GETTING TO KNOW GREG: 2011 Amgen Tour of California's VIP Car Ride Winner



ranjanis

New Member
Mar 23, 2011
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THE CHALLENGE. About a month ago, we tasked the CyclingForums community to post your best finish line experiences. What was your motivation and how did it make you feel?

THE STORY. The votes are in – Greg Smola (gman0482) of Peabody, MA was the contestant with the most inspiring race anecdote. As a reward, Greg will enjoy the thrill of following the 2011 TOC's peloton in a VIP Car AND joining two of his friends in the Michelob Ultra VIP Lounge at the race's Finish City. To top it off, Greg will be sharing a brand new finish line experience with CyclingForums once he attends the race next week!

THE GMAN. We wanted to know more about the man behind the story before he hops on a plane to make it to the big day.



Q: We've heard that you're traveling from across the country to make it to the race. What are you most looking forward to experiencing at the 2011 Amgen Tour of California?
A: I think the biggest thing I'm looking forward to is the face-to-face of the whole event. Seeing all of the pro's that I've been following so closely, and getting to actually see the action unfold right in front of me will be amazing.

Q: Are you looking forward to seeing anyone in particular at the TOC this year?
A: Mark Cavendish, Matthew Goss, and everyone else.

Q: What do you attribute your cycling enthusiasm to? Was it an experience or a family member that influenced your passion?
A: My love for cycling can be credited to my 60 year-old uncle, who lives in Poland and has a great cycling team of 8 of his closest friends, as they travel all over Europe and compete in different events. Also, watching TDF and TOC among others, always made me want to ride.

Q: How many years have you been into racing? In your contest entry, you mentioned that you're a relatively new to the scene…
A: As far as racing myself, last year was the first season I pinned on a number. I've been riding since 2009, but mostly tried to beat my own results.

Q: Where is your favorite location to cycle?
A: My favorite location to ride would have to be around Topsfield/Boxford MA. The are endless miles of interconnecting twisty side roads, all in the rich parts of the burbs with thick trees, where you don't see a car for the most part of the ride.

Q: What music gets you pumped up to ride?
A: I honestly don't listen to any music while riding, and now that I think about it, I don't even listen to it in my car, since I'm always tuned into the sports station on the radio. (I know it's sad). But if I had to choose, it'd be something like Tiesto or the Miami Vice remix of Phil Collins, lol.

Q: What advice would you give newer cyclists that are contemplating entering their first race?
A: Don't be nervous, pay attention to your surroundings, and most importantly HAVE FUN !! Cause without that, what's the point?

Q: Do you have any personal goals that you'd like to accomplish this year?
A: My biggest goals I think would be to get into Cat4 and to hit 240-250 FTP. The rest is just to race as much as possible (crits, TT's, RR's) and to be on the road at least 120-140 miles per week.

Q: If the price tag were no matter, what would your dream bike be? Which parts and components would you include or upgrade to?
A: Oh I don't think there's a short answer for that but I'll try. My dream: Parlee Z1 62cm frame, Liteweight wheelset, Campy Super Rec11 grouppo.

Q: What food could you never get tired of eating?
A: My mother's "Zapiekanka". It's a Polish version of a lasagna. That, and a buffalo chicken sandwich is always good at any time.

Q: Describe your perfect day.
A: Get up around 6:30 am, quick breakfast, get on the computer to map out a ride, throw the bike on the roof rack and go. Everything else is less-than perfect after that.

Q: Which friends are you taking with you to meet at the finish village and why?
A: That part is still in the works, but I'll be taking someone who enjoys cycling as much as I do.



On behalf of the community – CONGRATULATIONS GREG! You have earned the prize and we thank you for your participation. We can't wait to hear your updates from the heart of the action.

Don't forget that VIP Packages are still available. For further race details and VIP Experience offers, please visit the Amgen Tour of California race website.
Follow the Tour on Facebook or Twitter.
 
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swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
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Congrats Gman :) Very nice.

Enjoy the trip to California. The weather is warming up nicely... Have you decided what stage you'll be seeing?


A quick trip to the toca site:


Quote: VIP Car Ride
Experience the crowd, the course, the energy and the excitement in an official race vehicle. Follow the peloton and get a close view of the riders in a way that only few have done before! Arrive ahead of the cyclists and watch them race into the finish line from the Michelob Ultra VIP Lounge! Receive an Amgen Tour of California leader jersey and hat and get access to the post race Press Conference!

Includes:
- Michelob Ultra VIP Lounge Pass
- ATOC Leader Jersey and Hat
- Post Race Press Conference
Price: $2,000


If they'd had real beer and not Michelob I might have entered... :p
 
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ranjanis

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Mar 23, 2011
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We were stoked to award the prize to such a worthy winner! Way to go, Greg. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
 

gman0482

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Aug 13, 2009
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Thanks so much guys !! I still can't believe I'm actually going. It's definitely a once in a lifetime chance to get to do something like this. Thanks to everyone that voted for me. Steve and Ranjani, You both are awesome. I'll do my best to take alot of pictures and share this experience.

Thanks again,
-Greg
 
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MMMhills

Well-Known Member
Nov 28, 2010
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Great job and I loved your story. Please take lots of pictures and post all the great things you saw so we can live it vicariously through you.

ENJOY!!!
 

ranjanis

New Member
Mar 23, 2011
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Ha swampy - Greg not only survived but it sounds like he had an absolutely incredible experience to share with you guys! Update to follow shortly.
 

sitzmark

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2010
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Cool ... was beginning to worry about the boy. :)

Gman - hope you had the time of your life!!
 

MMMhills

Well-Known Member
Nov 28, 2010
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I saw the recent post and thought we might have some cool pictures along with a great story.

Sounds like Greg had a good time as expected cant wait to hear his story.