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GOING BALD May 1, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in chechu, cycling fans, team astana, tour de georgia.

I would like to thank Rebecca’s husband Larry for giving me the title. Isn’t it cute?

I’m not sure where to begin with Brasstown. It was an amazing day filled with story after story. We knew we had to get there early, or, at least, get to the shuttles early. The problem was, where do we get the shuttles?

Blairsville was having a “Night Before The Climb” celebration in town on Friday. They advertised it as “live music, outside dining, official Tour merchandise and team autographs”.

However, I had asked Chechu earlier in the day if the team was going to be there. It seemed kind of odd they’d ride all day then spend 3 hours the night before probably the biggest day of the race signing autographs. So when Chechu looked at me perplexed and said he didn’t think they’d be there, I wasn’t surprised. No disrespect to Blairsville, but the event wasn’t much to talk about. We only stayed about 15 minutes then headed back to our cottages.

So we got up early Saturday and had a chat with our neighbors at the cottage who were also going up to Brasstown. They told us exactly where to catch the shuttles and that we had better go ASAP or we’d have to park 2 miles away. Last year, they said, there were 25,000 people on the hill.

We ended up riding in the same shuttle with them, David and Dave, a father and son from Alabama. We also sat next to them on the green. They were very nice and became new friends that day.

The weather could have gone either way. It was breezy and a little chilly up top and, at times, there were clouds that looked as if they might dump Niagara falls on us but it never happened. We’ve been so lucky this week, we’ve dodged rain several days in a row.

The stage wasn’t supposed to start until 1pm but we got there around 9am. Time flew. We met so many nice people, hung the big Asturias flag up high for everyone to see and just relaxed until they started showing the stage on the big screen. It was so exciting to see Andrey in the break and then even more so when I suddenly noticed what everyone else had already noticed and that Chechu was in a 2nd break making his way up to Andrey. The ultimate finale to this stage would have been to see Chechu go on to win. That would have been a spectacular statement for him and the team to make.

Once Chechu’s break caught up with Andrey’s break, Cricket and I headed up the climb a little. I was a little torn because it meant that we wouldn’t know what was going on but, after watching the small climb the day before, I knew it be a great place to witness the action, especially since it was the last 1km.

At one point, we thought we heard over a Tour radio that numbers 9 and 12 were together. That would have meant that Chechu was up front with Bradley McGee. By the time the first riders came around the turn towards us, Levi was there with Trent, Konstantine and 2 Rock Rolling riders. I was upset Chechu hadn’t made it first but so, so glad Levi had made the move.

The absolutely BEST part of the day was when the riders started coming back down the hill to the buses. I was waiting to see Chechu.

Each time riders were coming we knew because the crowd above us would start cheering. I looked up once to see Chechu coming to a complete stop to pay his respects to Joan for showing her support. I knew then that he’d most likely stop to say Hi to Cricket and me and, sure enough, he did.

I caught a picture of him as he was heading in our direction. The crowd was cheering and ringing their bells but, as soon as he stopped, it seemed to get very quiet. Then again, at that point I was in my own little “Chechu” world. Chechu was so sweet. All that time on the bike and in a break then climbing that hill and he still stopped 3 times on his way back down to greet his fans.

Amy, Georgia



1. Anikó Szász - May 1, 2008

Thanks for your nice story Amy as usual! It was surely a great experience for you to meet and greeted by Chechu after that hard stage! I think you’ll never forget this!

2. Chris (Tour Fan) - May 2, 2008

So cool. Love these pictures too. It’s cool to hear that the race has such good support. What an absolute gentleman Chechu is. I am just so happy that you had the wonderful time you did.

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