RICHMOND, Va. -- Cycling fans camped across the UCI route experienced intense moments of joy Friday, as junior women and men under 23 divisions raced the long, challenging Road Circuit course.
"They are breezing by faster than I could have imagined,” Jo Ann Rossi said.
Still, there were long stretches of waiting in between.
"I think it is exciting and a feather in Richmond's cap,” she said.
Elite riders from across the globe move across Monument Avenue, flying through the Fan and climbing the hills.
With the UCI Road World Championship races amping up to a thrilling conclusion this weekend.
"It is very special and puts the whole wide world right here in Richmond," says Carol Loupassi. "The whole wide world!"
Both hard core and novice fans, like Joyce Franklin say this experience is unlike anything they have ever seen.
"You know they say curiosity killed the cat,“ Franklin said. “Curiosity got the best of me."
Some store owners decry UCI, and say the big boon to business never materialized.
And while there will be roads blocked for two wheels this weekend, there may be traffic tie-ups if you're riding on four wheels. Road closures can be found here.
But race fans say it's a small inconvenience.
"This has been great,” Jo Ann Rossi said. "I think it is worth it,” she added. It is such a once and a lifetime thing here comes someone right now.”
Nancy and Norm Tofflemire drove 1,600 miles from South Dakota to sit front and center to watch sporting history.
"This is excellent. You get a chance to see premiere athletes from all across the world. It is special Richmond could get this," says Tofflemire.
The elite riders take the course at 9am on Saturday.