February 18, 2009

Tour Fan Reaction: A big thumbs up

We're asking fans who watched the Amgen Tour of California race to share their experiences. Did you see Lance Armstrong? Was the atmosphere great? Just how fast are those bike riders? Tell us about your time watching the world's greatest cyclists.

We're asking fans who watched Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California to share their experiences. Did you see Lance Armstrong? Was the atmosphere great? Just how fast are those bike riders? Tell us about your time watching the world's greatest cyclists. Click on Brian Clark's e-mail address to the right, and please leave your name, where you live and where you watched the race.

Note: The photos with this story were all submitted by readers! For information on how to submit your photos and videos, see the box at right.

I was at last year's start. Having a finish instead of a start was incredible.

I arrived downtown yesterday about 7:45 a.m. I watched them setting up and took pictures. I spent the morning visiting all the booths, talking with people and sampling the food. I participated in the Breakaway from Cancer march as someone who has lost immediate family members and friends to cancer.

We then got a spot about 50 feet before the finish line. Whether we were being rained on or not, we had an incredible time waiting for the riders.

Then they arrived. People were cheering, ringing their bells and shouting the riders on. Then we waited for them to return after the pass through town. We spotted the helicopter and knew they were coming. The sprint for the finish was exciting as it could be.

Even though it was over in a flash, the excitement lingered like a fine wine. It's still an excellent memory this morning. Hopefully we will be there again in 2010!

-- Brice Walk, Modesto

I must say that was awesome. It was my first race to see in person and I was not disappointed.

About a year ago I was looking for a way to get a good workout and thus was introduced to cycling at my gym (In-Shape). I loved it, it was a great rush right before work and it helped me focus more and I was more productive.

So, last year when I heard about the Tour of California, I thought it would be nice to see, but it is probably not what they make it out to be. I mean, people riding by on bikes at a speed of up to 25-30 mph? What is so great about that? Needless to say I did not go to see it.

Well, today I will tell you what is so great about that. It was the people, fans, the atmosphere and yes, those riders riding by. It felt like I was apart of something special and I got to share it with everyone there. It was not like a ball game, where you cheer for a winner or you boo a loser. Everyone was cheering for all riders from the first to the last and people were even cheering at the police cars. I taped the experience on my phone and I will treasure this for quite a while.

-- Lashone

I have to say this was my first experience watching a live cycle race and I'll admit, I’m hooked. What a thrill!

It was a wild crowd on the corner. All the school kids from Hart Ransom Elementary were out screaming and cheering, writing in the streets with sidewalk chalk to encourage the racers.

One little girl said it was the biggest thing to happen to Modesto and I could tell she believed it with her whole heart. What a wonderful experience!

-- Tammy Schoppet

We were at the corner of Shoemake and Dakota at Hart Ransom school and it was AWESOME! The rain stopped just before they came by! What a great experience for my grandkids, Dylan & Cayli Lee to remember!

-- Virginia Crackel

Two co-workers and I, employed in the Family & Consumer Science office at Modesto Junior College on the west campus, followed the race progress on the Amgen Web site streaming video from about 2 p.m on.

When the first four riders made the turn on to Shoemake, we decided to go down to the corner of Blue Gum and Dakota to watch the riders go by.

As we approached the intersection, traffic was stopped, just sitting in the street. We could see north on Dakota through the walnut orchard; the CHP came through with lights flashing. I parked my car in the street where we were stopped. I walked down to the intersection in time to see the lead motorcycles.

Everyone at the intersection cheered, the cyclists rode by and we could watch their progress up to Kansas and then down into town by following the helicopter in the sky.

We got back to our office in time to watch the finish of the race on the live video stream. It's nice to have Modesto on the map for something positive!

-- Colleen Norby

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