It may be hotter than hell in the summer. It may be a desert. But at least it has mountains; one thing to connect me back to Norway.
I have some family who live in Utah. My aunt had read my post about my day in Luxembourg, when I was freaking out about the bicycle race, and so she and my mom conspired to send me off to Utah to see the Tour of Utah.
Bicyclists? I’ll not say no to that one.
My family lives near Salt Lake City, which is where the Olympic Winter games were hosted in 2002. The area is also great for skiing, being in the mountains, so we took some of the ski lifts up to look out over the area.
We also went around to some of the Olympic sites. On the day we visited the ski jump area, we got to see the aerialists practicing their jumps into a pool. We stayed and watched them for some time, which was a lot of fun. It’s really interesting because bubbles are sent through the pool before the aerialists hit the water, in order to break the surface tension and make the landing softer. But of course it was just fun to see the athletes doing crazy flips and such.
We took a tour of the area which involved going up to the bobsled course and the ski jump. I was very glad to see the ski jump again, since they seemed to be a common theme in Norway. Except this time I got to ride a zip line down the ski jump.
Two days of the Tour of Utah sent the bicyclists through the city where my aunt lives. One the first day we got to the start line bright and early. I claimed a position along the gates and got the signatures of a ton of the bicyclists, INCLUDING JENS VOIGT. If you weren’t around for my Luxembourg freak out, let me tell you now I dearly love Jens Voigt. The guy is hilarious.
I got to see a ton of famous cyclists who I love and I talked to some of them (like Levi Leipheimer. Levi Leipheimer!!). Of course, I was freaking out so I could hardly manage a “hello,” but I got by. I distinctly remember one person saying something to me and for a moment I forgot to speak English. Embarrassing.
I also learned of this young chap named Joe Dombrowski who quickly became my favorite in the race (far right in the picture below, in the black). As if I need any more people to obsess over.
We watched the bicyclists start off and then they were gone, so we went around and did our own thing. We saw them again on the last day of the Tour of Utah, at both the start and the finish. I didn’t stand out for autographs this time, having been satisfied the first time, but I did manage to claim a pretty good spot near the finish line with the rest of my family. I got to see Jens Voigt fly by on his bicycle, so I was a happy camper once again.