Yesterday I had the pleasure of riding in the SunPower/Webcor King of the Mountain Race up Sierra Road and then staying up at the top of the
climb until the pro racers had a summit finish for the fourth stage of the Amgen Tour of California.
Naturally, I use the word "pleasure" loosely--the climb itself, as those of you who have ridden it know, is rather painful for someone
like me who has been so busy working the last couple of months I'm lucky if I ride 50 miles a week. And did I mention it was raining? But
I had to get out there and support all of our members and friends who were riding. Besides, they gave me a VIP pass for the top, and how else was I going to get up there?
After greeting people at the bottom and warming up for 20 minutes, we were off at 9:30. About 32 minutes later, I reached the top, gasping for air and relieved that the finish was about 1/4 mile down the hill (they needed the very top for setting up the official Tour tents). Of
course, Carl Guardino from SVLG, Jorg Heinemann from SunPower, Andy Ball from Webcor, and Councilmember Liccardo from San Jose all beat me
up the hill by an embarrassing margin--but I was certainly not close to last up, either. (This is what happens when you hang out with bike racers--suddenly there is ambition to beat people up hills, how odd.)
After being cheered to the top (thanks Pete and Tricia!) we had a lovely lunch (thanks SVLG!) and then had an illustrious award ceremony. Carl Guardino had invited me to speak, which was very kind, and thus bike advocacy was discussed briefly at this fine racing event.
Lo and behold, during the ceremony, I also received a medal! Third place in the female CEO class, which makes me a Queen of the Mountain. (Just don't ask how many female CEOs were signed up to race.)
We spent about 3 hours after that hanging out at the top, waiting for the pros to hurry up and get there. Thank goodness for Patt Baenen and friends with the Webcor van--they really know how to do it! A beer keg, espresso maker, yummy home made pastries... wow, thanks Webcor!
Carl, Andy, and Jorg had the honor of presenting flowers to the winning racers, so before the race ended, they were paraded over to the stage where the awards would take place. Lucky for me, they let me tag along, so I had a front row seat at the finish line.
When Chris Horner took the lead on the climb up Sierra, it was quite a thrill! Some of you might remember two years ago when Chris spoke at
SVBC's annual dinner. He used to race for Webcor, so Andy was very excited when he crossed the finish line. After the awards, Andy and I
went to go chat with Chris in the press tent.
After that, a quick ride down the hill and off to the team dinner, where we were lectured by a racer-protector for bothering Andy Schleck
before he was finished eating. Andy didn't seem to mind, though. I was taking a photo of Rick Wallace (of KLA-Tencor) and Andy for him to
show his kids. At that point I realized that--like most of the pros--I was completely exhausted and it was time to go home for some sleep.