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THE END May 2, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in Uncategorized.

Wow!!!  That is the best word I can think of to describe my time at the Tour  de Georgia.  Each day was completely different.  Supporting Chechu and spending a little time around him was of course the highlight.  But meeting so many people and making new friends was “Priceless”.  I have been to a lot of sporting events from pee wee to professional, but I have never been at an event like a cycling stage race.  Maybe because cycling fans in the US are a misunderstood minority we tend to bond quickly or maybe it is universal, but I felt more like I was in a large group of friends instead of a large group of strangers.  I visited other team buses, but always ended up at the Astana bus along with many others. 

Even though Astana is not an American Team, judging from the number of fans around the team bus, they are an American Favorite.

I have no idea what we are saying, but the smiles tell it all.

Suddenly it was Sunday and we were packing up and heading to the starting line for the last time.  After the great weather we had all week, we arrived in Atlanta to a light rain.  We were ready for the rain with our ponchos and umbrellas, but when we made it to the bus the guys were inside staying dry.  This was the perfect time for one of the many magical moments of the week.  Like the Pied Piper, Rebecca pulled out her recorder and started playing the Asturian national anthem.  Chechu followed the music and was quickly down the steps with a wide smile on his face.  There was time for a little conversation and more pictures. Then it was time for Chechu to get back on the bus, so we started walking away.  Before we had walked very far, Chechu came running up with some Astana team caps for us.   Suddenly he realized that there were five of us and he just had four caps.  He quickly promised to give us another cap after the race and true to his word he did just that.

We lined up against the railing about 50 yards from the start line and waved the flags as Chechu rode by to join the peloton.  This stage was a circuit of 10 laps that took 12-13 minutes each.  Once again the flags drew attention from other spectators.  One was a woman whose family came from Spain and she recognized the Asturias flag.  Another person who asked about the flags turned out to be one of the Tour of America organizers.  He was there to talk to race organizers and team directors and hopefully get some good advise.  They are still planning the Tour of America for September 2009.  It was interesting to talk to him and who knows, maybe with some modifications there may be a place for the Tour of America.

It was difficult, but after the second lap I headed for my car knowing that I had an 8-9 hour drive ahead of me.  As I left the parking lot I asked the attendant for directions to the interstate.  At that time I think the cycling gods were smiling on me.  The directions lead me across the race route.  When I got to an intersection the police were holding up traffic.  Suddenly I realized that we were waiting for the riders and I got a final look at the peloton before I left Atlanta.   

It was a wonderful week and thanks again to Nicky and Rebecca for sending us the flags and making the t-shirts available.  And of course thanks to Chechu for being his wonderful self and treating us to some exciting moments as he lead the peloton up Brasstown Bald.  Like many others at the race I hope he doesn’t retire after this year, but unlike the others I had a Chechu magnet and it worked to perfection.




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

How cool is that? Leaving the race and getting one last look. That’s awesome. Beautiful way to sum it up.

Thanks again.

2. Joan - May 2, 2008

Hey Annie,

Sorry I couldn’t be in Atlanta, my hosts did not want to go near the city on a weekend. Well they deal with the traffic everyday so guess I can’t blame them and when you don’t have to pay for lodging you can’t be picky. It was great meeting you, Amy, Rebecca, Larry and Cricket (I never did meet Jenny Dog). Keep in touch, Rebecca and Nicky have my email.

PS The shoes worked great, I had no pain or soreness the next day after Brasstown Bald. I highly recommend them.

Joan P.

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