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Team TIAA-CREF - 2006

Team Journal Entry - February 20, 2006, by Tom Peterson

Welcome to pro cycling!

Tom looking to the top
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Today was definitely the opening day of my first big professional race. Competing in the prologue was one thing, but today it started off with a bang. The crowds and speed were like something I've never experienced to date. In the beginning, all along the course, and at the end, the amount of spectators that came to cheer were a foreign event for me. The presence of so many people along the way made me feel like I'd done something spectacular and heroic - like a firefighter or something.

But the fans were there for good reason; these "heroes of cycling" can lay it down with ease. When they go fast they tear the legs off each other. We came into one hill going all out to the bottom, then they found some inner strength and blasted their way up the rest of the climb. I gave everything I had to struggle up from behind and grasp their slipstream on the downhill. Welcome to pro cycling...

Aside from the commotion of the crowd there was an atmosphere caused by the other teams and riders. Riding beside the best in the world has a mental effect on me, but I try to use it for motivation; if I can enter the race then I'm on par with them, right? I'm going to keep thinking that and hopefully it will build my confidence coming into the next week of all-out racing.

Another aspect of racing that's new is the scenic panorama along the way. It seemed as though each turn we rounded gave way to a brilliantly pristine view of either the coast or the wine country. It was simply spectacular; the problem was that I spent most of the race checking out the tyre in front of me and the quality of the road. But after arriving in Santa Rosa and finishing the race it's physically impossible not to look at the terrain and drop your jaw in awe.

I'll let you know how it all goes along the way...stay tuned!

Take care,