Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tour of California Celebrity Viewing Guide

It is not often that you have the chance to see a ton of random celebrities at a bike race. Other than famous bike racers...but we know enough of them already. However, the Tour of California offers viewers a chance to watch some great racing and do a little star gazing as well. As a service to those watching on television and those fortunate enough to spectate in person, the following is a short list of famous faces you may see along the route at the Prologue in San Francisco and the Sausalito start of Stage 1 in Marin County.

It should be a surprise to very few that Robin Williams is an avid cycling fan. His presence during Lance Armstrong's Tour victories was almost as constant as Hincapie and Bruyneel. He shows up at nearly every cycling fundraiser and is probably the most visible celebrity cyclist. Maybe it was that time in Boulder filming Mork and Mindy.

Background Set Up: I was born in SF and lived throughout Marin for a total of 19 years, both in the not-too-distant past and very recently. This means that I have happened across a load of random celebrities - for lack of a better term. It just happens if you actually look at people as there are a lot of them around there. The bottom line: They are basically normal people...but not really. They can't be. I usually end up feeling sorry that everyone is staring at them all the time and acting weird. Now I'm conflicted about putting out this list. Okay - not really. Back to my list of famous people to stare at awkwardly) Back to Robin Williams.

Random Story Alert: So C-Mac and I are at The Bicycle Odyssey in Sausalito about a year ago and I notice that the man who actually worked with Fonzi as Mork (a remarkably inspired combination when you think about it. Seriously, Mork and Fonzi? Wow) was in the shop as well, checking out jerseys and all of the phenomenal frames and bikes crammed in there. I gave C-Mac the head nod in an effort not to look too stupid so that she would look over at him. Literally right next to the guy and didn't even recognize him. Then we spent the next few minutes trying to nonchalantly see if he was going to buy anything cool. Apparently his collection of bikes is world-class. But instead we ended up leaving because we felt weird looking at him. Anyway...big surprise, thanks for the news flash, Robin Williams might be at a bike race in his own backyard. Yada, yada. Odds on showing up: 2/1

I'm not sure how many Dead Heads are into bike racing...but Bob Weir makes at least one. Wait, are you a Dead Head if you were actually in the band? We need a ruling on that one. Regardless, Weir is well known for his affinity for the mountain bike and could probably have an appreciation for the roadies of the Tour of California. If I recall, Jerry Garcia was a huge fan of the Cannibal, Eddy Merckx so maybe it wore off on Bob.

Random Story Alert: I passed a guy coming out of Muir Beach once who looked like Bob Weir. But then again...lots of dudes in Marin look like Bob Weir so I cannot be certain. What I can confirm is that the guy I passed was not wearing the purple shorts seen in the above photo. That would have been a dead giveaway. Odds on showing up: 1/5

He can't drive 55 and he can't ride it either. But Sammy Hagar is a longtime friend of the Marin cycling community and is well known locally for his love of the bike. And tequila. But that's a different story. He actually owned the Sausalito Cyclery back in the late '80's and even had a signature Gary Fisher model mountain bike called the Red Rocker. All red and black parts. It was something. When not in Cabo, Hagar could be seen - hair flying all over the place - riding up on Hoo-Koo-E-Koo just a little way up from his house.

Random Story Alert: I actually have a napkin (clean) with his autograph that says "See You At The Races - Sammy Hagar - OU812" that I got at Phyllis' Giant Burgers when he strolled in one day. I always thought the "OU812" reference to Van Halen's recently released album was an interesting choice. I mean, it's good marketing but does he keep changing it with every new record? If one tanks does he just keep writing the title of an older good one? Does he just write "Van Halen Sucks" now? Odds on showing up: 1/20 (it's winter and I'm sure he's in Cabo Wabo)
I have heard a rumor that Huey Lewis may not be able to attend the Tour of California due to WADA Chairman Dick Pound's recent outrage over the lyrics of his song "I Want A New Drug" which was released quite some time ago. Officials have not confirmed if the News are being restricted from spectating.

Random Story Alert: Huey Lewis actually visited my 5th Grade class at Park Elementary School. I'm not sure how cool that sounds right now (well...I guess I have an idea how cool it sounds) but this was back in the days of the incredible Sports album and Back To The Future so it was basically the equivalent of having Bono come to you class as an 11 year old. To this day, one my greatest memories. Awesome. Since the Giants just reported to Spring training he may be in Arizona but we can always hope for a great National Anthem performance from him. Not sure about the News. Odds on showing up: 1/10

Sean Penn will kick your ass if you're not careful. This has nothing to do with the Tour of California or anything - I just feel like everyone should know. Actually, this is totally untrue. Penn is, by most recent accounts, a really cool guy who happens to have very strong political views. He just looks like he'll crack you one if you're not careful though.

Random Story Alert: C-Mac and I lived pretty close to the Penn Family in Ross for the past few years. We would always see Robin Wright-Penn at the local market, followed by me going "Princess Buttercup...As you wish" and C-Mac rolling her eyes and walking away. I used to ride past their house a lot - which is right across the street from a Police Station. Seriously. That's not a joke. Odds on showing up: 1/5 (Spiccolli was Italian right?)

Not many people know this, but Star Wars was actually based on a premonition that George Lucas had about Floyd Landis, Dick Pound and the current state of professional cycling. It's kind of a confusing story and I hope to get further clarification in the near future. Anyway, I have no idea if Lucas is a cycling fan but his namesake Lucas Valley Road was one of my favorite stretches in Marin. I always used to think I'd see a StormTrooper or Ewok on a Speeder Bike zipping through the forest as I was cruising along. Did I just say that out loud?

Random Fact: Multiple Coors Classic Coit Tower Prologue winner Ron Keifel's nickname was "Wookie." Coincidence? Odds on showing up: 1/4

Now keep in mind that this is just a small sampling of the many local Bay Area celebrities who may grace the Tour of California with their presence, so keep your eye out. They can blend in a bit but look out for the likes of Grace Slick (lead singer for Starship, both Jefferson and non-Jefferson), Clarence Clemmons (sax player for Springsteen's E-Street Band), Jeff Watson (lead guitar player for Night Ranger) and maybe even Boz Scaggs (Boz Scaggs) if you are lucky. Boz Scaggs is actually a really serious motorcycle rider. Once again...not a joke. Even though it seems like one for some reason.

In conclusion, if you do happen to see any of these celebrities please try to refrain from staring at them too much. Especially Sean Penn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey who was your teacher at park? my kids went there; wife still works there. i don't think anyone "famous" ever made an appearance there. andrew stanton of pixar fame had his kids go there though so i'm sure he showed up for "what does your dad do" day at school.