It started with a two-hour train ride to Frankfurt International Airport, followed by all the requirements of checking in for an international flight—baggage check, passport check, security check, checking the aisles of the duty free store to see if there’s anything you really can’t live without, and then on to the departure gate.
Once on board, you’re looking at a good 12 hours of airplane time.
After landing, de-planing, and a reasonable wait in a ridiculous snaking line, there was a quick check-in with the friendly United States border patrol officer, the collecting and re-checking of luggage, more security, and finding the departure gate for the flight to Reno, Nevada.
San Francisco to Reno is a quick flight that basically just entails the airplane getting up to cruising altitude and then getting back down to the ground again. We exited the airplane, collected our bags, rented a car, and started the solid one-hour drive from Reno to Stateline, Nevada—named as such because it sits on the California and Nevada state line.
We are here to follow the AMGEN Women’s race, the AMGEN Tour of California, ride along with SRAM’s Open the Road Tour and take in as much California road culture as we can.
The AMGEN Tour of California is clearly America’s premier gift to global professional cycling and the many fans here in North America and abroad, but it is also a near perfect embodiment of how cycling has grown, is growing, and is adored in its many forms in this country.
We check in at a hotel where Elvis Presley once lived and performed, and are thrilled to see what tomorrow’s sunrise brings. It was a 23-hour travel day, but it’s now officially in the books.
Dates and times and airports surely varied from rider to rider and team to team, but this basic day is what so many of the world’s best bike racers and support staff did to get to the AMGEN Tour of California. And then there’s the jetlag.