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Ride like the Pros: Tour of California 2017

Post by Yuri Hauswald, GU Community Development Manager

You can’t field grounders with your buddies at AT&T Park hours before the Giants take the diamond. Neither can you play a game of touch football in Oakland Alameda Coliseum before the Raiders come storming onto the field. And there’s no way in hell you’re going to shoot a quick round or two in Oracle Arena before Steph Curry and the Warriors take the court. You know what you can do, though?! You and your friends can saddle up, just hours ahead of your favorite spandex warriors, and ride the exact same roads that some of the world’s fastest cyclists do. You can, in some cases, cross over the very same finish line, too. There are few sports like cycling where you can actually experience what your heroes, or villains, do.

Next week I will be riding the whole (5 of 7 stages actually for me, which is closer to 500 total miles) Amgen Tour of California with a group of five riders, three of whom I know, and one I don’t, but given that we’ll be riding nearly 700 miles in eight stages, there’s plenty of bike time to get to know each other. The five of us will depart three hours ahead of the pro peloton, riding as much of their course as possible before packing up and transferring to the next host city. Other than having a sag vehicle, we are on our own to beat the pros to the finish, which, with a three hour head start, might not sound too difficult, but believe me, it is. Having ridden the entire ToC before, I can confidently say that we were nearly caught more than once last year, which means that our crew of aging athletes, or #fauxpros, will be pushing our physical limits on a daily basis to avoid being swept off course.

Industry friends, journalists and junior devo team members will be joining us on different stages, offsetting the workload with fresh legs and giving us new wheels to follow, and hopefully providing us with a shot of adrenalin. For me personally, this is my final training prep, my last big block, maybe too big, for the Dirty Kanza. It’s a bit of a hail Mary training technique, but it’s worked for me the past two years. That said, there’s always the risk that riding the Tour of California will burn every match in my book, which will leave me completely empty come race day two weeks later. I’m really hoping that’s not the case.

Be sure to check back in for periodic updates and live tracker links from Wahoo Fitness. Follow our journey south on Instagram and Twitter, on both my personal and on Peloton Magazine’s. Cheer for us if you see us come riding by you. But, most of all, take faith that our sport allows us to play on the same fields as our heroes and, for maybe a very brief moment, be just a little bit like them.