I grabbed a burger, and a few zzz’s after the Sheryl/Lance concert last night. Then I got up at 2:30 this morning for the Tour of Hope arrival in Austin. It was scheduled for 3:45, and a small cheering section was there on the Capitol grounds. Not knowing quite where it was, I parked on the opposite side of the huge and magnificent Capitol Building.
So I slogged all my camera crap around to the other side, walking with a group of other folks in the morning darkness. However, when it was all over, I found myself heading solo back across the deserted Capitol Grounds – it was a little creepy. I started wondering just how fast I could run with 25 pounds of bulky camera equipment, and realized not at all… Of course, when I got to the darkest, most deserted corner, I saw some guy walking on the grass under some trees. I kept one eye open in the back of my head till I got in view of the police cars that guard each entrance. I was very happy to get back to my rental car.
The TOH team exchange was really cool to see. It is totally organized to the last detail, with an incredible support staff. It was awesome to see the bright headlights of the incoming riders, and also the red taillights of the outgoing team, lined up and waiting. The cheers were loud for both teams in the stillness of the early morning darkness. The minute the first team arrived, it was a tag relay, and off the others went, for their six-hour stint to Houston.
Camera flashes showed the sweat beads glistening on the foreheads of a couple of guys who had, I think, done the last pulls. Grins were both triumphant and relieved for the riders who now got to rest and clean up. Nevertheless, they spent a lot more time than I would expect, talking to reporters, friends and family - especially Austin’s own rider, Duke Browning. His fans wore yellow tee shirts with “Duke” on the back…
It was a great experience, well worth the getting up early… With this and the concert: Well worth the flight to Austin.