Santa Rosa Sucks...

if you are a pro bike racer, or someone from out-of-state mistakenly thinking you are attending a bike race in that "California" place you see on your teevee in shows such as Bay Watch, or maybe if you are a homeless person... But if you came prepared, Santa Rosa was a wonderful place to spend the afternoon.

It may come as a surprise to anyone who watched the race, but it rained today! It rained a lot. Biblical amounts of rain. I was expecting frogs to start falling from the sky any minute, but alas, no frogs...

After a wet drive north, I arrived a bit  too late for the Ladie's race (that  Emilia is cute as a button. Wow. Jens, do they all look like her there? Cause that might explain why some of you stay there in the winter...). But, I did see the Men come through. They were... well... they were wet. Very, very wet. Wet like an Irish well-digger's ass... or is that "cold" like an Irish well-digger's ass? It probably doesn't matter because either way it's totally accurate.

Me? I was neither wet, nor cold, because I came prepared, remember! Here is my ToC 2009 in-person race attendance checklist...

  1. Waterproof boots? Check!
  2. Waterproof pants? Check!
  3. Waterproof jacket? Check?
  4. Waterproof gloves? F*ck, forgot those...
  5. Twitter-enabled Crackberry? Damn right!

So to cut to the chase, or the lack of a chase as it turned out... Mancebo managed to win after an epic, but nearly spoiled, solo and soggy breakaway. The surprisingly large, but unsurprisingly cold and wet crowd, went f*cking wild when the man finished, his wet arms raised high, with a huge, huge wet grin on his wet face. You could tell that nobody, except Nibali and the Belgian kid, were even chasing, so the racing was pretty limited. But the break away survived. Don't see that every day...

Well, thought I, the race is over now. It's pouring rain. It's getting dark. My hands are cold. What to do? Maybe I should go back to that Russian bar that crashdan mentioned in his "places to meet up" thread? But on the other hand, why don't I just walk through that open gate right over there leading onto the course right in front of the podium stage? The gate through which all the photographers are going, you ask? Why yes, that gate...

Next thing you know, I'm standing front and center in the photog scrum, three feet from the stage, right behind the VS cameraman, and here come Mancebo to get his yellow jersey. It's me, the guy from Getty images, the CNN dude, VS camera guy, probably someone from Gazetta della Sporto, and two dozen soggy others all equipped with multiple cameras with these massive lenses, blah, blah, blah. Me? I have...

  1. Crackberry (with built in flash thank you very much)
  2. My trusty Sony Cybershot DSC-T5 (which does video!)

I was a new-media field reporting dynamo, baby! Tweet, tweet, tweet!. That's what I'm talking about my tweeches!

Now all these pro photogs have on these official bibs that say "Official ToC Pro Photo Person", or something like that. Meh. Not me. No bib necessary. Just a blue North Face jacket, yellow PVC rain pants ($14.95), and a take-no-prisoner look on my face. In truth, I'm standing there figuring one of the pro guys is going to rat me out any second and some race official is going to grab me by my soggy backpack and kick my ass out, but then I notice the 4 ft 6 in Laotian grandmother in the purple and tan plaid jacket standing to my left... and I knew I was safe. So I relax, take some shots and a little video while they give out all the jerseys, and settle in to my new-found profession... International cycling new-media twitterati field guy! Who needs press credentials when you have dumb luck? Not me, that's who, or "that's not who"... or whichever is better (Gav, edit please?)...

So here is my official report... It rained a lot. Mancebo got all the jerseys except the "Best Young Rider" (Gesink) and the women's race winner jersey (Emilia, blink, blink, sigh, blink). And then Basso got one for something... "Cutest Smile"... "Best Kisser"... "Best Reformed-Ex-Admitted-Almost-But-Not-Really-An-Actual-Doper on Liguigas"blah, blah....

My work day finished, I went back to the Russian River Brewing Company to see if I could find crashdan (look for a maniacal youngish Colonel Sanders looking guy with glasses and a brown leather hat I'm thinking) but all I managed to find was another excellent Leffe-like Belgian style blond ale, which, in a selfless jesture of solidarity, I dedicated to the fine people of Australia who got jacked up recently.... moment of silence... Then I drove home, stopping at In-N-Out on the way, (just like Horner apparently did), and put on my Snuggie. Oh, Snuggie, why do I love you so?

Night all...

P.S., I don't really have a Snuggie.

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