Bicycle photography lasts for just a few seconds. You have one chance, (if you are lucky to have a motor drive you get more chances to the eighth power). Unless it’s a criterium ride where they pass by 40 or 50 times (go fast turn left). Sacramento was the finish for stage 1 on Sunday. The riders passed by three times and finished. BLUR.

The first time through I froze everyone with a fast shutterspeed. The second time I slowed the shutterspeed down to get an artsy effect. The third time it was a little faster with the shutter to get a sorta blury photo. Three chances. I felt like I was guessing someone’s weight at the county fair.

Then the finish. Arms up! Then Lance Armstrong congratulating stage winner Mark Cavendish as he rode to the podium.

I had no idea it was Lance. I was trying to get a photo a Cavendish. I was stupid lucky that the OTHER guy was Armstrong. He wasn’t wearing his trademark yellow and black, just the Radio Shack colors.

I missed Levi though. I have the back two-thirds of his backside. After the race he took off pretty fast. The crowd was huge and he completely dissolved in to some alley way.

Then it was an eight block walk to the press room to transmit photos, where ten or tweleve reporters and probably a gizillion photogs editing 900 gigs of photos. In 2009 here, the press room was located right next to a large multi quincinera celebration. I recall the music was so loud a partition dividing the two rooms was vibrating to the thump, whump, thump of the music. I think the wall moved six feet that night.

Peter DaSilva and John Mabanglo of the European Press Photo Agency work in the press room during the tour of California, Sunday May 16, 2010. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2010

The first year of the tour, I covered the whole thing. There were maybe 30 photographers at the finish. Today I counted 61 in the pit during the awards presentation. This event has gotten pretty large and is bound to carry more weight as the Tour rolls on.

Tomorrow, I’m on a moto from Davis to Santa Rosa. Last year, the moto ride was absolutely horrid from Davis to SR. It rained the ENTIRE way. I am told by several different people and weather maps that it could be a repeat.

May rain brings photog pain.

-Kent Porter