The Tour of California is amazing. In just four years it has become maybe the 5th or 6th most prominent cycling tour event in the world. It's not a grand tour yet, but it's a seriously legit international tour and it's got upswing momentum. The list of participating teams and riders this year just blows me away.
The production is immense. It's a huge rolling show that moves from city to city for nine days. In terms of the number of people that watch (1.6 million last year), it's the biggest sporting event in the United States. And yet it's way cool that as a fan, you can still get so close, and for free. We were 2 feet away from Lance and other cycling rock stars as they made their way from the team buses to the start house in Sacramento. Today, we were at the start line watching the entire field right in front of our faces. It helps that cycling is a sport that requires a lot of space, which means that you can spread huge crouds over a large area. I hope that the sport in this country can maintain that intimacy. People I know that are fans of NASCAR tell me that they have a great connection between fans and drivers and I know now that cycling has the same thing.
Words can't really do it justice, but here's a couple of videos.