05-16-2011 10:40 AM - edited 05-16-2011 10:53 AM
Egads, Mother Nature is sporting a wee bit of attitude this Tour, showering Lake Tahoe yesterday with enough snow that the plows were having difficulty keeping the course clear.
Here's a link to some highlights of stage 1. After the NetApp team video, there are a few further recaps.
VeloNews and Cyclingnews both had some great photos of a snowbound course, and some perilously wet turns, quite picturesque.
This morning (Monday), both sites have an update: the start today has been postponed to 1215, in Nevada City rather than starting at Squaw Valley as originally planned. This moves the course roughly two hours' cycling time ahead, down below the snow line, west of Donner Pass.
Uh, do you think that the Tour of California official website would reflect this? Um, no. In previous years, we had a live streaming "Tour Tracker", but this time around, the tracker hasn't been used. The website is bare bones, a real bummer for those of us who don't have Versus TV coverage.
Well, just after 8 am, and I found the official announcement, by clicking on "news", and simply waiting to see if the page refreshes. What kludge this time around. As race start time approaches, I hope that the official site will have better coverage...we have to wait until the rubber hits the road, I guess.
Tuesday, there's a (checking again) 60% chance of rain for the stage from Auburn to Modesto. Looks like the Bobster is going to get a little wet. I'm cycling out to Lake Camanche to watch the peleton fly by. Last year, I cycled down to the run past Livermore, climbing Mines Road for the KOM section, after the riders had passed. I missed the race by a few minutes, they were 1km ahead of me when I arrived, just in time to get rained on as well. At least, I saw the helicopter passing overhead. It was a great climb up the Altamont Pass anyway, into a 25+ km headwind.
I think I'll take the wee Clip+ along for the ride.
05-16-2011 01:06 PM - edited 05-19-2011 11:11 PM
Well, the race is on...at last. The AToC official website is FULL of 404 errors, right on queue. Great job! Last few years, they had a tour tracker that was pretty fun. Now, we have TV coverage, or so I think. NO LIVE VIDEO on the official site, just kitchy promo videos for each stage.
Cyclingnews has a live ticker running. Guess the only way I'm going to see it is to trek out in the rain. The fenders are already popped on, and I have a spare pair of socks just in case. There's been a lot of fanfare about "broadcasting to over 90 countries" now that AEG (same organization as the Tour de France) is handling the festivities. Local coverage, sure. I caught a blerb about the race on the AM radio, KFBK 1530 from Sacramento. Nothing live of course, what could I expect?
I am getting better information, live, from the UK, and I'm right here where the race is happening. Mon Dieu!
Hehehe!! It's 1400, half-way through the day's race, and the Amgen ToC page just updated. The Tour Tracker comes up as the page is opened, sponsored by Radio Shack. What a quest. Nice to see Thor Hushovd in the rainbow World Champion jersey. Cool and breezy out there, can't wait for tomorrow.
UPDATE. What a great ride. Tuesday, it was raining on the way to Camanche Reservoir, but not a heavy rain. I met with the CHP and race marshals at a good vantage point, a sharp turn. There was a brisk headwind from the south, slowing the riders' approach. Got some cool photos and video of the breakaway group and peleton. The rain stopped for about 20 minutes, just enough that the sharp turn was beginning to dry.
Running downhill and to the west, the bicycles picked up some real speed approaching the corner. Running shoulder to shoulder, they sped by up to four abreast through the turn. Fantastic!
On the return ride, I was met with a heavy loam for a few minutes, enough to flood my trip computer for a few kilometers. Loved every wet minute of it. I rode back at a more relaxed pace, compared to the "time trial" climb on the way out.
05-22-2011 12:09 PM
Here's a recap of Saturday's Stage Seven of the Tour of California.
I was working during the day, inverted under a dashboard installing a lock controller, anxiously listening to the end of this stage climbing Mt. Baldy. Thank goodness for the trusty HP netbook! it was perched on the seat, so I could glance up at the live video stream.
Fortunately, the rapture didn't happen during the work, so I can now enjoy the captured video via a handy SanDisk SD card. Between my cameras, Sansas, and the netbook, these wee SanDisk cards are popping up everywhere. I like using the little microSD adaptors, as the video loads directly in the Fuze+. Photos are fun too, as I've gotten used to using the Fuze+ as a card previewer of sorts.
The finish of the stage was a sight to behold, as Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer passed through the finish, arms raised, even managing a handshake to top off the moment. Recovering from the final sprint, the Bobster knows all too well how tough that little change in balance can be. Races have been lost as a rider simply raises his arms in celebration, tumbling as the next competitor races past.
My older legs have been talking to me these past few days, doing improvised intervals on the way home. The racing gets in the blood! Watching the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of California, one can't resist the urge to hammer a bit on the day's riding. Today's climb in the Giro involved getting a little wet (rain again).
I'll have to miss a ride with my daughters today, on their new cruisers, as Daddy has a few areas excavated in the lawn. Better get back to digging up two broken sprinkler heads before the soil gets dry, and I hurt the fresh grass. Time to grab the e200 for a little Rammstein while gluing PCV pipe, and cutting pipe to fit in those wee trenches.
Get out there and enjoy the weather! I have to finish up in time for the 1400 video feed, as today's the final stage in Thousand Oaks.
05-22-2011 04:44 PM - edited 05-23-2011 07:42 AM
I find it extremely apropos (and devilishly funny) that 2 of the most follically-challenged riders won atop Mt. Baldy.
Chris Horner Levi Leiheimer
Do you suppose the peleton saw the humor in this beforehand and let them win?
05-22-2011 08:47 PM - edited 05-22-2011 10:15 PM
It gets better, Tape! Bob Roll approached for an interview...
There was a funny moment in the live video feed when the group realized that everyone gathered was, uh, shiny on top. It was priceless. I will always remember Bob from the 7-Eleven days with Andy Hampsten. I call this the casquette era, when bright cycling caps (nobody wore helmets back then) were de rigeur cycling wear.
Come to think of it, I had better get a haircut tomorrow. Getting a little gnarly under that helmet!