Downtown Modesto bustles with fans, locals after bike race

February 17, 2009 

  • Did you go to watch? Share your experience

    Did you go downtown to watch the end of the Tour's third stage? Did you go out somewhere on the route to watch the racers? If so, we'd like to hear what you thought of the race and your experiences. To do so, e-mail Brian L. Clark at
    bclark@modbee.com. Then, check back later on the site to see your response and those of others who watched the race. Please leave your name, your place of residence and where on the route you watched.

  • Submit Your Amgen Tour of California photos

    Did you take some cool photos of cyclists speeding through Modesto streets on Tuesday afternoon at the Amgen Tour of California? Any shots of fans cheering the riders on? If you did, we'd love to see them and post them to our Web site. Just click here to upload them to our site, and fill out the form. We'll add them a gallery throughout the day on Tuesday, and keep posting throughout the week as long as you send them in. To take a look at what other readers have submitted, go to this link. Thanks to all who have contributed!

Those hoping the Amgen Tour of California would wash downtown Modesto in the color of money were treated to a gray sky instead.

Although the tsunami of restaurant and nightclub patrons never quite emerged, the crowds that did come out were enthusiastic and excited to be part of the festivities.

Many restaurant and nightspot owners said they had steady and above-average business throughout the day.

"Anything on a Tuesday is great," said Bacchus general manager Trinity Amador-Stewart, whose restaurant was near the finish line. "It's normally our slowest day of the week. But it brought everyone from the school-age to elderly out in the middle of the afternoon."

At 5 p.m., when the race and jersey presentations had ended, most of the audience quickly dissipated. Those who stuck around said they planned to spend the night enjoying themselves.

"It's so much fun to see all the camaraderie of people coming out for Modesto," said resident Jamie Byous. "If people are going to come out in the rain and wind, obviously they have a good temperament."

Byous came out with his family and friend Brent Jones. After the race they stopped at Bacchus, where they happily discussed the day.

"I'll be able to tell my kids and grandkids that I saw Lance Armstrong," said Jones, who had bought a couple of Livestrong bracelets as a souvenir.

Across the street at Harvest Moon, Charlene Smallwood, who owns the restaurant with husband Mark, said most of the customers had been locals.

"We've had a lot of people interacting," she said. "People are joining other tables."

The restaurant, which participated in the city's meal voucher program for Amgen support staff, saw a few groups from the tour.

Harvest Moon also had the honor of catering dinner for Armstrong and his team at their hotel.

But locals weren't the only ones out celebrating in the city.

Friends Gary Green and Steve Werlin have been following the tour in a trailer since it came through their hometown of Santa Rosa.

They plan to go with the tour until its end Sunday in Escondido.

The men were at Tresetti's World Caffe, as was a group of Amgen motor marshals using their restaurant vouchers.

"As cold as it was, it was a great crowd," Green said. "Everyone has been really nice."

The weather didn't rain on The Firkin & Fox's business. Owner Sharon Lapacket said she expected the restaurant to have its biggest day since it opened in April.

"I think (the weather) actually benefited us because people were so cold they wanted to come inside and maybe get a drink," she said.

At the bar next to her were a pair of journalists from Belgium covering the race.

"This is great for Modesto," she added. "I'd like us to be the end every year."

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or 578-2284.

Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service