The idea to do a special commemorative Tour of California issue/book came to us at lunch. I think it was Mexican food. First, we thought we’d do 20 pages on the stage race. But then we decided to do a whole issue to the Tour. Why not? It was in our backyard, major European, as well as domestic pros, were lined up to do it. Plus, how hard could it be? We go, take a bunch of photos, and write some text and boom, we’re done. I was far from right. We thought we’d have two motos for our photographers, but got one. At times there were four guys in one hotel room with photo and computer cables, internet wires and smelly clothes strewn about the room. I thought that rock groups would have kept their hotel rooms better than we did at times. Then when we got home we had literally thousands of photos to go through and then write text for the profiles of athletes, text regarding the towns we had visited, stage results and captions for the photos. I remember one night, around 2:00am, I yelled to Tim, who is in the office next to me, “Whose stupid idea was this!” In the 11th hour we recruited/held captive, Andi Alstot who helped look over my text. At 3:00 am all text looks the same, so you need that extra set of eyeballs. In a space of two weeks we did 200 pages! We were, and still are, very proud of the finished work. We have gotten several positive comments on it and it is still requested by pros and readers alike. But when we finished it, we didn’t know if we’d do another Tour of California book and to be honest, I didn’t care. Tim and I were burned for a couple of months. Right after that issue went to bed, we had to jump on another and start traveling again. And with what I can only think of as a similar comparison (and I know the ladies will kill me for saying this) is child birth. As time slipped by, I forgot about the pain of making the book and focused on how good it looked. Maybe we could do this again.
Cruz working his interview magic
Two weeks ago the city of Long Beach, my hometown, announced that they were going to host the last stage of the 2007 Tour of California. The announcement was made at a nice restaurant in downtown and attracted several council people and the mayor from my fair city. As I spoke to different politicians they all seemed excited about the race. Long Beach hosts the Long Beach Grand Prix, a marathon, and triathlon, so it seemed to make sense that Long Beach should host a stage race. Thanks to a buddy who holds an important position in the city of Long Beach, I was introduced to all the right people, including the mayor. I showed off our Tour of California book to the politicians and told them I’d like to do whatever I could do to help them out. They said that they’d want to talk to me and see what they had gotten themselves into. And as I’m eating my lunch at the restaurant, fellow Long Beach native and neighbor, Tony Cruz calls me and wants to know what is happening. I had told him about the event earlier and I’d find out any information I could. He decides to ride down to the restaurant in his full Toyota-United kit and the politicians loved it! To see a real pro and one that actually lived in Long Beach was amazing to them. The local Charter news channel was there and they did a quick interview with Tony. I was pumped about the Tour of California again and wanted to make that book. However, there are a few road blocks we have to overcome before we do it again. That book was very expensive to produce, so my publisher has to weigh the pros and cons of doing it again. Maybe we focus on the Tour of Utah for ‘07, which has the infusion of cash to possibly take it to the Tour of California or Tour de Georgia level. Tim and I are going to Utah this upcoming weekend to cover it and do a really good spread on the race. Maybe we’ll have a better sense of the event when we are there. I often tell people my dream is that the States has three or four Tours and several good one day races so I could stay home more often. I use to think that was a pipe dream, but I feel we are getting closer to that reality.