I'm going to take the day off on Friday, May 21st and head up into the mountains to catch the end of Stage 6 of the Tour Of California. Stage 6 starts in Pasadena and ends 135 miles and 12,000 vertical feet later in the mountain village of Big Bear. I'm taking Ian, it will be cool father son trip. Part of me is thinking it would be fun to head up Thursday, get a cheap motel, and see how that goes. I've never traveled alone with Ian over night. It's very appealing on the one hand, but on the other......well moms are pretty good at setting issues straight.
So we'll see.
I'd rather watch the peleton go by somewhere earlier in the race, maybe at 100 miles when they are well into the mountain climbs. But the truth is, I have no idea how to do this. I don't know when or how they close the roads for one. For another, what do you do after 200 bikes whiz by - go home? This seems a little anti-climactic.
Thankfully, there are options. AEG, who is a live event production and marketing company, has been working hard to help guys like me solve this dilemma. I love this stuff:
Tour Of California VIP Packages
For $3,000 I can follow the peleton in a pace car. Let me do the math via an excel formula: SUM((5 hours in a car * staring at the rider's backsides) - $3000)/.50) = not worth it. The .50 represents the assumption that the entire package is only half as cool as they suggest it is.
For $500 I can dine with the pros. The problem with this is that I respect these guys too much to have to have them deal with me after a day of riding. Plus what do I talk about? A few months ago, I stood in line to get Craig Alexander's autograph, and during the minute or so we spoke, I said everything I could think of that wasn't a question about triathlon. I think he may have appreciated that. I don't care how hardcore of an athlete he is, he still has a favorite TV show or flavor of ice cream. After all, they are human.
But God bless these cyclists. If this was Major League Baseball, $500 would get you a fast food lunch with some dude playing in the rookie league. So on the other hand I appreciate a mindset in sports that still allows for connection with the fans. But I'm happy to leave that connection to other fans beside me.
There are a few other package options as well. For $1350 you can suck wind by having a go at the Los Angeles time trial stage. Just remember you need to provide your own bike. Other packages are peppered with the word "exclusive". However, they are always quick to point out than in the case when you actually get something, like a shirt, you only get one.
I wonder who gets the money?
So we'll drive up there as a commoner but remain cash flush. If anyone has ever gone to a stage race and has some spectator tips, let me know.