About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tour de Suisse - Individual Time Trial

Brandon and I drove to Lugano Switzerland today, about a 1 1/2 hour drive from our house.  This was our last chance to see a pro cycling race in person while in Europe.  At least until we return in a couple years to follow the Tour de France for a week.

We arrived in Lugano around 1pm, found parking and walked through the vendor village at the finish line area.

Brandon takes a self portrait - photo by Brandon

One of many statues along the lakefront - photo by Brandon

Focus Bicycles had a bicycle obstacle course setup for kids to try out.  Brandon went for it.  One practice run, then one timed run.  

Brandon gets fitted with a helmet.

Ready to ride!

Coming down the homestretch, he had to weave through the cones.  

This is Brandon's second run which was timed.  

Brandon's time:  34.80 sec.  

We continued to head towards the team bus staging area.  On the way we passed the line of 'parade' vehicles that pass along the route before each days race, many of them handing out free stuff like drinks, hats, flags, banners, candy, water, and more.  

The main sponsor of the race is Wurth, a tool and hardware company.

In the staging area we were able to wander around the team buses and see the riders warm up.

Team Astana time trial bikes

Brandon managed to get one autograph added to the collection on his jersey.  We have no idea who he is though.

HTC rider warming up.  

Another one of the parade vehicles.  The probably handed out jerky samples.  

The long line of support motorcycles waiting to go.

Looking down toward the start line.  Today was an individual time trial - individual riders racing against the clock on a 7.2 km course (about 4.3 miles).  Once the first rider was off, we started walking the course, with the intent of making it all the way around by the time the final rider (169 total) make it.  

The first rider of the day.

This was an interesting billboard we saw all over town.  

Lago di Lugano.

Beginning of a 3 km climb

Brandon the super fan!

Fabian Cancellara, the favorite Swiss cyclist who has one the time trial the last 4 times.  

First the three switchbacks

It was a beautiful day and a nice view from up high

Our favorite team, The Shack

Another switchback

Cyclist coming up the road below

It was a party atmosphere all along the course.  We even saw one family sitting on a rooftop, and as we walked by they helped grandma up the ladder to join them.  

Once over the top the cyclists came screaming down the other side, hitting speeds of 40 - 50 mph.  

At the bottom of the hill was a 180 degree turn.  The smell of brakes was in the air from all the team cars, and you could hear the tires squeal as they turned this corner.  

Heading back into downtown, many fans had painted on the roads.  

You could always tell when a 'top' rider was coming by - he was followed by a motorcycle with a cameraman.  

One of our favorite cyclist, Levi Leipheimer of Team Radioshack.  He ended up taking 9th place overall.  

Looking across the lake at the mountain we just walked up, just about to the top of the spot where the houses stop and trees start.  I think we ended up walking about 7 miles total today.  It was fun!! I love sharing a passion for this sport with Brandon.  Although we won't be able to see many pro races in the US, we do plan on going to many races in Oregon when we return, and hopefully next year we can go see the Tour of California in May or the US Pro Tour in Colorado in August.  And someday, in the not to distant future, we want to head back to France, bring out bikes, rent a van and follow the Tour de France for a week or two.  

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