My trip to the 2002

San Francisco Grand Prix




I made it back for the 2nd San Francisco Grand Prix. I decided last year's strategy of walking the course was not the greatest idea, so this year I brought my Mountain Bike. Well, duh! That was much better. I was able to zip between vantage points between laps, and actually enjoy watching the race, instead of spending most of the time hoofing it at a rapid pace. This year, I went clock-wise around the course, whereas last year was the opposite. Hey, kinda' like how they do the Tour De France! ;-) Again, the crowds were amazing.


Disclaimer: All of my pictures were taken while simultaneously taking video with the other hand, and using a cheap (640x480) digital camera, so none of them are great.


The course was very similar to last year, except they did three "parade" laps around the Embacadero at the beginning. Also, they cut out the little loop by Pier 39. Guess the merchants don't like traffic being cut off from their shops for most of a Sunday!

Click on the thumbnail to see the full size version...

(Most of them are 50-60K)

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Standing behind the main stage as George signs in. You get an idea of the fog we had in the morning. It was around 57 degrees at the start, but by the end of the race, the sun had come out, and it was probably in the low 70s which was very nice.

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Here one of the Posties (can't tell which one) just finished climbing Taylor and is turning down Greenwich St. to finish the 5th lap. That looks like a zero, which would mean it was #10 - Dylan Casey, but he was sporting bright Yellow and Red shoes, so it wasn't him. To get to this spot, I rode up Filbert which is one block South of Greenwich and that worked fine, except that I ended up riding up above the top of Taylor. I thought I was going to lose breakfast after just one block of this climb - I don't know how these guys did it for multiple blocks 21 times!

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Here we are in the middle of Lap 6 in the middle of the long stetch of Polk St. Now that is Dylan Casey. I believe this was his last race with Postal. :-( He lives in Mountain View, which is just up the road from us, and he has been known to ride with the local "Monte Vista Velo" group. In fact, in Jan 2000, Lance came out to ride with Dylan thru Woodside up Skyline Blvd. and thought "it was unbelievable".

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After catching the action at Polk, I coasted downhill to wind up near the bottom of Fillmore. This picture was taken after the 1st of three nasty blocks of uphill climbs. It doesn't look too bad here, as it levels out for the cross street. Yup, that's Lance dead ahead.

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My favorite spot on the course from last year where Marina Blvd narrows down and enters Crissy Field. It goes down to one lane, so the peloton has to slow down and thin out, which makes for some good shots. Here Floyd Landis and Trent Klasna are chatting along in the middle of Lap 8.

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Glen Mitchel with the Navigators looks a bit distored here - I think it was my camera. :-) The Nav team rode a pretty good race this year.

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You can see Danny Pate (#47) w/ Prime Alliance here who also had a very good race.

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Man, Eki is so fast, you can't even catch him on film! ;-) You can see part of the Palace of Fine Arts in the background.

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On Lap 11, I sat on the small piece of Polk between Beach and North Point. This is where the Feed Zone was last year. It's a bit of an uphill and a turn at both ends of the block, so the riders slow down for you to get some good shots. This was probably the best action I caught on film - too bad it was in the shadows and you can't make it out very well. But you can certainly tell the Postal Train has left the station here! I think it is Dylan, George, Eki, and Lance.

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Here we are at the corner of Stockton and North Point near the beginning of Lap 12. At this point, George had broken away, but he went by so fast all by himself that I (and the crowd around me) didn't know what was going on. In the picture, we see Eki trying to control the chase group being led by Chris Baldwin (Navigators) at the moment.

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Turning off The Embarcadero on to Broadway - George is by himself. He has about a 30 second lead here, and the crowd is going bonkers. Unfortunately, there are still four of the 5 mile laps to go, and he can't hold off the pack for that long.

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George is still out in front by himself.

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Eki with one lap to go!

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After the race, George just pulled over and leaned on his handle bars for a while. He looked really exhausted which is not too surprsing since he was hanging out in the wind by himself for a few laps, and then let Lance and Eki draft him for a while longer after he was caught.

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George is talking to somebody while Dylan and Eki congratulate each other for finishing this thing! I wish I knew who that guy kneeling down taking a real picture.

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George heads for the podium to pick up his large, fake $2,000 check for winning the King of the Mountain competition. One of the other Posties (Pavel Padrnos) was leading the points there until George topped Fillmore first, and then broke away, which meant he topped Taylor first for a few laps. At least the day wasn't a total loss - he can buy himself an extra set of wheels!

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I didn't watch the award ceremony. I was looking around for Lance or George for autographs. Lance was hustled away for a press conference in Embarcadero 4. I heard on the radio later that he rode his bike in and out of the conference thru the main shopping area there. :-) At this moment, George was on the podium accepting his KOM award. I thought he might come down the back of the stage like last year. But he had left his bike in front so he hopped down that way. But then OLN stopped him for an interview there, so that gave me time to get around to the front/side and intercept him. (next 2 pics) Anyways, the guy in the middle of the pic (zebra uniform) is Giunti from Italy (Aqua E Sapone) who took 3rd. He looked pretty happy about it! Maybe he'll convince Cipo to come next year.

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George got his $2,000 KOM award and pedaled away from the crowd. I was pretty surprised that I was the only one that seemed to notice, let alone to follow him!

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This would have probably been my best picture, and I can't even blame it on the camera. The bone-head photographer got his finger in front of the lens. In his defense, I was jogging to keep up with George who was pedaling back to his hotel. Love those Gold Rudy Project glasses!

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So I jog ahead of George, and we are heading towards The Embarcadeo and the cross walk light is red, and I thought... "Cool, I'll ask him for an autograph while he waits for the light." Of course, the light turns just as he gets there and he cruises on by. Fortunately, a very persistent lady gets him to stop to sign an autograph for her newphew. I'm ready with a mousepad and sharpie pen, but somebody else shoves a water bottle in his face so he signs it. He starts to roll off, but he bumps my foot with his front wheel, so he signs my mousepad. Really, I wasn't trying to trap him! I apologize for it being a picture of Lance, he initials it, and rolls off towards his hotel. Poor guy... he kills himself for 109 miles, and these annoying fans pester him for his autograph. Ah well, whadda' ya' gonna' do?!




The official SF GP website,

including a few photos:

Mayor Willie

Famous Fillmore

Saturn chasing

Charles wins


See ya at next year's race!

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