These are truly community-based events. … It's exciting to see the cheering crowds on nearly ever corner. —Tour of Utah spokesman Frank Zang
SALT LAKE CITY — Eight-year-old Carson Walker shot to his feet each time he heard wailing sirens and roaring engines coming down South Temple, signaling the approach of another lap by cyclists racing in the Tour of Utah.
This is the fourth year Carson and his family have followed the race, and they came from Layton to find a good vantage point to watch Stage 4 of the race at the corner of South Temple and State Street.
The family joined those cheering and snapping photos as the racers whipped past, rounding the corner at breakneck speed and charging up the hill to the state Capitol. Racers completed five laps on the nearly 33-mile circuit, which traversed City Creek Canyon, 11th Avenue, Virginia Street and South Temple.
"It's awesome," Carson said. "They have to go up hills and stuff, and I love to bike ride."
The family began following the Tour of Utah when they realized the same riders they watched in the Tour de France and other races on TV were coming to Utah. Cheering for them in person is even better, Carson said.
"You could barely even see their team name," he said after the pack flew by.
"I just think it's cool what a big field of amazing pro cyclists come out to Utah for the race," Kristin Walker said as she waited on the curb with her son.
The Walkers hope to catch the final stage of the race Sunday in Park City.
The race seems to have grown each year, Justin Walker said, pointing out the number of people lining South Temple.
Spectators lined much of the course, and a large, loud crowd cheered for racers at the Capitol where the race started and finished.
"These are truly community-based events. It's exciting to see the cheering crowds on nearly ever corner," said Tour of Utah spokesman Frank Zang.
The race kicked off with huge momentum in its first visit to southern Utah, Zang said, and the enthusiasm has built at each stage.
"It's been the perfect combination of an enthusiastic, supportive crowd and a talented, international field of riders," he said. "The racing gets better and better as the week has unfolded."
Zang advised those planning to watch Stage 5 of the race Saturday between Snowbasin and Snowbird to arrive by 1:30 p.m. to avoid road closures.
Friday's race lasted nearly an hour and a half, making it one of the shorter stages. Closures along the race route caused expected traffic snarls and delays, but no major complications arose, Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Rosalyn Rainey said.