February 17, 2009
Riders enter town on Tuesday afternoon on the Needham Overpass instead of the familiar Modesto Arch. It takes riders over trains that won't stop for bikes.
They'll speed north past Modesto Junior College before heading east through residential neighborhoods past Jim Wilkinson's house on Coldwell Avenue.
He was caught off guard, even though he's been following the race on TV.
"I had no idea, I had no idea at all...I wish I did know, I might take tommorrow off," said the Modesto resident.
But neighbor Eloise Fernandez has known for two months.
"My neighbors have friends coming, I've got a girlfriend coming in from Riverbank. Charlotte said she wanted to be here. We're going to have a late lunch and watch the tour," said Fernandez.
Riders will head south on Sycamore headed toward downtown. Businesses along the finish route couldn't be happier for their good fortune. Racers will make a turn in front of Kathy Hamlin's Lollipop Cafe on Needham Street.
She is preparing a special menu for the race.
"I'm going to have the tri-tip a sandwich and I'm going to have the cinnamon rolls and I'm going to have a chicken breast with apples and other things too...hopefully it's be busy all day and their coming to Modesto is great," she said.
I street in front of the courthouse is an appropriate place for the finish. It's the widest street through downtown Modesto, but first riders will make a corner take a lap down eleventh street.
They'll pass the historic McHenry Mansion museum twice.
"I expect this is going to be a real beehive tomorrow," said McHenry Mansion docent Pauline Ward.
"The more people we draw downtown the more people realize we are here. I think it's good for the whole city and it's certainly good for us at the mansion," she said.
As many as 15 thousand spectators are expected for the race finish around 4 PM, as well as a vendor and information fair that will be set up near the finish line at 11th and I streets.
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