This Marshal’s Eyes, Stage 5

by Rick Madden

TT day in Solvang…this one will be the tell-tale for Levi.

My roomie David and I had the windows wide open in the overheated hotel all night, the the rain kept on coming. When I woke up this morning, I dressed in my rain gear prepping for a wet day. As we drove south from SLO toward Solvang, the skies brightened up some…a good sign for everyone. The winds were light and everything appeared to be looking up.

Solvang was a madhouse…they really go out for this event and the crowds were thick. We procured our supplies for the day (we get liquids, box lunches and fresh batteries for race radio) and headed out to our drops, where we would spend the day.

The rider count is down to about 105 riders now, so we aren’t going to be out here too long. At 11:15 an amateur TT started…although everyone was probably moving at a good clip, they seemed to be going in slow motion compared to the pros. I saw Big George warming up…he really cut his hair short!

One of the things I like to do before going on the course is wander through the team car area. Having the credentials helps with chatting up with the riders and crews…they know we are are out there to help them and show their appreciation by giving us a little respect. Not that they would not normally…I find most of them to be very humble and friendly, at least when they are not under pressure. The other day I spent a few minutes chatting it up with Teddy King of Bissell, who rides with some friends in Rochester, NY.

The TT cranked along with me at a right hand corner signaling to the riders and the motors leading them out…things didn’t get too exciting until the final 10…David Millar was coming by fast, but Levi was blasting away at the competition again. I gotta say, the little guy is tough. He dusted the others and took the stage.

Probably the highlight of the day was when our van picked up a couple of photographers that were hitching a ride…we got to spend about 30 minutes winding through the streets with none other than Graham Watson, pic taker extraordinaire. Very cool.

I also got to spend some time with the ACTC Vagabond, Jerry. He was dressed in street clothes and driving a car! He is doing well and headed north for awhile.

Tomorrow is Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita…you’ll hear from me then!


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