Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tom Danielson Ride Wrap Up

We lucked out with some nice weather, the temperature was in the low to mid 60s. It was windy but hey you can't have everything. We waited at the East Lyme high school for the arrival of Tom so the ride could begin, he was a wee bit late.
A small portion of the rides participants waiting for the ride to start
He finally arrived in a limo with a police escort

Tom, his wife Stephanie and son Steven
Tom was greeted by his childhood neighbor before the ride. Photo taken by Abigail Pheiffer/The Day
Tom talks to Grace Vandal from Mystic, CT. while waiting for the ride to start.  Photo taken by Abigail Pheiffer/The Day

Approximately 270 riders started the ride leaving the high school in a giant peleton. We had a police escort which blocked off the busy intersection at Flanders four corners. Tom Danielson and all the locals who have ridden on the Post road, including myself were excited to have the whole road to ourselves. Naturally as the ride progressed the peleton thinned out. By Mile Creek Rd I found myself riding in a group of 3, I never said I was fast.

The ride split at Ashlawn Farm. Those riding the 25 mile route went to the left down Town Woods Rd., those riding the 50 mile route continued on Bill Hill Rd, past Ashlawn Farm just to the right of this picture.
The farmer's market was going strong at Ashlawn Farm

Tom at the presentation in the auditorium where he 
once watched others as a high school student

At 4:00 PM there was a presentation given in the high school auditorium. The presentation consisted of a short video about Tom Danielson's career, then Tom talked for a bit, followed by a Q&A session and ending with autographs and pictures.
 During the presentation he spoke about his 9th place finish in this years Tour de France, his first time ever riding in the TDF. He told us how the roads are really narrow and bumpy in France, and the roads we cycled on today were much better than most of the roads on the TDF. He was asked about the impact of the cheering fan's along the roads in the mountains. He confirmed that they sometimes did pose a danger to the riders but mostly they encouraged you to go as hard as you can. It was the first time his ears ever hurt from the cheering. He is stoked to get to the TDF this year and try to improve on his 9th place finish.

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