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Lucas Euser's Tour of California diary

As he enters his third year of competition as a professional, 23-year-old Team Slipstream Sports powered by Chipotle rider Lucas Euser will keep Cyclingnews updated with his and the outfits progress each day at the Tour of California. It's the youngster's second Tour of California, after he contested the Tour last year where he finished 49th.

Index to all entries

February 21, 2007

An emotional homecoming

I am not sure if this happens to every cyclist, but it seems like at some point in our professional careers we reach a point when we realise people actually do know who we are!

The majority of the year we travel around the world as calmly as the guy next to us, no fans ever bombard us begging for autographs, and at home training we are more likely to get flipped off and run off the road then we are to hear words of encouragement. It's something you learn to deal with, however, a day like today is extremely reassuring that this sport is more popular than ever and yes, people actually know who I am!

Today's stage was a truly empowering and motivational. Santa Rosa residents roared for their hometown hero as we rolled through the packed town of some enthused, some crazy and some half naked fans.

As we exited the town and started to work our way up Trinity Mountain, a Cat 2 brute of climb, I slowly listened to the names on the side of the road changing. All of a sudden, as we got closer and closer to my hometown of Napa, I heard my name being cheered and I saw that it was my name written on the road! Every time I heard a fan cheer for me it made the hill easier and easier.

I grew up in Napa, California and ever since I was 16 years-old I have been riding the gorgeous roads that the world famous wine region has to offer. To be racing the Tour of California on the same roads I grew up riding on is something I will never forget. The least I can do is offer my thanks to everyone that came out to cheer me on and make all those great signs I saw throughout the valley.

More importantly, I got to share this experience with some very special people in my life. My sister and some very good friends came to watch on the top of Trinity Mountain and as I came off the descent, as I have done a hundred times before, I was greeted by my dad, who, in true Euser fashion of always having to be different, was probably in the least spectator friendly part of the course all alone.

As I come off the mountain ever so fluidly, knowing every corner and crack in the road, I had put a little time on the field and ironically enough, there he was middle of nowhere. I was able to flash him the smile he deserved for putting up with my bike racing habit all these years and at that point it was as if everything kind of just made sense. Thanks Dad!!!

My grandparents, who are probably more excited about the race than I am, were on the Silverado Trail amidst a pack of screaming fans. Of course my number one fans, my mom and step-dad, were spotted multiple times on the course with their huge orange and blue signs rallying every one around them to scream my name.

Thank you Napa for giving me the greatest roads in the world to ride on, thank you to all my fans that came out today, whether you know it or not, it means a lot to hear my name yelled on the side of the rode. Thank you to the family, I love you guys, and thank you Napa Valley for reminding why I do this sport and bringing back the memories of finding my first true love. I'll never forget today.

Tomorrow the battle continues as we plan on unleashing our arsenal. For all the fans in Napa and everyone reading, keep your eyes out for Team Slipstream/Chipotle tomorrow - I guarantee it's going to be a good one.

Lucas Euser
Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle