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On the day of our Prologue in Sacramento, someone reflected aloud, “I can’t wait to see the pros ride that.” Those words, or at least that sentiment, were a constant for our team.
It took everything we had to survive our tour of California. We rode with grace and grit. We took to the tour some style, and of course, our curiosity and penchant for story. But to be sure, we also took all the muscle and lung we had, and we just barely had enough. We are not pros, this isn’t what we do for a living—in fact, most of us had never put more than a few days of anywhere close to this sort of mileage together. We weren’t at any point deluded about how fast we were, we knew that even under the best of circumstances our times would be nothing less than anemic in comparison to the pros. In fact, this was part of the reason to ride it, to do our best and relish in the results.
As we watched the Amgen Tour of California unfold this past week on the small television in the corner of our Portland office, our respect and awe only deepen when we consider just how strong and how fast professional cyclists are. More than ever before, we have a first-hand appreciation for the toll that the miles, the logistics and the elements have on the body and the mind. Fact is, though we set out to ride each stage mile-for-mile, we came up short a few days due to the lack of daylight. And while we faced some inclement weather in the middle of our tour, it was nothing like the biblical rains the pros experienced during stages 1 and 2. We didn’t face crashes, we didn’t suffer any significant injuries, nor did our tactics ever come in question. Mostly because our strategy was simple: Ride as hard as we could, enjoy the journey, scenery and people along the way, and do it with all the style we could muster.