Tuesday, September 11, 2007

day 1, Kansas Rock City

hey people:
the short: ivan dominguez rocked out of the peloton to take a sprint finish, after 6 riders who had a 6 minute break got caught with 6 miles to go.

the day started off right, sliding into a breakfast at Le Peep with 12 other mavic-ites. the holmes who took our order got it all in his head... i'm talkin about guys ordering everything from double espressos to eggs over medium, subbing out sausage links for bacon, and going easy on the smother for a breakfast burrito. i'm giving this guy some props... he's takin orders and nodding slowly, while repeating the order under his breath and taking a mental snapshot of each customer's face. odd, but effective. i rocked it with a special known as the 18wheeler. choice.

we transfer to the start in a trendy section of kansas city. yes, you skeptics, there is a trendy section. think--cherry creek, but with steakhouses and bbq restaurants instead of organic orbit and whole foods. so we hit the scene with about an hour and a half to start, and announcer Dave Towle is going ape on the podium, talking all about how the tour will go down. Some of us head to the expo area to check it out, and the toyota united models are looking choice. the budweiser clydesdales are in gigantic pens. there is a vw beetle with a whale tale and seaworld emblazoned on the side. The spectacle is in full swing.
the call-ups go down, alberto contador gets a big fanfare. Levi signs a few autographs and we take a moment of silence to remember 9/11. Then, it's go time-- today I am jumping off the back of Moto2, which means i'm the one changing flats and getting with the mechanicals. Also, speaking of Levi, i think we counted two bike changes today, putting him well back of the peloton and deep in the caravan. Alberto and Popovych were tasked with pulling him back to the field. How about that for some domestique action?
the start of the race is cool, we roll out of central KC, and it looks like a normal city. as we leave town we roll out through some chill countryside and there are enough little hills to keep things interesting. it seems like everyone has a picnic set up in their front lawn... before you know it we drop in on six guys with a 2 minute lead, and they quickly increase that to 5 minutes. So, all of the team cars come up, and mavic is there for window-dressing. i sit back and enjoy the sunshine, catching site of everything from vintage ford tractors to high-school cheerleaders along the side of the road.

as we roll back into KC, we head up some nice treelined boulevards. it's all milk and honey here, as made apparent by the large palatial estates and abundant debutantes sipping wine along the route. the race comes all back together, and we push forward out of the break. the finishing circuits in town are wide open and smooth, and there is an uneventful (in terms of support) finish.
so, everyone keeps talking about how flat this race is, and how boring this tour is going to be. but lemme throw this around. belgium is flat, for the most part, and there is a sick cycling scene there. ponder that for a moment. there is nothing saying that missouri and kansas cannot be rad places to ride bikes. i mean, most of belgium and northern france is as flat as a pancake, and everyone raves about how legendary the courses are. so, all i am saying here is that i'm gonna keep an open mind about all this.

alright, so KC is supposed to be the home of some world-renowned steakhouses. well, we tested that theory tonight. we hit up jess and jims steakhouse. check out their website to order some tasty beef, delivered cold and fresh to your door. this place is the real deal, where your steak is delivered sizzling hot on some sort of aluminum plate, and the only thing on that plate is a steak and a teak-handled steak knife. the twice-baked potatoe is what they are famous for, and it did not dissapoint, loaded with butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese, and chives. take that, arteries.
of note, the foyer of this fine establishment had a minature bull, fit for riding. while it was not mechanical in any way, i did get my urban cowboy on after a few drinks at the bar.

after the steakhouse it was a short drive back to the hotel and then a nice evening stroll over to the applebees for cocktail hour. the fine waitress, michelle, let us know that applebees and IHOP are merging, and the corporate brass had visited earlier that day. impressive! so, she had her game face on and was cracking tops on rolling rock with a pro ferver. it's nice to see the consolidation happening, and she was looking forward to working with the new infrastructure. who knows, maybe some sort of Jack daniels infused strawberry waffle will be coming to a appleHOP near you.

alright, so we have a transfer to some other town in missouri tomorrow. Clinton, is that it? the big news is that we end up in Branson tomorrow night. i can't wait. Hector, our main truck-drivin, coffee-swillin, slider-eatin home-boy will be taking the big rig straight to Branson tomorrow morning, and with any luck we will have wayne newton tickets by the time we arrive. i got my seat assignments for tomorrow, and i am driving moto1, which means i am in the thick of the action all day tomorrow. stay tuned.


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