would be nice of my to projectile over Rory's head as he drove. Seriously....really bummed that I missed out on that one. Chance of a lifetime and I blew it. I saw Chicchi as he was riding up to the ramp for his ride. He saw me and aimed his bike at me and he rode by and that was that. About 15 minutes later I watched him ride his TT and wished I was in that car. =(

I watched the rest of the Tour online on They had a great feed and chatroom with alot of the same people each day. It was our own little online cycling fandom. I had a great time chatting and watching with them. The last day of the tour was GREAT! There was going to be a sprint finish and I was still pulling for Chicchi to win a stage. I had typed his name in bold letters when everyone was "pulling" for the rider they wanted to win. I was screaming and yelling when he crossed that line ahead of Cavendish. WAHOOOO AMAZING!!! Everyone figured Cavendish had it again since the guy is so stinking fast. So, when Chicchi crossed the line I was thrilled and told them that I called it. LOL That man has quads and those quads beat Cav!!! Also, Roman finished with the White jersey. What a great way to end the Tour.

I hope you enjoy the pics that I have in the slideshow. Some of the pics were taken by my new friend, Amy. She is from the boards and is friends with Debbie. Great gal! She was taking pics and writing a blog about the Tour. Thanks Amy!


Diana said...

Hiii!!! GREAT group pic with a UBER cuuute top. You look gorgeous. As for turning down the ride...issues woman. Sheesh. Still love ya though.

Jessica said...

thanks for the gorgeous, italian biker pick me up. that was great!

Brian said...

Glad you liked the live video streaming and chat room from Tour of Missouri. Hopefully we (AVF Creations) will be providing it again in 2009.

Vikki said...

I hope you do too Brian...I also hope we get the TT again. I've been back to and cannot figure out how to search for cycling on there. Would love some help