By Chris Hurt
April 21, 2003
First official day on the Tour de Georgia (well not officially a race day,
but official enough for me). This morning my friends from Knoxville, Tennessee,
John and George and I made the trek from Atlanta down to Savannah, Georgia.
It all started at 9:00 am when we met the rest of the traveling marshals for the
tour at the Georgia Power parking lot.
We arrived to find that none of us really knew what was going on, or for that
matter what it meant to be a traveling marshal. There were 5 strange boxy
vans aptly named Sprinters that were supposed to convey us to Savannah, and
someone with a list, but who disavowed any knowledge or power other than we
should load up and hit the road. So everyone threw their stuff into the
van they were closest to and we were off.
John, George and I were joined by our designated driver, Joel, along with Tom
and Garret; we all variously chatted, dazed and dozed on the uneventful trip.
Uneventful, unless, of course, you count our visit to the Cracker Barrel, a
bastion of southern dining, were we had a meal and helped a youngster locate his
troublesome rubber ball.
The first time it truly became evident that we were at a major cycling event
was when we got to the Hyatt in Savannah (not that we stayed there, we were
sequestered a few blocks down at the Radisson). The parking lot was
overflowing with colorful, bestickered cars and vans crowned with bike racks.
Milling about the lobby were variously uniformed members of all the teams, some
in sweats, others in their kits after giving the prologue route a go. As a
fan of the sport it was cool to be immersed in all if only for a few minutes
before the drudgery of signing in and going to our first of apparently many
One interesting thing that came out of the meetings was that the 50 traveling
marshals would be split into five groups of ten. Since we had all bonded
over a beer before the first meeting, the group that rode down in the van
together decided to form the core of one of the teams along with our team
So that bit of work done, the team forged, it was time for dinner. We
were going to the same locale as the riders, just an hour later. We took a
trolley over to the venue, Savannah Station, along with some riders.
Notably, Jonathan Vaughters was riding with us, not for the first time I was
surprised at his size; for some reason I thought he was 6’ tall, clearly that
was not the case.
Walking into the dining hall we were surrounded by the teams as they we
finessing up dinner. Floyd Landis appeared to be in good spirits as he
chatted with his teammates, among them Michael Barry and Antonio Cruz, who was
looking rather dapper, eschewing the team clothes for an white open necked
Soon after we came in they were gone and we were headed back to the Hyatt
where I had arranged to meet with Jaime from the DP to give her the new DP
shirts to give to “her monkeys”. BTW, we got a quick glimpse of Frankie
Andreu and stories about him whipping his charges into line.
The day concluded with another meeting, beer and writing, not necessarily
The Dodge Intrepousime. Photo: Michael Pugh.
Riders after a news conference on Monday. Photo: Michael