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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tour of PA RECAP

Thank you to all that have sent your messages, emails, posts about the death of my cat. I appreciate all of them!

So a week ago yesterday, I got home from the Tour of PA week, which was just an awesome experience. We arrived in Philadelphia on June 23, slept at a Crown Plaza, and went to the Memorial Park in Philadelphia on the 24th for the Prologue Time Trial and the Stage 1 Criterium. Both were fun, and we really didn't have to do much, just put up a few signs, take down a few signs, and do a number of random stuff. I got to watch most of the Criterium which was fun, and Kyle and I did watch some of the Time trials prior to that.

Then we headed to Downington and slept at a Holiday Inn, which was pretty nice. The next day we arrived to the start line of the Stage 2 road race, which ended in Carlisle. I was part of the Sign PickUp Crew as I called it. Basically we followed the race and picked up all of the signs along the way, such as the 50 KM To Go, 30 KM To Go, KOM and Sprint signs, etc. Mike and I were in charge of picking the signs up while Victor drove the truck. When we ended up in Carlisle, we transported stuff from one truck to the other as needed, helped teams unload their stuff from the Pitt Ohio trucks, and then headed to another Holiday Inn we were staying at for the next night.

Stage 3, Camp Hill to Bedford, this was just a little more than 100 miles long with 2 KOMs, 2 Sprints and 2 Feed Zones. Stage 4 went from Bedford to Latrobe, which I believe was a short day. Stage 5 was about 90-some miles, but the last 10-15 miles was ended with 3 circuits. That one went from Ligonier, through Latrobe where we finished the day before, and ended up in Pittsburgh. This was my first time in Pittsburgh. Then another criterium in Pittsburg, 50 miles as originally scheduled...

We had a tornado warning (IN PITTSBURGH?!) so the race was halted after a few races, and because it was being televised on Versus, they needed to make sure the race would continue eventually and end within the time alloted. So, for every 3 minutes the race was halted, the race officials dropped one lap. By the time the race was restarted, it was down to 18 laps, so about 10 laps were "canceled". Then the officials said that this criterium would not be counted for the whole tour, but would only count for itself. So in another sense, the race, sprint, and mountain leaders, and best young rider were all determined after the 5th stage. I thought that was stupid, but whatever. The race went on with 18 laps to go and the field split up immediately since there were a lot of riders not riding to race, but riding because they felt they needed to because of the sponsors and all with the TV being involved. I found out later when talking to some of the riders that NO ONE wanted to race anymore, they only did because it was being televised and to satisfy the sponsors. Riders were being dropped within the last 8 or so laps when they would fall back too far, and eventually it was down to, I would say, 20 or 30 riders in the main field. It came down to a sprint finish (by now the sun did stop by and dry up the road a bit) and the US National Criterium Champ, Daniel Holloway, won the criterium.

So that's my recap. I had a lot of fun and, being that I am a sport management major, I realized that THIS is the kind of stuff I want to do. Work for Pro Cycling Tour or other similar organizations and help with races, teams, etc. I hope to do an internship with Pro Cycling Tour, which has a headquarter within 2 hours of my hometown, so an internship with them is definitely not impossible for me! My supervisor, who "answers" to these guys for these races (he also helped with the Triple Crown that my friend raced in) and gave me the name, number and emails for the contact person, so I definitely have my foot in the door!

Anyways, Thank you for reading, and sorry it took so long to actually make this post. I hope to have more opportunities to do these kind of stuff, especially if I can get an internship!

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