March 6, 2006
The past month has truly been the Tour of California for me. I started my tour in Santa Cruz with Tom, Michael, Dede and Liam. We rented a great house within walking distance to the ocean. It was a treat for us to open the windows and hear the waves while we fell asleep.
Tom and Michael trained together in preparation for the inaugural year of the real Tour of California. I sought out a new Bella teamie, Jen, and road manager, Brent, for some help with an unfamiliar terrain. Jen and Brent are locals of Santa Cruz and so they took me on some memorable rides. We rode on the winding trails through Wilder Park and through the redwoods on the Santa Cruz mountain roads. We zoomed through the gigantic redwood trees all throughout Santa Cruz; I always felt like I was playing hide and seek with the sun as the gigantic trees billowed above me. I had such a great time getting to know Santa Cruz and its quarks, I grew to really love it! While in Santa Cruz I was fortunate that Dede is good friends with the famous Julie Furtado; I was invited to tag along with her and some coworkers for a Sunday mountain bike ride around the college campus. She is such a gifted athlete, I now know why she won so many races.
Next we headed to the diverse city of San Francisco. When I wasn't biking I spent time with Dede and Liam. One cold dismal day we decided to go to the De Young fine art museum. It was a good activity for a dreary day. My favorite pieces were the brightly colored blown glass. All the pieces were from the 17th through the 20th centuries. I enjoyed seeing another form of passion outside of athletics.
Once Dede and Liam headed home I met up with a friend from Durango who drove out to follow the race. Rob and I met up with my team manager, Alex, and snaked through the city roads following the Tour of California's prologue. Both Rob and Alex's colorful personalities made San Francisco a fun city to explore.
I'm a small town gal at heart though. Once the excitement of the race left San Francisco, I followed the 'traveling circus'. Next I arrived in San Louis Obispo. I stayed with some good friends for a week. We cheered for team Discovery and Tommy D until our throats hurt. The fans in San Louis Obispo were unbelievable. So much excitement and anticipation filled the air. Chris, a friend from Durango who came out to cheer on Tom, took me on some deserted country roads outside of San Louis. They were perfect for road riding! Winding through horse ranch after horse ranch, we were passed by only a few farmers' trucks.
Today I said goodbye to our friends in San Louis and headed to Thousand Oaks to be with Tom. He finished an impressive eighth overall and worked hard for the team. Tom had a great time at the first Tour of California. I had a great time too, all the brightly colored jerseys, fans filled with excitement and perfect weather made the tour a huge success. The Monday after the race, the Discovery team shot a commercial and then went off to Europe. I will miss Tom, I always do but knowing it is only three weeks apart helps to keep the sadness pit in my stomach from becoming too permanent.
I will fly back up to Sacramento for my own Velo Bella training camp next Wednesday. My sad goodbye will soon turn into excitement for the upcoming racing season. My tour has given me the opportunity to put in some miles with great weather, I feel great about my season that is just around the corner. I can't wait to meet my new teammates and get all of our goodies. Camp is always way better than Christmas. I will keep ya posted as my tour or California continues!