Filed by Jamie Poole
I'm a recent fan of pro cycling. Last year I taped the Tour de France for a friend of mine who doesn't have cable and watched quite a bit of it in the process. I fell in love with Floyd Landis on the controversial Stage 17. I guess it's not too surprising that I've connected with this sports since I'm a huge NASCAR fan.
So I was excited about this year's Tour de Georgia, the first time I could see a cycling race live. I was upset because I had to work and the race was just two streets over from our building.
But my boss let me go to the race, since it was close to the building -- and as long as I made deadline.
I used the Tour de Georgia tracker on the Internet to keep up with the riders so I could know when to leave the office and not get behind on my work. When I saw the leader pack coming off Lookout Mountain, I headed to Broad Street. I got there right in time to see the leader pack race by and stayed for a few other riders. I went back to the office because I know there was a big gap between the leaders and the peloton after watching the tracker. I worked for awhile and again when I saw the riders come off Lookout Mountain, I headed back to my spot on Broad Street. It was more thrilling watching the peloton race by with the many team cars following than watching the one or two riders.
I enjoyed walking down a busy Market Street as the finished riders and team cars headed back toward the Choo-Choo. I felt metropolitan for once, like Chattanooga's been put on the map. Riders from around the world were here exploring our big-small town.
The scene around the finish line was fun. There were merchandise tents of the sponsors and people doing X-game style bike stunts. I had to pick up a T-shirt to remember my experience. There were families riding their bikes and the competitors were buying T-shirts, too.
I could hear the people walking past me talk about going to the time trials the next day, others complaining about the traffic and a father asking his son if he enjoyed the race. I think Chattanooga can handle a day of road detours to be a part of global sport. We should feel honored for the inconvenience.
I plan to share my wonderful experience with my nephew at the time trails today.
E-mail Jamie Poole at firstname.lastname@example.org