I went to the spot they'd first be visible on our city route at 1:40 pm, and sat on my blanket, with my water and my sunglasses and just waited. I was the only person there for a while and then a slow trickle of people spilled in. A few official vehicles and police car escorts went through and then the Course Marshal pulled up and stopped right in front of me. "I need a volunteer Marshal for this location.. anyone??" to which I jumped up, gleefully called out "I will!!" and ran over to him. He handed me a Tour shirt and asked me to wear it, stand at the intersection and not let anyone get too close to the race course. So I did! I was totally thrilled to have walked into my new position of authority and not just be an onlooker but now have a tiny little role to play in it all. It was funny how all of a sudden, the other volunteers thought I was someone important, when prior to the t-shirt nobody talked to me. Haha.
These were the first two cyclists to come into town today. They screamed past me at 2:23pm. The website listed the first and second placers as Silven Dillier and Serghei Tvetcov, so I could guess this is them, although you never know what went on after they passed me here. They were ahead by only less than a minute.
Here is the peloton which whirred past me like a semi truck, with enough wind force to blow my hair back and make the hair on my arms stand up. It was awesome. Thor told me there's nothing like standing there and hearing the sound the cyclists make as their tires all hum in unison on the pavement. He was right. WhirrWhirrWhirrWhirrrr. Not a sound I'll forget anytime soon. He also tells me that he's pretty sure the 4th red and black jersey/helmet to the left side of the green Belkin jersey belongs to Tour De France 2011 winner, Cadel Evans. That's really big stuff.. here on my little rural road heading into my little city. I love that!! These men sped passed me in about 7 seconds, I'm sure, and there were about 3 or 4 more cyclists after that who were having a harder time keeping up, but who were not far behind. I waited and cheered them all on before I had to leave. They passed me just in the nick of time, before I had to collect my boys.
It's huge for an event like this to be in Canada, and even more huge for it to be in Alberta. I am thrilled that this is taking place here, and even though I heard two people complain about the momentary road closures, I think overall the general feeling is total excitement. A complete list of the cyclists can be found here, as well as any information on the course maps, and results so far. Here is the facebook page that you can keep an eye on for up to date race information and photo galleries.
Best of luck, Cyclists!