Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Big weekend plans

It started as an idea planted in my head a mere four days ago (thanks Mike!) - the Tour of California is coming up, you're unemployed and free to travel, and California isn't that far away...

That in combination with hearing of recruiters at the finish line of stage 2 got me at least considering the possibility of finding my way down there.

Talking with Joey the other day really solidified the idea, and I decided I wanted to go.

I set about looking for transportation options, but after no rideshare options appeared and train/greyhound options took the better part of a day each way for absurd prices upwards of $200, I was about ready to write it off. Until I checked airline prices, that is. Kayak.com is a great resource, just so you know. Round-trip flight to Oakland for $170 with an hour and a half travel time. Now we're talking.

That price sounded just about right, and it sounded even better after I calculated my tax refund (read: not being claimed by anyone else as a dependent makes a HUGE difference when you don't make much money). I booked the flight leaving early on the 15th and returning late on the 17th and will be crashing on Joey's very familiar couch.

So then I set about viewing options... and the best I came up with was hopping the BART to the Daly City stop and walking a couple miles to the beachfront highway the race goes by.

It's a decent viewing spot with a slight grade that would be considered a hill if it weren't for the fact that we're talking about professional cyclists. 3% won't be enough to slow them down. I decided I really wouldn't be doing myself justice.

I started looking into car rental options, but quickly became frustrated as renting a car while until age 25 is far too expensive. Then I found another option: rent-a-wreck. Not a nice rental car by any means, but cheap, and only a $5/day under 25 charge. As long as it can manage to drive 150 miles or so, we're good.

So now I'm in the process of planning my viewpoints during the race. I think I'm going to try to make two different stops - one at approximately mile 52 at the top of the biggest climb of the day, and then head to the finish line in Santa Cruz. Now I just need to double-check road closures and where to find parking.

And of course, I'm bringing my camera. I need to get some practice getting clear shots of fast-moving objects in the next week. And as much as I'd like to be able to shoot in RAW, I think I'm going to have to go back to Jpeg for the race due to the massive number of pictures I'll be taking within only a minute or two. The buffer just can't handle more than 6-7 RAW+Jpeg shots in a 15 second period. I'll likely be taking upwards of 100 in a two-minute period. I'll just need to make sure I've got the camera set perfectly before the race gets there. Let's hope there's a break off the front up the hill.

Here's a link to the full course profile

Exciting times. More to come!

1 comment:

  1. weird, I understand some of what you are talking about with the camera.