#90- Spectating the AMGEN

As I began writing this, I realized I had no idea what AMGEN stood for, if it needed to be in all caps or what.  I assumed it was American something. I also assumed it was a crucial part of the name of the race.  All of which, I Discovered, was incorrect. So here’s some trivia for you:

Amgen, is the sponsoring company of the Tour of California (or, as we fancy people like to call it, “Tour de California”). It’s a biotech company in Thousand Oaks and the name ACTUALLY stands for Applied Molecular Genetics. So, it’s AMGen. But, like the Raiders, it doesn’t matter if it’s LA or Oakland, it’s just the Raiders…. right? Same with Tour de California. These past years it’s AMGen sponsoring, who knows… maybe next year it will be the Gatorade Tour de California.

Moving on. A few years ago I called up my mother, who happened to be hanging out in Davis at the very moment the Tour was doing a few loops through downtown.  Those of you who know my mother know how easily excited she gets so while on the phone she began gushing about how very fun and cool and spectacular the whole thing was.  Quick to dismiss her as I typically am, I later was on the phone with Blake who ALSO happened to be there cause his Paramedic work made him hang out for the day in Davis and he said it was cool as well. So of course, I became jealous.

Now, I’m not sure if cycling around California is a recent phenomenon, like running through mud is, but having lived for the past several years in Folsom and fighting cyclists for parts of the running trail or back roads and then having moved to the Coast to find I’m fighting for the EXACT SAME THING on our own back country road everyday, it made me think that maybe there is something to this cycling stuff. So, I put #90 on my list.

I learned that this would be a relatively easy task at hand- Shortly after putting it on my list I found out that the Tour would be passing right through Half Moon Bay on Highway One.  PERFECT!  When I got to my chosen viewing point, there was a certain buzz in the air. Turned out to be a small airplane pulling an advertisement banner.  People were all gathered up on street corners, a few elementary classes were out with their signs and bells, and cops on motorcycles were passing by in clusters every few seconds.  Anticipation!

I thought this comparable to a marathon… there’d be the front runners, the middle pack and some stragglers.  Ehhhhhhhhhhh……. no.  There was a front pack of about …6? Cyclists who were 2 minutes ahead of everyone else.  And Everyone else, while amazing to see, came to pass by in a total of 8 seconds. Followed by all their Team cars, a few cops and ambulances.

And that was it.  I probably waited for close to an hour to see about 3 minutes of excitement.

But I was warned that this would likely be the case.  Actually watching the news the night before I realized maybe I was doing this wrong-  The Tour Started in Santa Rosa, where there was an entire festival and the Cyclists did several loops around THAT town before heading off to start the Race.  That’s probably where I should have been if I wanted to get in on all the excitement.  But, that’s ok.  I’m really not a big enough fan (yet) to make that kind of effort. But maybe if I’m lucky HMB will host the start one of these years….

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