My friend Tim and I watched the incredible stage 7 mountaintop finish of the Amgen Tour of California today, from the top of Mount Baldy, after climbing it ourselves on our bikes. It was a pretty incredible day.
We started by hanging out in Claremont, the start village; checking out the team buses and bikes and the Start area. We saw Chris Horner interviewed, and Dave Zabriske, and hung out with the Rabobank team. Then we watched the start and the first couple of neutralized laps around the town, before they headed out and up the hill. We mounted our bikes and followed them up Mount Baldy: 17 miles straight up to 6,800'. The peloton had 75 miles of meandering around the hills, so we beat them to the top (barely!) and then hung out and watched the finish.
Yeah, we took a *bunch* of pictures; here they are in case you're interested. And here are a few selected from the bunch:
After some incredible racing on the final climb (4 miles at 10%, with the last mile at 15%) Levi Leipheimer towed teammate Chris Horner across the finish for a well-deserved win (and Horner solidified his overall lead). We watched the podium presentations and then headed down the hill, just in time to pass the groupetto on their way up. (A big bunch of the peloton who can't compete on the climbs gather together and ride up together.) Then we enjoyed a nice 17 mile descent - weaving in and out among slower cars - and headed home, just in time to watch it on television :)