A few weeks ago R Mc put up a thread that got some attention from a few of us that were going to attend the TOC this past week. With some quick Amazon checking, purchase, and swift delivery, the book was here and the fun was on. In an attempt to help replace a book, with autographs we could never truly replace, I set out to try and at least get Max a solid start on his continued tradition.
The stage finish on Thursday was start of the autograph getting. I knew Brad Huff was out of the race but also knew he was sticking around. I texted him while we were walking around checking things out and it turned out, he was in the Jelly Belly Booth - go figure, ha ha. I headed over to say hi, give a hug, and start the book. He was sweet as usual and took a look through the book to decide where he would sign. First one done! Huge thanks Brad!
Stage finishes are hard to get to riders. They're in a hurry to get to busses to get the recovery started so it was a slow day. The TT was Friday though and the book was in hand. I ran into Christian VandeVelde in the morning on his way to ride the course. A quick chat and note to come to the bus afterwards for him to sign. :-) After the stage we headed to the busses. I found Chris Horner right after his ride. Ringing wet and out of breath, he still took the second to sign it for me. From there we saw Tyler Hamilton and Fast Freddie who both signed. Then I headed over to say hi to C and John. C happily signed it and so did Tom Danielson and Steven Cozza, who was awesome as I saw him off on the side visiting with family and friends. Didn't mind signing and even got up to take a pic! Sweet thanks! I also found Rory Sutherland.
It was getting later and well, we kinda like, had a team meeting of our own we needed to get to?!? So off we were to the PodiumCafé HQ. What all happened there will forever bring some smiles to all I'm sure. I can only add that the guys like CrashDan and Jimbo do NOT disappoint if you enjoy some good laughs. The only disappointment... we didn't get video of CrashDan riding a non-motorized two wheel vehicle!!!
So on to Saturday's start. Let the fun really begin! We got there as some of the busses were still pulling in. Walked up and found Lyne and Steph. Those two - they're awesome! Lyne helped me with the Bissell and BMC riders. They were sweet! BMC signed it and even passed the book around to make sure the ones sitting there all signed. I got Jeff Louder while Lyne was wrapping up her interview. Ben and Andy Jacques-Maynes signed with smiles and so did Tom Zirbel. I swear this is such a horribly hard thing to help out with. Just horrible. Tee hee.
Then it was off to find Team Type 1. They've got a great story and a fun group of riders. Sean Weide from the team Rocks! He took it onto the bus for us and Chris Jones, Valeriy Kobzarenk, and Matt Wilson signed it. Big kudo's and sweet thanks Sean! From there I went and waited for Frank Schleck to finish doing an interview and I got him, Andy Schleck, and Jens! Voigt. Very fun but the place was very crowded. Crazy place the TOC was.
Here is where I insert huge hugs, high fives, and snuggie award performance nominations for Steph! She takes the book and goes running off to the sign in. She racks up signatures like no one I have ever met! And let me tell you, it was horrible for her! She was at one point surrounded by lime green lycra riders getting signatures. Torture! She comes back from the sign in and she scores riders like Stuey O'Grady, one of my favorites Michael Barry who I had emailed before hand and was bummed I hadn't gotten to yet, riders from Quick Step, Liquigas, and Cervelo TestTeam. The woman was amazing!
One of the cool moments for me was yelling hello to George Hincapie and asking him for an autograph as he was rolling to the start. The man, god bless him, rolls over to a stop so I can have him sign the book. Score! It was awesome. As we walked towards the start, we saw Tim Johnson sitting on his bike talking to some friends. I walked over and asked him to sign it. Of course tossed in huge congrats for an awesome Cross season before thanking him. Then the race was underway and I was off to find the men of the PdC. Located them only to find CrashDan on a mission to find a pub for lunch. Lunch was good, the beer yummy, and the company, well, that was about as good as it could get. :-)
We headed back to the car so I could get my stuff and we waited for the Podium Cafe Team car. The guys arrive and Clydesdale headed south for the finish and the rest of us head back north. Riding in a team car is quite the treat. CrashDan mastered the computer piping in the race over the car radio, Sui Juris manned the wheel avoiding low flying cessnas and pot holes (nope PopUp, they've got nothing on ours), and the Bossman, well, let's just say he had a reeeeally late night and shared tips on the importance of power napping. LOL Chris!
It was a great few days and a lot of fun. Meeting some of the PdC gang was by far my favorite part and getting the autographs was absolutely trying and such a chore - so kidding! I had a great time. I think Clydesdale has some pics of some of the riders signing the book. The one of Horner is hilarious as it looks like I'm picking his nose clicking the sharpie for him. Good stuff.
I hope little man Max enjoys the book as much as I did getting it for him. It won't replace the pretty impressive book he had but really, how do these guys not rock? They were so dang sweet!
I've mentioned the thanks above but just wanted to really add personal thanks to Clydesdale for the pics. Lyne for helping with the guys. Steph for her rock star performance. Sean for his help with TT1. Sweet thanks for Brad for being the first to answer my email, the hugs and hello's, and for being the first to sign! C for being the great guy he is and the great giggle I got from his response to my email. Michael Barry was great about it too. The riders are amazingly awesome. There are many, many, more I didn't list above and I hope they all know just how great and how much fun they made this adventure. All in all, there are close to 50 signatures from the riders from the 2009 TOC! Huge Thanks to All of Them!!!