Wow! Tour of Utah Stage 5 had it all. Huge crowds, incredible course, great racing, more cowbell, and massive weather. Fortunately the race finished just as the storm arrived, but unfortunately the high winds knocked over the Start/Finish truss. It's difficult to celebrate the day when there is at least one serious injury, hopefully we'll hear good news soon.
Our guests did the Park City tourist thing this morning while we worked, then at 2:30p we regrouped and drove to Salt Lake City for Stage 5. We visited the DNA Cycling tent, did a couple laps around the teams to check out bikes, then held position across the stage to watch Sign-In and interviews for the hour before the start. We had a great spot for staging and call-ups right on the barrier. Many of the racers had ice bags on their necks indicating how strong the sun was beating down.
|DNA Cycling at Start/Finish - if you aren't here, order your TOU gear here|
|BMC Racing Team|
|UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling|
|Jelly Belly pb Maxxis|
|Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) talking to Dave Towle about his Comeback and his Dad|
|Ted King (Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling) Stage 4 Fan Favorite|
|Jure Kocjan (Team SmartStop) in Yellow as GC Leader|
|Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling) applauding the National Anthem|
|Brad and Dave keeping everyone entertained with minutes before Start|
As soon as the race started, we headed to the 20% climb and stayed there for all 7 laps! We've never ridden this street, but just walking and standing on it for 2hrs, you could feel the intensity of the grade. Between lap 2 and 3, I ran to the truck for more water, hats, and sunscreen. The sun was brutal. Then between lap 5 and 6, the storm started moving in from the west and the crowds took off for the finish and home. The weather alerts looked frightening but we knew there would be attacks on the final 2 laps and chose to stick it out.
|The Climb - 20% Grade! (note the clear skies)|
|Lap 1 Peloton stretched from gutter to gutter!|
|America's Toughest Stage Race is RIGHT!|
|Lap 4 Peloton|
All the laps were amazing but the last 2 were the best. The course marshals backed off some to allow more interaction with the riders at the back. The attacks happened right in front of us. The talented riders out of contention did wheelies up the climb to the crowd's cheers. All while the storm kept moving closer and closer, adding another level of anticipation.
|Lap 6 Attack by Team Mtn-Qhubeka pb Samsung|
|Lap 6 Peloton- everyone out of the saddle!|
|More Cowbell for the riders off the back!|
|Lap 7 - Storm getting closer|
|Wheelie! Wheelie! Wheelie!|
Hincapie Racing Team wins unofficial competition by riding entire street on one wheel
After the broom wagon went by on the final lap, we walked back to the finish to watch the podium. After the Stage 5 podium, the storm was almost upon us, so we ran to the truck and got in just as the winds and rain arrived. Again, this is about the same time the truss blew over which dampened all the awesome before it. I know many of the Tour of Utah staff, media, and others that would have been near the truss and I've been anxiously refreshing social media all evening to hear news that everyone has arrived to their hotels safely. If the news reports are correct, one person was hospitalized and another injured.
|Stage 5 Podium as Storm Arrives|
|Storm over the State Capitol as we drove away|
There is rain in the forecast for tomorrow, so we aren't sure where our Tour of Utah Stage 6 adventure will unfold. I'm sure wherever we end up, it will be fantastic. Follow my twitter feed @GiroJenny for more pictures and my comments during the race.