If there can be a perfect ending to a Summer, I would have to say this was it. The four day Green Mountain Stage Race was on full display Aug 29 to Sept 1st, with riders from around the world competing, and Vermont bringing its best skies and colors as if to acknowledge their efforts. The GMSR is billed as the largest Pro / Am road stage race east of the Mississippi, and it is an amazingly exciting sporting event.
I was fortunate to be selected as a volunteer driver for a race judge, which meant I would have one of the best seats in the house following the peloton. I was assigned the Masters 40+ wave on Saturday, so I headed out early to catch some of the action before go-time. On my way driving down I89 South, the skies were unreal – so much so I had to laugh with joy at the sheer beauty! Round dotted clouds unique in their shape filled the sky. At that moment, I knew I was in for something special. I just didn’t realize how special.
Saturday’s stage called The Bridges Circuit Race rolled out of Waterbury. It was a semi-carnival sort of experience.
Here’s Men’s 2 starting out:
After this, the wave I followed – Masters 40+ – rode out, so no more pics this day. But I can tell you, riding behind the peloton was like watching a flock of birds in an ever-changing formation, not to mention witnessing the power these guys were putting out. Every now and then, you would see one guy bow his head, and you knew, he was done. Other times, you would see a team help pull their rider forward. Strategy, drama, competition – it all came to life out there for over 2 hours, even though to me it felt like only 15 minutes. Of course, I was driving – I am sure it felt longer to the racers.
On Monday, the whole family went to Burlington to watch the criterium. If you really want to experience first-hand the kind of speed and power bikers put out there, go to a crit! When those guys came tearing through the turn, it made my daughters mouth fall open. Of course, it wasn’t long before she wanted ice cream, but, hey, at least it held her attention for a little while.
Pictures are a poor substitute for the actual experience, but hopefully you can get a feel for the speed these guys put out with this pic:
Here is the peloton rounding a corner:
My son mentioned he loved the “whoosh” sound they made as they flew by, and the mechanical chatter as they shifted coming out of the corner about to head up hill. Even my wife was cheering for these racers, although I think it was the pace car that really sold her on bike racing.
Yep, perfect ending to a great summer! What will the Fall bring? Can’t wait to see!