It was the talk of the peloton all week.
“Did you hear it’s supposed to be freezing up at Big Bear for the time trial?” “I heard it might be snowing” “Are we even going to be able to drive up there?”
It may have been mid-May in Southern California, but the forecast up at 2000 metre-high Big Bear was for freezing temperatures and maybe even snow. Then the organisers eventually made the right call and moved the Tour of California time trial to a Six Flags theme park in Santa Clarita.
After hanging out by the start booth, I hopped into the car with [feature writer and DS Tom] Southam to follow one of the Drapac riders. The course was as about exciting as one would expect from a last minute replacement: generic, forgettable, surrounded on all sides by corporate office parks and highways. Then with maybe 2km to go, the theme park came back into sight with its gigantic rollercoasters set against a dramatic storm sky. I turned my camera back on and took a few photographs of the lone rider making his way towards the metal skeletal structures in the distance. As we made the final right turn I was still looking through the viewfinder when I noticed the park entrance gates directly ahead. I had to do a double take and move the camera from my eye. Surely they wouldn’t have the riders aim for that narrow gate?
They did. And I wound up with one of my favourite photographs from the race.