We pulled up in the van mid-morning, as steel barriers were being put in place to close off the course. Some of us were half asleep, our necks kinked against the windows, while others punched away at Game Boys and paged through cycling magazines. Nervous excitement spun in each of our minds for the day of racing ahead.
Men wearing low-slung jeans and grimy T’s, with rolled cigarettes hanging from their lower lips, unloaded hundreds of galvanized steel barriers from flatbed trucks. The barricades lined the curbs of the town center criterium course, creating a cage to hold back the fervent drunken crowds of spectators as the riders whizzed past. Even before the barriers were in place, the beer stand opened to allow the workmen to quench their thirst under the rising summer sun. (continue reading at Competitive Cyclist)