The Little Tour (of Elk Grove)

Yes, I will write up my trip report on “that other Tour” complete with lots of photos. I’ll finish this one first though…

Let me start with the Alexian Brother, who are the title sponsor of the Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove. They describe themselves as “a lay, apostolic Catholic Order whose Brothers, bound together by religious vows, dedicate themselves primarily to live in community and to participate in the ministry of healing in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church” and in Elk Grove that means some major medical centres. Big medical centres, with significant $$s. They have been the title sponsor for 6 years now and I imagine that will continue for years to come.

The Tour is a 3 day stage race, for the first time a UCI sanctioned race for the men and a full 3 stages for the women. It describes itself as having the biggest purse of any 3 day event in the States with over $150K (of which around 90% went to the men’s events…. something the Mayor promised to change for next year’s women’s event). The first stage is a time trial, followed by a criterium for the women and a long winding road race through the village for the men. The final stage was a criterium for both men and women. There are stage winners, overall points leaders, and top men’s team who get prize money so each day had something on offer. And on top of the professional events, there were amateur and charity events too… lots for them to organize. And the street party Fri. & Sat. evenings with live entertainment and fireworks.

For me, it meant spending the afternoon and early evening shooting, then processing images and creating galleries in the evenings while “listening” to the bands. When the fireworks happened, I’d call it a night and watch the crowds leave me to my private parking spot for the night. I had everything I needed right there, as long as I was ok with the port-a-potties (which got cleaned every morning before I would use them, so it was all good). I did need to run the engine some in order to get enough juice for the inverter to pump out 120V so I could charge up my equipment… I’m going to see what I can do to improve on my onboard power supply to avoid having to do that.

On the Sunday, after the final awards were handed out, I hopped into Babe and headed east for a couple of hours to make Monday’s drive a little shorter. I pulled into the rest stop just inside Michigan around 9pm (wait, make that 10PM since I lost an hour when I left Illinois) and repeated my photo-processing routine. I didn’t finish so I made a coffee in the morning and sat at a picnic table with my laptop finishing up. When I was done, I fired up Babe, got online using the mifi I have for the States, and filed the galleries as I started driving home.

That, plus around 10 hours of driving on the way back to TO and the story ends 🙂
It was an uneventful drive, Babe ran great, no problems at the border, and next up is Buses of The Corn (don’t let the name distract, it’s a fun VW bus event close to home). I’m looking forward to relaxing by a campfire!

So, here’s a gallery of a few photos from the race, I hope you like them. The main galleries are up on VeloNews and Canadian Cyclist. I have a small gallery up on Picasa which includes these images…

Gotta love the Jelly Belly kit…

Fast Freddy Rodriguez

Much of Elk Grove enjoys the event
International: American, Canadian, Aussie in this shot

The pace car for the men’s race, owned by the sponsor

A late storm made for a challenging finish

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