I am a cycling fan. The Tour of California Stage 5 started in Seaside, California yesterday about 4 miles from my home.
The Tour of California provides the opportunity to see some of the world’s greatest cyclists up close. I spent much of the morning as a groupie around the Leopard Trek bus hoping to meet Andy Schleck and Jens Voigt.
Andy Schleck is from Luxembourg and he came in second in the 2010 Tour de France.
Jens Voigt is German and in the 2009 Tour de France he took the hardest fall I ever saw in a mountain descent where he was knocked out with a concussion and fractured his cheek bone. Jens is the oldest guy in the race, and he was the friendliest guy for the crowd waiting around the bus. These guys were in the race zone.
Update: Jens dropped out after Stage 5. Turns out he rode the day with a broken wrist suffered in a fall during Stage 4. One tough guy. Wishing Jens a full recovery in time for Tour de France starting July 2.
The race was routed to head down the coast on Highway 1 to Big Sur, but the road washed into the sea in March and still hasn’t been fully repaired. Yesterday’s stage went through the hills of Carmel Valley instead to Paso Robles.
The morning was typical fog, then the good sunny weather returned to Seaside-Monterey soon after the riders left. No worry for the riders though as the sun was out with perfect 70s in Carmel Valley already.
So what does any of this have to do with hotels? Well, I parked at the Embassy Suites Seaside, the closest hotel to the starting line of Stage 5 of the 2011 Tour of California eight-day cycling race. Actually only 7 days this year since the Lake Tahoe stage was cancelled due to the snow storm that hit the Sierra and shortened my Yosemite/Kings Canyon National Parks trip last weekend.