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Pope Cyclismo in His Natural Habitat 

I moved to California from Florida almost a year ago after visiting my uncle. For those who don’t know, which is likely the great majority of those reading, my uncle is Pope Cyclismo. People know him as the “superfan” who dresses up like the pope and runs next to the riders, specifically at Balcom Canyon and other stages of the Tour of California. His claim to fame is my claim to fame. My wife and I wanted to visit the West Coast and the Tour was a good reason for a short vacation. We were looking for a change and had a such a great time that on the flight back to Florida we decided to move and now I work in sunny SoCal at Franco Bicycles.

Part-time Model

Understandably, I was excited for my second round of the Tour of California. Franco Bikes had the plan to get out on Balcom Canyon and represent. We planned a small group ride from Franco HQ and bought pizza to give to anyone who wanted some. Ricardo, Franco's resident designer, met us at Balcom Canyon with the pizza and we socialized with fellow fans. As we waited for the pros to make the climb look easy, Franco's mechanic and resident legend Jeff, had a great idea. We bought 10 pizza boxes, excessive we know, but people were not flocking to us like pigeons as we hoped. It looked like we were going to be eating pizza for the rest of the week. Then in a moment of brilliance, Jeff decided to give a pizza handout to some of the pros. We immediately thought this was the best thing ever. It was further validated as a great idea when Ben King grabbed a slice. Thus #pizzawatts came to life.

Ricardo Taking Care of the Important Things

Ben King Snags a Slice

Day 2 of the Tour was great for two reasons. First, we were close to the top of Mt. Baldy at a KOM surrounded by tons of equally excited fans. Second, we had leftover pizza.

Joe, a friend of Jeff and I, had the foresight to bring a grill and make burgers for pretty much everyone. Not only were we psyched to get burgers, but now we could warm up pizza for the pros. After a short ride along the course, we picked our spot by the KOM. One thing you should know about the pro peloton is this: the guys on the front are not interested in pizza. All the other riders are wondering where the pizza is. On this day, Jeff had the pizza and, with 12,000 feet of climbing, the pros were biting.

Gregory Daniels was Ready

The Body is a Temple

Waiter!

Jeff Doing the Lord's Work

The Tour of California is always fun, but it also has special meaning for me. The tour means taking a chance and doing what you’re passionate about. It means measuring yourself against the pros times' on your local roads. It is seeing the local cycling community gather on a work day in the middle of nowhere to watch the best fly by. Most of all, it means to not take things so seriously, handout some pizza to the hungry, and enjoy life because, like any good tour, it won’t last forever.  

Written by Jonathan Perez / Sales & Marketing Development

 

The Peloton (The "No Time for Pizza" Group)

The Ultimate Chase: Jeff and Sagan

Joe's Grill: Serving the Finest Burgers & Pizza

 

Tags: california. cyclist. pizzawatts. tour of california.

 

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