I blogged the USA Cycling Championships the past two years because they were held in my hometown of Greenville, SC. In 2009, we cheered as George Hincapie, the hometown favorite, won by a wheel. In 2010, we watched the final downtown circuits from a sunny knoll in Cleveland Park. This year, we decided to take advantage of the fact that the race course is literally at the end of our street, and that our nearby house has very comfortable A/C for the 45 minutes between mountain stages. I took some pictures, but there’s nothing new to reveal, so I decided to film the peloton.
This is what it looks like when nearly 100 riders, their team cars, race staff, and emergency responders whiz by at 40+ miles per hour.
By the way, Hincapie finished second this year. And I’ll reiterate what I wrote last year:
This is a one-day race for the American title and fans have two ways to partake in the event — they can travel to Greenville to watch the race live or they can constantly refresh the #uspro hashtag on Twitter. There is a helicopter feed that you can stream online, but it lacks audio and the view is often obstructed. Are there really no companies out there who will sponsor/underwrite a portion of the cost of covering the event properly?
There are already two announcers calling the race in front of the helicopter video at the finish line. All they need to add are two cameramen on the back of motorcycles, a camera on Main Street, and an engineer editing the three feeds for a delayed broadcast. Let the program start two hours before the expected finish, recap what’s happened so far, and vary the commentary with previously recorded interviews. Sell it on Pay Per View for $25.
I hate to overgeneralize, but cycling is predominately a white-collar hobby and fans are usually both financially and emotionally invested in the sport. A real broadcast would break even at worst.