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Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend recap and The Tour of California

Most everything went as planned. But as it it often does life gets in the way and you improvise on the fly. That's why we are so damn special.

Saturday morning started with an unknown (kind of) ride destination with Patrick from and OCVELO.
Me and Patrick never really touched base on this, in kind of assuming me would both just be @ our standard meet up point to ride in to the start location. But having had quite a hectic week I was compelled to at least shoot off a text to confirm. He hit me back saying he would be there and where were we going ? I had no real idea either, so I just packed food for a longish 70 + mile ride.
Hooking up with the large crew (LOL) 6 riders in all, and one for sure drops off before we get 15 miles out.
Normally we pick up 5-8 and even more riders from the club on the way out. But not today. Everyone had other obligations and maybe it was due to a large number defecting to one of the club members homes that is based in Claremont. They had opened there home up for a viewing party of the Tour of California and some other adult fun.
We opted out and decided the final stage would be more realistic. Plus we would get to see the start and finish.
Moving forward, we got to the first stop point in Laguna beach for regroup. The pace was quite fast for just a handful of guys. It is about 20 miles to this point and then you head up Laguna Canyon rd. A fairly fast pace climb from PCH with a false flat of a couple percent the whole way. I tried to lead that out most of the way due to having just sat in the first 20 or so miles. It wasn't a long pull more than a couple of miles or so but I kept it going above the 21 mph mark.
We then made our first right hander to a real 6 + % climb with a kick at the end. Then left on some rollers for a few miles that lead into another 4-5 % couple of miles. I was thinking crap that was allot of climbing. Then I asked where this was headed. I had never road back in this area, it is all newer builds withing the last decade or so.
I was told we had an 8 mile stretch that never stopped climbing. Some less, some more but it was long and seemed endless.
That could not have been described any better. By the time we had truly crested and started descending I was elated to know than any other climb the rest of the day would feel like flat road with a headwind at best.
Actually at mile 60 I still felt very strong and started pushing the pace on descent when we weren't hampered by lights.
But as we weaved through and got back down to the home stretch run on PCH, I realised I was pretty spent and was dreading the next 15 or so miles in. I opted out of the coffee stop for getting home and out of cycling shoes and getting in a much needed recovery drink.
At the end of the line I got in just under 80 miles. Burnt over 6000 calories and climbed about 3000 feet.  I lounged for a few and then got real and started into some projects I thought should be completed. A few hours later my wife came home and I devoured my lunch and most of hers.
 Good times, good times.

Sunday was an early day to meet up again with Patrick and Ian his son.
The kid is super cool and had some energy with his bang sticks and the cow bells they had given away, plus I think dad brought a bell for him too. He was shy at first but that didn't last long. My son is only just turning 11 this June ,so I speak gremlin pretty good. We got Shack shirts, and fingers, some water bottles etc..
We cruised around town and seen some of the heavy hitters i.e. Levi, Taylor, Tee Jay, Schlek, Christian. Too many to really name them all. However I was amazed by this guy.
Johan Van Summeren , this guy is so huge for a cyclist it's amazing. But super kind. I congratulated him on his win and his recent engagement and he seemed genuinely thankful.
Just by dumb luck and getting to this particular parking lot early (I had no idea), I parked my truck right next to where the Cervelo bus would eventually park.
I also walked into a surprise Happy Birthday for Christian VandeVeld

so that was cool. And yes I sung along.

Then the start hit and it was off to follow the mobile circus to the finish. Where by good reason they get streets opened up for parking and the general public fends for themselves. I get it, no big deal, but I got lost twice trying to estimate where the finish was and finally just found a spot, grabbed my back pack and hoofed it. I too found myself there with the helicopter coming into play and made it to the circuit just to catch the break coming through.

4 man originally with 2 others that bridged up. Then came the heat.

They were just drilling it home and there was no way that group would ever be allowed to stay out forever, but they will play it smart and not real them back to soon. When this happens you then get multiple counter attacks and it gets very disorganized. Radio shack had there #1 and # 2 in the bag and there would be no room for heroes.

The group did come back together and HTC and Liquigas made for a special,tight finish sprint with Matty Goss from HTC winning out. It was fun and I will do it again. As fun as the start was for all the interaction with the teams,riders etc.. I think I might reconsider and just hit the finish, but will see.
I believe this race is here to stay. When Ligget and Sherwen talk of this as the 3rd most important tour race of the season world wide, that is huge. I also think the Baldy climb will not be going away either.

cheers !

Always good to hang with friends, always good to watch races.

Train hard,train smart and be active.


  1. It was a great weekend but busy. This was one of those weekends when I could have used another day. Normally I don't mind Mondays but today is a little tough...

    But it's always cool to hang...

  2. So cool y'all got to do that.

    I hope the Baldy climb remains a part of it. That climb and the tons of fans along it really gave it that larger than life Tour de France feel.