In what NBCSN described as a little hamlet in northern California, the little historical gold mining town of Nevada City was home today to a big time sporting event. It may not have been the Super Bowl or the NBA playoffs, or even a golf tournament or bowling championship, but it brought athletes from all over the world. Again.
For the third time in ten years, the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race has not only gone through here, but actually had a stage start here. The weeklong race created to resemble the much more famous Tour de France started in Sacramento yesterday, but Stage Two began downtown at 11am, about 150 riders from all over the world raced up historic Broad Street, out to Grass Valley, then headed out of town, and ended the day in Lodi. Over 120 miles covered in less than five hours, and only about 15 minutes of riding through Nevada City and Grass Valley.
But despite the fact that the racers were not on the course for very long, they spent Sunday night in Nevada City, and so did the TV crews, journalists, publicists, and cycling fans. Our local radio station, KNCO (where I am employed), broadcast the start of the race as well as some pre-race activities. The switchboard didn't even get a complaint when Rush Limbaugh was pre-empted for an hour. The first-ever Amgen Tour began in Nevada City, and despite the fact that that was back when Lance Armstrong was an admired athlete and ambassador to the sport, cycling has thrived in this town. There is a professional bike race through downtown on Father's Day every year, and the City Councilman, former mayor, and primary person responsible for bringing the big time event to the area owns a bike shop. This year's race features eight stages, and will end in Pasadena this coming Sunday.
I missed the television coverage, but the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) is showing the race by tape delay. The Nevada City start already aired this afternoon, and the evening showing was not a re-run, but picked up the race toward the later part of the stage in Lodi. As far as our radio broadcast went, we didn't have full coverage with reporters in the back of a pickup truck or anything, just a few interviews, the national anthem, a look at the top competitors, and the firing of the starting gun. A big day in a little town. Again.
Start the countdown: The Marysville Gold Sox are getting ready to crank up their 13th season of wood bat summer collegiate baseball. The team opens on May 21stójust 10 nights from now...In Major League Baseball, they say it's no longer early anymore once you get to Memorial Day. That's two weeks from today, but a look at the schedule suggests things are getting serious. This week marks the first time there isn't the maximum number of division games. That means every team has faced each division opponent in a series both home and away.
Charley Whiner: I was home for a brief Mother's Day visit and got to see the telecasts of the Dodgers-Rockies series in Denver. With a rain-shortened five-inning win Friday, a rainout Saturday, and snow in Denver Sunday morning before they got the game in, all play-by-play man Charley Steiner could do is constantly complain about how cold it was. Hey Charley, there are several thousand fans who attended the game, and thousands more who would be happy to replace you in the broadcast booth. Shut up! At least analyst Orel Hershiser seems to have reduced the number of times he referred to the Dodgers as 'us' or 'we'. He still does it, though.
They wrote it: With most television viewers in Los Angeles unable to get the home telecasts because they don't have Time Warner Cable, one person wrote in to the Los Angeles Times suggesting that SNLA does not stand for Sports Net Los Angeles, but Sorry No Longer Available. At least mom has Time Warner Cable.