Boise cycling star Kristin Armstrong, Olympic gold medalist in the time trial and headliner of the Exergy Tour, is clearly on her own turf in the five-stage women's professional bike race that kicks off today - the first stage, for example, tonight's prologue, has its turnaround at the Boise Depot, where Armstrong was married, as AP reporter John Miller noted in his report yesterday on the race. The final stage Monday, which starts and finishes at Hyde Park in Boise's North End, comes within a mile of her home.
Armstrong said, “I'm so happy to show Boise off to everybody.” At the opening press conference of the Exergy Tour yesterday, she said, “Last night I was talking to my husband, and I said, 'Wow, I really, I need all this stuff to start, because I have to get it out of my mind that I'm not just not going to a local race tomorrow. Because it's not often that we get to experience a world-class competition in your home town, waking up from your own bed, thinking you're going to roll down to a road that you ride a couple times a week. And you're going to actually be there with all of your competitors.”
Tonight's race, featuring more than 100 elite women bike racers from 18 nations, starts at 6:30 p.m. at Julia Davis Park, where it both starts and finishes; there's public viewing all along the route, with the most action likely at the park and at the Depot, which is the turnaround. It's designed in part to establish a seeding for the next stage, a 77-mile road race starting from the Nampa Rec Center on Friday. Festivities will start at 5 p.m., when the Expo opens, with live music from Bill Coffey & His Cash Money Cousins. Each day's stage features an Expo; tomorrow's in Nampa will include fitting and providing free bicycle helmets to the first 100 children ages 5 and under. There's more info here.
On the unsettled weather this week, including rain showers, Armstrong said she hopes the riders won't encounter thunderstorms in the mountains, but said aside from that, “The more weather the better, right? I mean, we're all tough women.”