Big-name riders from Rock Racing, Chipotle, Rabobank, Toyota and Health Net were in Estes Park yesterday on the Sunday group ride. Tyler Hamilton and Tom Danielson are two of the names you might recognize.
Before I launch right into the adoring-cycling-fans photo, let me begin by saying the ride today was to bag our monthly Estes ride. I've mentioned this monthly goal in past blogs, and I can tell you that today's weather was better than any of our other December Estes rides in past years.
We started with ten people from my doorstep. Scott Ellis, Steve Douglas, Todd Singiser, Bill Frielingsdorf, Bruce Runnels, Ron Kennedy, Peter Stackhouse and Dave McClure. It was one of those rides filled with flats. There were four flats on the way up, Todd and Peter had two each. Ron turned around early due to family commitments, Peter and Dave turned around at the top of the Glen Haven switchbacks...would they regret it?
The remaining members of the group arrived at Estes later than normal, by about an hour-and-a-half. Not only due to flats, but we were riding at a winter-out-of-shape pace. After a leisurely lunch, we were getting ready to head back down when a "that's no amateur" rider walked in the door. More followed.
Steve, his shy self, walks right up to Tyler Hamilton and says, "Hey you look a lot like that Hamilton guy" and that opened up the conversation. Turns out several of us know mutual people.
The photo below was taken at our favorite haunt, the Notchtop Cafe in Estes Park. Blog readers, please check me on this - left to right: Tyler Hamilton, Scott, Steve, Heath Blackgrove, Todd, Bill, Gale, Tom Danielson, TeJay van Garderen (Thanks Steve), Bruce Runnels, Matt Cooke and Chris Baldwin took the photo (much to my dislike - I would have rather had him IN the photo). Anyway, thanks Chris.
The last time I saw Tyler was at the 2004 Olympic Games. The TT course was held just outside the city where the triathlon was held so a few of us walked up there to watch them warm-up and ride some of the course. The rest of the guys I have not met in person.
These guys were very friendly and approachable. How many professional athletes do you know are completely approachable (sans the triathletes, of course)?
Though not on my Sunday ride, they were out for a Sunday ride. I'm happy we were delayed on our trip up and got a chance to talk to them awhile.
Just how cool is that?