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lucky enough
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some shots from yesterday. The biggest crowd at a race in the US!?!

The breakaway with Jens going up Boulder Canyon

BMC leading the peloton

winner Rory Sutherland

Jens in third

Levi in fourth - now the overall leader

Hincapie and Taylor Phinney cruising in

Heading down at the party switchback. Had to some to a complete halt

crowd flowing down Flagstaff
 

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Great Pics!

Is there a place to watch the stage (or the 2 hour recap) online? I only see the 5 min highlights on the pro cycling challenge website and youtube.
 

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This was one of the first bike races I have ever watched on TV so I am not sure about one thing. On the Flagstaff finish there were tons of people on the road, sometimes looking like they were getting in the way of the riders, or causing the rider to slow down. Is that spectator behavior normal, and is it acceptable by the riders?
 

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This was one of the first bike races I have ever watched on TV so I am not sure about one thing. On the Flagstaff finish there were tons of people on the road, sometimes looking like they were getting in the way of the riders, or causing the rider to slow down. Is that spectator behavior normal, and is it acceptable by the riders?
The big climbs on all the big pro tour races are usually a scrum of fans. Occasionally a fan interferes with a rider and it's not unheard of for a rider to get knocked off his bike. (Armstrong famously got knocked over on a big climb during the tour when he hooked his handlebars on a fans mussett bag)

Obviously the riders don't want their race to be hindered. I think they like the fans, but wish and hope they'll cheer while giving respectful space. It's the runners that worry me, especially when they run in tight spaces and/or are wearing or carrying anything they could trip on or could get caught up in a riders bike.
 

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Here are a couple of photos from the Tour de France. Its common to have insane crowds on the major passes envelop the riders as they pass. This year I watched the USPCC atop Independence Pass, Hoosier Pass, and up on Flagstaff on one of the last switch backs. Its typically a party atmosphere with people dressing up, some preparing to run along side the riders.

If you enjoy and appreciate road bicycle races and the strategies involved its a fun process; investigating the route and figuring out where the attacks may occur. Race day is an all day event which culminates in brief intense mayhem when the riders pass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The big climbs on all the big pro tour races are usually a scrum of fans. Occasionally a fan interferes with a rider and it's not unheard of for a rider to get knocked off his bike.
And then there was the guy in the Tour several years ago that jumped into the middle of the road to take a picture of the leader and didn't realize how fast the riders could ride uphill. The rider who was off the front hit the guy before he could get out of the way. The rider was knocked down and spectators helped him back up. Obviously he lost some time there and the peloton gained on him. Idiot tourists!:skep:
 

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If you are talking about the top of Swan Mountain last year, that was my father who helped the rider back up. There are two main situations which may cause problems. One is if you look up hill after a rider or group of riders pass. You then might be surprised by other riders or vehicles approaching when you suddenly look back down road. The other is when people try to take photos in the crowd. The camera either constricts your view or confines your attention which causes problems. If fans avoid those scenarios they can more safely experience the intensity of the crowd without causing problems.
 

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That's right, blame it on the guy with the camera :D I can tell you I had to have chameleon eyes yesterday on that corner. You'd see a rider coming, sort of set up and BLAM he was there and gone. That's why the close in shot of that guy is out of focus, no time to focus!

At that same corner I was hiding behind a lamp post in case the guy cut the corner too sharp. Later, some doofus had his beater bike leaning against the same lamp post. It was sliding ever so slowly out into traffic. The next rider just barely missed it. The doof then slowly ever so slowly came to his senses and super clumsily attempted to get the bike out of the way as yet another rider almost hit it.

Later on 17th, somebody with those bat-looking plastic (?) noise makers (that you hit together) had one fly out of her hand in the breeze. It hit in the path of an oncoming rider. We all watched as it rolled to the center of the street (good) then it turned and rolled right back smack in the rider's path (bad). He saw it at the last milli-second and swerved around it without missing a beat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
If you are talking about the top of Swan Mountain last year, that was my father who helped the rider back up. .
No I'm talking about the Tour de France I think in 1999 on Alpe D'Huez.
I know what you mean about the camera limiting your view. In Boulder Canyon Saturday I was taking photos and the riders were passing by fine, but I looked up a saw a moto with photog bearing down on me - see the first pic above. Glad I looked up! :eekster:
 

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I was referring specifically to those situations where the crowd envelopes the riders, generally on steep sections of major climbs. From the looks of your photos, xcguy, they weren't taken in those types of situations. Those are some great photos.
 

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No I'm talking about the Tour de France I think in 1999 on Alpe D'Huez.
I know what you mean about the camera limiting your view. In Boulder Canyon Saturday I was taking photos and the riders were passing by fine, but I looked up a saw a moto with photog bearing down on me -- Glad I looked up! :eekster:
Yeah, you had to keep your senses about you. Normally a guy isn't straddling the curb while traffic whizzes by because usually there are cars parked there. On 17th, just standing on the curb meant cop cars and motorcycles were going by just a few feet away, fast. They were usually blaring their horns but you kinda got used to that.
 

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Thanks for the responses. Watching the race my wife was getting very flustered and upset by all the spectators "messing up" the race by running and seemingly interfering, but now we know that is the norm.

Those are some awesome photos btw. It was fun watching the race, maybe next year I'll get a chance to come into town.
 

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Last year on the top of Swan Mountain I saw Andy Schleck flash a smile as he entered the crowd. Later I read that he was impressed by the crowd and felt it was like Europe. My impression is that the continental pros are unaccustomed to the crowds but the international pros have grown used to it and even appreciate it so long as you don't slow them down.

When those riders pass on a steep climb its impressively fast and I have to believe that all the cheering helps them push even harder. Two days later I'm just now regaining my voice from Flagstaff.
 

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Wow, that crowd on the mountain is way bigger than the crowd in the city of Boulder. I think that's where I need to be next time.

Man what a great time!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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If you think you'd enjoy viewing the race in such a fashion when next year's stages are announced locate a couple major climbs you're interested in. Often steep sections just short of the summit of major climbs offer the chance to see an attack or counter attack. Plan on watching there. You'll want to arrive really early or camp over night if possible.

From what I've read the City of Boulder is pleased with how people behaved and the impact to Flagstaff and are stoked to do it again next year. I think next year Flagstaff is going to be even more huge which means we'll need to get bracelets immediately when they are available.
 

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Thanks for the responses. Watching the race my wife was getting very flustered and upset by all the spectators "messing up" the race by running and seemingly interfering, but now we know that is the norm.

Those are some awesome photos btw. It was fun watching the race, maybe next year I'll get a chance to come into town.
Well, the "norm" is kind of a tricky thing. It's a fine line between a big enthusiastic crowd having a good time in a party atmosphere cheering the riders without hindering the race and an unruly drunken mob behaving like idiots hoping to get on TV. It's the runners that worry me the most, especially the ones carrying flags or other sharp and /or unwieldy objects or dressed up in outfits with flowing capes or whatever. They're just one trip from ruining a guys race.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Holey Crap! :skep:



When I was riding up Flagstaff earlier in the day, the DJ already had his sound system rockin' and I was thinking:
This is Party Switchback. :cool
 
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