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California Cycling Vacation - Day 9 - AToC Finish : Santa Rosa

Day 8 - AToC Mt Diablo : Climb & Cowbell

The final day of both our California Cycling Vacation and the Tour of California had arrived.  We woke slowly feeling the last 8 days of cycling and 2 days of Tour activities.  Even though Stage 8 started early and would finish in Santa Rosa before lunch, we had some time to watch Stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia which finish on Galibier.  The weather was atrocious in Italy this year with rain, snow, and cancellations.  We had definitely picked the better Tour where weather was concerned.

We packed up and drove the short distance to Santa Rosa and parked for free downtown.  We brought our bikes in case we wanted to ride after the Finish, but we both knew that was an unlikely possibility.  We walked to the Festival area grabbing some breakfast on the way and found the 10 Speed Coffee Truck for Terry.  The lines were always long, but the smile on Terry's face confirmed they were worth it.
10 Speed Coffee - Terry's favorite part about the festival area


We had wandered thru the Festival area at the Time Trial Start on Friday, but each host city throws a few extra tents into the mix, so we headed into the masses to check it out.  We didn't buy any official Tour merchandise but did come home with a couple water bottles and several free backpacks.
Tour of California Festival
After we had done a quick scan of all the tents, we walked a portion of the course and went to check out the Finish Line.  We were surprised to see a couple spots available on the sponsor boards but it seemed to early to stake a claim, so we walked on.  We thought a corner spot would be fun since the guys would do several laps once they arrived in Santa Rosa, but we found a spot at 75m to go where we could still hear the announcers and be in the shade.  We settled in and waited for the riders.

Once they came, they shot by us easily going 30-35mph.  We banged on the boards and rang the cowbell and tried to take some video.  The Santa Rosa crowds have done this for years and deserve to be a host city year after year.
Santa Rosa crowd still going nuts for the last riders to finish the Tour of California

After the broom wagon went by, we made our way to the Finish for the Podium Presentations.  We got close enough to take some zoom pictures and cheer for all the winners.  We felt like popping our own champagne to celebrate such a fantastic vacation.
Team BMC wins Team Classification
Final Tour of California Podium with Tejay van Garderen from Team BMC on top

We did another sweep thru the festival to people-watch and stretch our legs, then headed off to look for the BMC Team Bus to offer our congrats.  The weather was great and it was still early, so everyone was savoring the last of the Tour of California - 2013 edition.
Always good to have a Start/Finish photo for the blog
How about one more vacation selfie before we go home?
BMC Celebration at the Team Bus - so great to see all the hard work pay off for riders, staff, & supporters

Our breakfast bagels had faded away hours ago and now with a couple celebration beers in us, we needed to say our final goodbyes and find some lunch.  We googled for a pizza place and walked to Rosso.  What a find!  The pizzas were fantastic.  I can't say enough about the fresh ingredients at all the California restaurants we visited.
Lunch at Rosso - Best Pizza on Vacation


We walked out of the cool restaurant into some of the hottest temps all week and within a couple blocks, made the decision to leave the bikes on top of the car and go to a movie.  We walked back thru the Finish area one more time in route to the theater.  Tour tear-down was now in full force and it was interesting to see this side of the process.
Mostly full champagne bottles - I always wondered what happened to these
VIP Tent Leftovers - Empty Wine Bottles

The movie was long and since we were still in Santa Rosa, the only thing that made sense was to eat again!  Cycling 8 days straight is good for the appetite.  We had eaten at Riviera Restorante on our last vacation in the area and it was probably a good thing we waited until our last meal, otherwise every meal would have been here.

We didn't think about the tour crowds, but lucked out and scored a table.  If our timing had been any different in either direction, it wouldn't have happened.  We were halfway into our delicious pasta, when the Cannondale Team walked in for their celebration dinner. We assumed a team or large group would be coming to this famous cycling restaurant so it was fun to see the guys relaxing and enjoying a well deserved meal.
Dinner & Dessert at Riviera - Best Meal on Vacation (...also best meal not in Italy)
All the cool kids eat at Riviera the final night of the Tour of California

We drove back to the cottage with satisfied mind, body, and bellies.  We had left no stone unturned on our California Cycling Vacation.  No regrets, lots of memories, and not exactly ready to go back to work, but ready to go home.  We woke very early on Monday, said our final goodbyes to the cottage, and drove east towards home.  I won't be surprised if we are back again next year.
The sun rises as we drive home from our California Cycling Vacation

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