Tom Zirbel: A big day at the office

My first road stage back

It was a good day for the Jamis/Sutter Home Pro Cycling Team. We came away from the first completed stage of the Amgen Tour of California with a jersey and a top ten finish. Jamey Driscoll worked his way into the breakaway today and impressed the officials with his badger-like aggression to secure the jersey for the team. And the Barrajo brothers did what they do best, navigated through the criterium-esque circuits to be in contention for the sprint victory. Ale (pronounced AH-lay), with Anibal as his lead-out man, finished an impressive 6th considering all of the big names in the top ten. He may not have been pleased, but I was in awe.

I’ll spare you the race details, only to say that I was worthless in aiding our sprinters today. I was a little disappointed in myself but it’s not too surprising considering my lack of racing in the last 1.5 years…and the light rain that started during our finishing circuits.

After the stage, we went to a Sutter Home reception and got to meet and mingle with some of the people who work for our title sponsor Sutter Home wines. It was actually a pleasant evening of signing autographs and answering questions. The freely flowing vino most certainly helped with the overall enjoyment of the evening! It’s always nice to meet with sponsors because it helps make the rider/sponsor relationships more personal rather than being strictly business. I believe that it also helps the overall team dynamic. The greater a family feel that you can create within a team, the more cohesive and effective your team will be. That’s my theory anyway, and days like today are an important step in that process.

Other highlights of my day included tasty breakfast pancakes smothered with yogurt and fruit, and later on when one of the riders whom I respect most in the peloton rode up next to me and said “What’s up, Bitch? Welcome back.” Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

I also wanted to give a big thanks to the California weather who helped me ease back into this race with a canceled stage and an abbreviated stage, but I think I’m finally ready to tackle a FULL stage tomorrow. Seriously, I can take it from here.


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