My feet still hurt. I didn’t wear appropriate shoes for tromping around downtown for a couple of hours. (But they sort of matched my shirt, so there’s the logic).
I had volunteered from 7 to close so I headed down with my old camera to take some shots of first couple of races before my shift started.
The beer garden was set up in the parking lot across the street from Mitchell Park. Unlike Oktoberfest, everyone could come inside. If you showed a valid ID, you got a paper bracelet and could then buy a beer ticket. One ticket = one beer = $5. Aparicio’s provided the beer tent and served Michelob Ultra. There was a reason for the beer being Michelob but I can’t remember what it was. It made sense when I heard it, but that was a while back.
There were a couple of choices for food in the garden, corn dogs and BBQ. I didn’t catch a shot of the BBQ place put one guy came by the ticket booth with a turkey leg and, man, did that look good!
Entertainment set up on the street between the beer garden and Mitchell Park. I got a great still shot of them but it doesn’t capture the sound like video. They played a few oldies and some new ones. Anyone know who the band is? They were great.
Kid’s games were set up in Mitchell Park and vendors were strung down the street from the soundstage to the end of the block where the course went by.
Volkswagon had a couple of nice display cars out. There was a white VW in the beer garden with a bike rack on it that was really cool looking but this one was more worth a picture. I didn’t know that they made cars this snazzy.
The announcer’s platform was next to The Pub McKinney and they did a great job narrating the race and keeping the momentum going.
Anyone with outdoor seating had a throng of people.
People were looking for three things – view of the course, shade and – in some cases – height. I didn’t see anyone on the rooftop over Plum Creek Primitives, though. That was a lost opportunity. Whoever owns that could have cleaned up renting VIP seating up there. Stonewood Creators put a scare into several people when they made novel use of their awning as a viewing platform.
They would have had an excellent view of the only mishap of the race (that I know about). Early in the second race, there was a pile-up of racers near the finish line. According the EMTs, everyone was okay, just a little bumped up.
Other than that incident, the races appeared to come off flawlessly. I wandered and took a few pictures.
Of course, still shots can’t really capture a bike race. I’m glad I took my old camera because it has the option to take video. Here’s a video of one of the races going by. This is close to the announcer’s stage so the racers slowed down a little. In the wide open stretches, they went unbelievably fast and as the races progressed they just got faster and faster.
I think the event was a great success. People came from all around, even out-of-state, so I know the hotels had to enjoy this weekend. Parking was a pain. I guess the Town Center Study showing the need for parking garages isn’t too far off point. Even just one would (will) make a big difference for events like this. I talked to one of the shopowners who wasn’t happy about the streets being closed off during the day, but to be fair, the loss of trade during the day could be more than made up by being open during the event when there were so many people milling about, seeking shade and air conditioning. The leisure class that shops during the day while everyone else is working should also have the time to learn the lay of the land.
I hope that they have the event again next year. For a first run, I think it went really smoothly. We could have used more places to buy water and Gatorade. At the beer booth, I had many people stop and ask where they could get water and the BBQ place ran out of water before the night was over. There was one tent selling water and Gatorade in Mitchell Park and one place in front of the old Smith Drugs. We could also have used more shade in the beer garden, where people didn’t really start venturing in until the sun set. Lone Star Wine Cellars had one of the best set-ups for outdoor, course-side seating, but the sun was not their friend. No one took advantage of their patio while the sun was still up. I hope they got their share after sunset. La Misha, too, was slow to fill up, not having one of the better views of the course. Perhaps something of interest could be placed in the street between La Misha and the courthouse? Kiddie things spring to mind.
Well, I have to go get ready for a ladies lunch and a trip to the ice cream crank off. There is news from the square but it will have to wait until tomorrow night.
Until next time,