The Amgen Tour of California Roars into Sacramento Story & Photos by by Barbara L. Steinberg©
Whew! The energy was pulsing in Downtown Sacramento as the first day of the Amgen Tour of California came and went. The streets of Sacramento were packed...I mean sardines people! Not one available on-street parking space. Sacramento Light Rail was jammed -- and that's a rarity on a weekend. In and around downtown, Sacramento restaurants and bars were humming...and not because it also happened to be Valentine's Day. Nope...it was all about the race...the big, bad, beautiful Tour of California. The Sacramento leg of the Tour of California was actually a Prologue -- a flat course winding in an around the the Capital city - 2.4 miles. The clanging of cow bells, the flashing of police lights, and the screaming throngs. I'm not a cycling enthusiast, but it sucks me in every time. Today was the prelude to the actual start of the race tomorrow in Davis, California.
Foreboding skies mixed with moments of blue and billowy clouds -- the rain gods smiled on Sacramento's race day. It was a little on the cool side, but no one seemed to mind. Sadly, I won't be on the road with this year's Tour of California. But glad that today's excitement was just a few blocks away from my Midtown Sacramento home. I was happy to see so many local cyclists had taken to the road and the Sacramento Bike Valet was clearly doing a brisk business. I walked home while the hoards waited for Light Rail -- spoke to people from Folsom and Elk Grove who had the good sense to take public transit. And we thank them! Oh, and met a couple visiting from my home state, Virginia. They too were using public transit. Sweet!
While roaming around, someone I met in Pasadena during last year's Tour of California stopped to say hello. Among the thousands of spectators...what were the chances? Well, in my world the chances are always pretty good. It made me realize that even though I'm not a cyclist, the Amgen Tour of California is already part of this insider's life. And I like it!
Here are some of my favorite images of the day. Click to enlarge. Roll on Amgen!
BTW - Two-time World Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) won his second consecutive Amgen Tour of California Prologue with a time of 4:32.909. Defending California champ Levi Leipheimer was second at 1.2 seconds and Dave Zabriskie was third at 2.648.