Tour of Missouri

September 22, 2008

Last Sunday, I was invited to watch the last stage (stage 7) of the Tour of Missouri from the Columbia tent – they sponsor George Hincapie’s team. I’m a huge fan, so this was a treat. As it turned out, not only did we meet up with the Columbia people, we all ended up in the VIP tent right at the start/finish line. As we entered the tent, we were handed goodie bags filled with all kinds of wonderful things, including a “Tour” wine glass … for the free wine in the tent!

We found a small round table close to the line and stood to watch the five laps of the race … of course, cheering and ringing our cow bells for the Columbia cycling team. Mark Cavendish (team Columbia) sprinted for the finish and was just edged out, but he managed to keep the green sprinter’s jersey with his overall time! Yeah, Mark! And Bernie Eisel (team Columbia) was awarded the red ‘most agressive rider’ jersey. So two of our guys ended up in jerseys. Woohoo.

After seven stages, here is how the win unfolded. Christian Vande Velde from team Garmin-Chipolte won the yellow jersey, with our guy, Micheal (Mic) Rogers in second, and Svein Tuft from team Symmetrics rounding out third. It was an exciting day, and I was so grateful to Columbia for inviting me to share it this way … (Thanks Barry!) but to my surprise, we weren’t done yet.

As we were heading back to our cars, we got invited to the team dinner. Well, I imagined a large room, lots of round tables that seat ten, and the “team” sitting at the front of the room on a stage, so that we would be with them, but not really. Not so – we walk into the restaurant and into the room. Tiny with intimate tables for four … in walks George Hincapie and he sits one table away. Then the rest of the guys wonder in and sprinkle themselves around the room. I spoke with the team Director and the mechanic throughout dinner, and then with each of the team members as I got their autographs. It was a relaxed atmospere, very comfortable though I still feel I dreamt the whole thing. A friend took pictures so I could remember this day forever, and prove to my husband, who was out of the country that I did indeed have dinner with the team!

What an experience! Who knew that the day would turn out this way? I’m still floating, can you tell? Have you experienced something spectacular? If so, I’d love for you to share … Things like this don’t happen every day.

Hugs – Christine   

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