Sunday, May 19, 2013

Perfect Day on Mt. Diablo

Y'all, there's not much more in life that I like than a good mountain stage in a bike race and so I was super excited, and also a little nervous about volunteering at the Mt. Diablo finish on stage seven of this year's Amgen Tour of California. As it turns out, the day could not have gone smoother or better which made me a very happy cycling fan.

I woke up early (some things don't even change on vacation) and got ready for the day and checked email etc. until my dad woke up. We had to check in at our location at 12:30 and so we really didn't need to leave until about 10:30 I figured. So, while we were passing the time, I did some laundry. Thankfully and luckily, the hotel had guest laundry right across the hall from our room which worked out nicely.

We were about the last two in the building to eat breakfast I think (around 9:00) and after breakfast we waited on our last load of clothes to dry and then we headed towards the mountain around 10:00. We had received an email before leaving home that we were scheduled to work the 1:00-4:00 shift at the Juniper checkpoint, which was as high as most cars were allowed. There was only one spot higher to volunteer and that was the summit.

We checked in at each point and were given a pass for the car to move on up the mountain and we soon found Juniper. We parked and went to the check in table and were told we were supposed to be down the mountain to which I quickly replied that the email we received said to check in at Juniper and that I was not going down the mountain. So, the lady checked us in, gave us our shirts and hats and we checked with the volunteer coordinator at 12:30 and he allowed us to stay. We were handling parking which was the easiest peasiest job there was. The road closed at 2:00 so we really only had to work about an hour and handled very few cars in that time.

The race came through about 3:30 and it was super exciting. Of course, my dad expected to see an hour of racing and we saw about five minutes total, but that's how it goes in bike racing and to me it was great, great fun! Once the riders reached the summit, they had to bike down the mountain to get to the team buses which were below our location at Juniper. I was watching all the cyclists (professional and just average Joes) zoom down the mountain when a rider asked me a question, I looked up and my heart started pounding and I just wanted to ask for a photo, but I didn't because I was a volunteer. It was Jens Voight, AKA The Big Diesel Engine, and he wanted to know where the team buses were. My reply - "they're down the hill". His reply, "Thank you." It was such a magical moment. Actually, I'm amazed I could even find words.

I recognized some of the other riders as they came down when it wasn't so crowded and yelled a few names and got some waves. My dad and I decided to leave about 4:30 and on the way down the mountain who did we encounter but Dore Holte! I snapped a photo really quick with my phone and I will treasure the moment forever. It was the best day ever on the mountain!

The traverse down the mountain was not bad at all. In fact, there was hardly any car traffic and we were down in about 45 minutes. We ate dinner at a Greek restaurant and I had the chicken kabobs which were very good. My dad chose the dolmades which were disgusting. The bread was good and so was the salad. He just made a bad choice for his entree. He said he would never choose that again. I can't say that I blame him.

We were back at the hotel by 6:30, our earliest hotel arrival so far and we spent the evening blogging (me), emailing, checking Twitter, playing games on the computer and generally speaking doing a whole lot of nothing. It is vacation, after all and you're supposed to relax on vacation. I did do one more load of laundry which got us all caught up to that point.

On Sunday we will depart for Santa Rosa to watch the final stage of the race come in and check out the awards ceremony. Then we will make our departure for San Fransisco where we will be until Tuesday.

 Dore Holte, people!


Melissa said...

So glad y'all are having a great vacation!!! Can't wait to read about your next adventures :)

Jackie said...

It looks beautiful there.