Saturday, August 20, 2011

And they're OFF!

The 2012 Vuelta is underway.

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!! Go no further if you are going to watch the opening stage!

OK....well....seems the gremlins from the tour have slipped into the baggage and stayed with Radio Shack. What an opening...they come down of the ramp and Jani slips his chain! What's the team to do but wait? Klodi is still there, but they have no idea how his back will be...and if they are forced to put all their eggs in that basket this early, well...that would be a huge gamble. Great googly moogly! But hey.... it could have been much worse, as they regrouped and only end up losing 28 seconds. Other teams gremlins were far nastier...such as Team Sky's. Two of their guys collided with each other in the first k, leaving the team group with only 4 guys (they need 5 to stop the clock). 2 of the dropped squad eventually rejoined, but Wigg'O was so strong he kept riding the guys off his wheel....not exactly riding the 'US Postal' model of how a TTT should go.

And look at poor Geox/TMC....both Menchov and Sastre now 43 seconds off the front after their team finished 2nd to LAST!

But HEY!!! Look at Leopard-Trek! Winning the opening stage...(and it won't be Fabian in red tomorrow...that is reserved for a guy I've never heard of ...well, actually I have heard of him, but he's not exactly the type of rider that's typically getting heaped with glory if you know what I mean). That's kind of cool of the unknown's in red! Jakob Fulsang....he said there was no plan as to who should be in front at the finish, just do the best TTT they can. And he was in front with only 200m to go and was giving it his all, fully expecting to get passed....but no one did. And when the dust settled, they had won the day....BAM! He gets the red jersey. I LOVE IT!

Tho his reign in red will probably be short lived, being as they have time bonuses in this race...things will change very quickly I'm afraid. But every day will be pretty exciting as all the GC guys have to really pay attention to that little fact. should be quite a race, and I'm sad that I won't get to watch any (well, maybe tidbits here and there on the weekends....IF I get up early enough to catch some online).

And so....the final Grand Tour of the year is off and running. And August will be over before we know it....and it will be fall. And I'll be another year older (early Sept)...rats.

Oh well...can't stop the passing of time. Gotta go with the flow and enjoy each day as it comes. Think it's time to go outside.



  1. I have the US Pro race on Versus, and the Vuelta on Universal Sports..Directv is doing a free promotion right now. How on earth am I supposed to study for boards??

  2. Hard question Amy, that must be why I gave up such ambitions!

    Oh, and speaking of a year older......let's not speak of it.

    I hear thunder to the north, just as I was going to go out for a ride. It is muggy and overcast--those weathermen have let me down!!!


    Klodi finished way down today, I think we can't hope for a high placing for him. A pity! His back troubles must not be over, or he is going to just support Jani as the best man from the start. Same for Sastre, but really, I don't think anyone considers him a contender anymore. Jani did well today though, right up there with the bunch.


  3. I never realized how spoiled I was watching the Tour in high def. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to watch the Vuelta. No high def?! No Phil and Paul?! No thanks!! :)

  4. So glad you had a mini race report in here for the vuelta, Matt. I haven't had a chance to check out anything online about that. But...we're here in CO Springs and ready for the USPCC prologue tomorrow! (we did indeed conquer the dreaded Nebraska). It starts in the Garden of the Gods, which we hiked around a bit this evening. If you've never been here - it is quite a stunning backdrop. Should look great in HD ;) So thrilled to be in the mountains! May have to play some John Denver on our way to the next stage. Seems like people have come from all over for the race. We've already talked to folks from NY, CA, and Seattle who are here for it. Wondering if we'll run into Jason MCCartney's folks again. Alan is also from IA City and we chatted with them at the last ToM. Really hoping the race does well so that we might have a chance of keeping it here!

    I'll try to update as we go and hopefully Cathy will pop in to give us news too :)

  5. Sorry I've been absent lately; things not so good here. But reading in at the IA always makes me smile. :)

    Have a great time at the Tour of Colorado, Janann & Cathy! Can't wait to read all your updates. And I'm sorry you can't be there too, Rae. Maybe next year!

    And that was my boy THUMPER (Jakob) that put on the 1st red jersey at the Vuelta! Isn't he just too cute?!

    Did you all read Levi hadn't signed yet again with Radio Shack? Gosh, it just won't seem right if he's not there the next 2 years!

    And speaking of transfers, I still can't get over both Thor AND PhilGil going to BMC. Does Cadel only have 1 more year on his contract? Maybe they expect him to go to GreenEdge after next year & wanted to still have a packed team. For everything except the Tour, it seems fantastic for BMC, but AT the Tour? Hmmmmmm.....

    Just 1 more thing & then I have to git - I was able to watch all of the 1st stage TTT of the Vuelta Saturday on the Universal sports website after it was over. Including the entire podium stuff they don't put on TV. For FREE. Don't kmow if that was a one-time thing or not, but for those of you who can't get Universal on TV, maybe you can try that.

  6. I was reallly surprised at the PhilGil signing. And, for some reason, I felt a little unhappy with it. You know that I support BMC, just like the Shack and Garvelo, but I think I just don't like seeing any one team being so loaded. I really don't understand what they will do at the Tour next year, but perhaps they hope to control the race a bit more? And I don't see how Thor will be happy, if he wasn't happy at Garmin (although I think his big unhappiness there was a money issue, not a race logistics issue).

    PhilGil has had a fab season; I thought he was likely to win world's last year but I guess the course just wasn't for him. Maybe this year in Copenhagen? I wonder if the US will succeed in landing the competition for, I think it is 2015? Boy I hope so--I would make that my one for sure race of the year to attend!

  7. I'm SO JEALOUS Cathy n JD! Rqo of the guys I Work with are up in Denver for work right now...but for ONE little issue here at home I WOULD have been there! DAMN DAMN DAMN!!! (they've got another week to go too). Anyway, enjoy the race...should be great!

    And did you see that Ned Overend and Tinker Juarez were 1 & 2 on the Mt Washington road-climb/race? That's 2 old mt bikers kicking it up a notch! The course record is held by Tommy D (who wasn't there this year...something about some little race up in Colorado) the usual competition wasn't all there...but still, Ned is 56 years old I think, and Tinker can't be too far behind. Good for them! Old guys RULE!

  8. What the hay? Ok...that's supposed to be "One of the guys I work with"...sheesh..Mondays.

  9. Just a quick note - Frankie's back at doing the Colorado race videos/interviews! Yeah! Unfortunately, his co-hort for the preview/reviews ("Race Radio") is not James Startt this time but Joe Lindsey & there was MUCH better chemistry between Frankie & James at the Tour, but even though Joe could moonlight as a dept store manequin, Frankie is his usual enthusiastic self. LOVE him!

    And at the Vuelta - anybody know what happened to Klodi yesterday & why he lost all that time? Did he crash? I'm actually shocked that both he & Jani are there riding again so soon after their Tour crashes/injuries. Wiggins too! And when I read that Jani was at Utah with Levi last week I couldn't believe it! Don't broken collar bones take more than a month to heal?!

    Anyway, I haven't been able to preview all the Vuelta stages but I thought the 1st mt-like stage wasn't until today (Tues), so why did so many guys lose so much time yesterday? And boy, Menchov, who was specifically targeting the Vuelta this year, lost 3 minutes! I wasn't able to watch most of the Vuelta stage last night on TV, so I don't know what happened & the write-ups I've read haven't enlightened at all. So if anybody can fill me in, I'd appreciate mucho!

    And how's it going at the Col race, Janann?! Did you go near the podium yesterday? I was scanning the crowd for you on the ShackTracker website coverage. :) Can't WAIT to hear about your day!

    Oh, many years ago, when I was about 20, I took a 3 Colorado week trip & Garden of the Gods was our 1st stop. Somewhere in my house, I STILL have the t-shirt! :) :)

    Anybody know where Danny Pate is going next year? And I'm STILL just shocked/upset/depressed/worried over HTC's demise. When will cycling wake up & realize that the current INANE financial structure that allows No#1 teams like Discovery Channel & HTC to go under is FAR worse than doping to the health of the sport!

    Later gators!

  10. Wow...what a start to the race in Colo! HTC is KILLING it! And what a venue for the prologue...I've mt biked all thru the Garden of the Gods (some of the trails are 'off limits' to bikes...but being an 'out of towner', I kind'a maybe might have poached a few that I wasn't supposed to...I just couldn't resist!) It's a pretty awesome place!

    And it's KILLING me that I'm not up there! Dang...some work up there will come up real soon though, just watch.

    I'm bummed cuz big brother has the Vuelta video blocked here at work. Rats. Othewise when I'm not out and about I could have it running. Rats again.

  11. OMG! We had an earthquake 20 minutes ago! I work on the top (4th) floor of my building & at 1st, I thought it was me (I was am to leave for the Drs in 10 minutes) & then I realized it was the BUILDING!

    Rumbling, shaking, scary! Don't know how you Cali people handle it!

  12. I remember the first earthquake I ever felt--it actually was from down near the border I think, (I was in north San Diego)but I felt the little wave go through the floor under my feet-- first one foot then the other. Not a big one, but I was surprised at the sound it made. Other, larger ones althoug still not really damaging made quite a roaring sound.

    Earthquake in Colorado today too. Believe it or not, we have wee little ones here in Ohio fairly regularly.

    boy those pictures from Colorado are beautiful. My new TV is sure making a difference! Watching it now. I tried to tape it yesterday but did something wrong again--nothing but static.


  13. The news is making such a big deal over the earthquake, making it sound like it was just a HUGE one RIGHT IN Wash DC...sheesh...I looked at the map and it's a ways from DC (much closer to my bro-in-law who lives east of Richmond)....haven't heard from him yet, but they are on a farm... so other than a good shaking I'd imagine (hope) there's nothing of consequence to report.

    I'm not saying it wasn't a big deal, (and for the east coaster's who don't normally get them it's a much bigger deal I'm sure)...but 5.8? I went thru a 6.8 and a 7.0 up in Alaska..vividly remember my truck (78 chevy blazer) was right outside my base house window literally jumping off the ground as I stood inside the doorframe hanging on, as stuff crashed to the floor from the cabinets and such all over the house. But I guess any earthquake is very scary...the ground isn't supposed to move and is very freaky when it does.

    (we're all chuckling here...I guess us Cali people think a 5.8 is just a teaser..."hey...was that an earthquake or did a truck just drive by??"...JUST KIDDING SUSIE! I'm NOT making fun of you!!! HONESTLY!!).

  14. Susie - the race has been a BLAST so far! For yesterday's stage I was next to the podium where the riders come out of the tent and today I was right smack front and center. Got some good (I hope) photos of Levi, TJ, Frank. GREAT stage finish today. VN kept saying that they didn't think that there would be a selection at the end of the stage. Well, let me tell you - when we got about 5K from the finish and it started to rise up until the last pretty steep part at the end (all at 9500 ft mind you) we thought that they were dead wrong. Amazing finish by Levi, who was followed closely by Cadel, Frank, Christian, Gesink. Hooray CVV - still in 2nd place. Levi looked really thrilled today and was waving to the crowd after the finish.

    The scenery has not disappointed and the crowds have been just huge. We were going to try to make it to Independence Pass tomorrow - which everyone up here says will be THE deciding climb and may decide the overall. But....we've already encountered some less than friendly (or rational) police/security people who are responsible for road closures here. There have been a wide variety of times posted for when the pass and/or road will close to traffic, most saying around 10-11 AM. It is going to be a nightmare to get up there and an even bigger one to get down, so I think that we're going to stay in Aspen tomorrow and then watch the climb on the big screen and see the finish. It was a tough call because we planned this part of the trip around getting to the Pass, but we'd be even more upset if we got stuck in one of the road closures and didn't see the climb OR the finish!

    Funny story from the prologue. Like I said, I was standing next to the podium where the racing jerseys get the team imprints and the podium guys wait until they're called up. I was completely smashed up against the barriers with some guys bike wheel right behind my legs, but was determined to get a pic of CVV when he came out of the tent. I have my camera out, all focused in and ready for that split second when I would have a shot of him coming out of the tent before he turned to the podium. While I'm standing there at the ready for CVV to appear, someone starts tapping me on the shoulder and saying "Excuse me please" several times. Well, I tell you what, I was so completely smashed up against the barriers that I was thinking to myself "good luck buddy" and "can't you see I'm trying to get a pic of Christian here". So he taps again and I turn around a little ticked off to find that I'm looking into the face of CVV! He is so close that his hat brim is about hitting me in the face and he is trying to get through (with his bike!!) to the podium presentation. That made me laugh pretty hard. My husband told me later that he was yelling my name to try and get my attention so that I could get the heck out of the way, but it was so chaotic and loud in there (and I was so determined to get my picture) that I didn't hear him. That made me laugh every time I thought about it the rest of the night ;)

    I didn't feel the earthquakes in CO yesterday or today. Glad all is well with Susie and anyone else out there!

  15. Wow JD...too bad your Hubby didn't get a pic of YOU standing there blocking CVV from the podium... that would be PRICELESS! Great stuff...keep the reports coming! Glad to hear you are having fun! I sure wish I could have made it up there...

    "good luck buddy...can't you see I'm trying to get a pic of Christian here?" really cracked me up! I'll be smiling at that all morning!)...

  16. The earthquake--seems that a lot of people felt it here-- They said it took just about a minute for the tremor to reach us -- that is fast! I didn't feel a thing, though.

    Great report, Janann! so glad that you are having fun! That's so funny about C VdV! I know what you mean about the highway patrol; I think that this is something new to them and they may overdo it a little. They did on the big mountain stage in CA too.

    Kristin Armstrong won the women's 3 day race. Did you hear this story? One of the female pros organised it in order to take advantage of the men's race. K. Armstrong is amazing. Hope she makes it too, and does well again at the Olympics next year.

    Versus' little half-hour recap show is so good! Today is the first time I saw it. Love the interviews and footage from the cars.

    And what an awesome finish and WINNER today! Whoo hoo!
    Hope the video problems are behind us, trying to watch on tour tracker was nothing but frustration. But, I thought that SusieB's main crush Neal was doing a great job on the commentary--when he could be heard! On the other hand, P&P seemed to be struggling a bit to come up with chatter--Because the region and so many of the riders are unfamiliar to them?

    Well, J-Rod came out to play for sure today in la Vuelta. Menchov is struggling, Anton is out of it. I haven't watched a full stage yet; maybe tomorrow.


  17. Hi all! Rae - I thought that Neal was doing a good job with the commentary too! Although for awhile he was using a really low "public radio" voice that I couldn't hear all that well. Radioshack has a HUGE tent set up at each stage finish with tons of big screens, tables, chairs, etc with the ShackTracker playing. We watched the first climb today there. It made me laugh though when the noon "whistle" went off in Aspen and someone must have emailed or tweeted in that there was a tornado warning, as about 30 seconds later we heard it on the tracker LOL!

    That was a really nasty crash over the cattle guard today and that poor TT1 rider had severe face/head/dental injuries and two broken hands. I'm hoping that they find nothing more than a concussion (as if that isn't bad enough) and that he is doing OK. They airlifted him to Denver and I heard that he has to have plastic surgery for his face and surgery on one of his hands -- and they're looking for any neurological issues, as well. nasty.

    GEORGE surprised EVERYONE today! He was so excited at the finish - it was great to see. I'm sure he only thought he'd be protecting Cadel throughout the race. He was in the right place at the right time and used his many years of experience to help him make the right move. American podium of him, TJ, and TommyD - wow.

    SO very glad that we didn't try to get to the pass today. Lots of rain and cold weather up there - lots of wind and lightning at times. 5 hours in that doesn't sound fun at all. GREAT crowds up there though!!

    TT tomorrow should be super exciting! I really have been cheering for everyone who is up in the top of GC right now and would be pleased if any of them took the win and/or GC tomorrow. Or is DZ could pull it off - that would be fantastic too. I'm thinking that TJ might just want it bad enough to win it tomorrow and secure his GC. He is an AMAZING rider for 23 yrs.

    One little story. We were talking to an older couple at the race and asking them where they were from and what stages they were planning on seeing. We told them how we had driven like crazy people yesterday to beat the road closures to the finish. They just said "oh, really, well we watched the start in Gunnison this morning and then flew up here to see the finish". I told my husband that THAT is what we were doing next time ;)

    I'll have to catch up on the Vuelta when I get back!

  18. I keep wondering about those cattle guards--did they have it marked, warn the riders, let them know about it (or them) in any way? Do they use them in Europe or South America? We don't have them here, there is no open roaming of livestock.

    I do remember in San Diego county backcountry (like up in the Cuyamaca mountains) seeing some of the actual grate type guards, but more commonly just a painted cattle guard--seems to fool the livestock into not crossing just as well.

    Struggled to stay awake and watch the TT (I've figured out the taping, although it is poor quality). Jens has been doing really well this past year in TTs, for someone never known for that! On the other hand, DZ seems to still be off his game, although he always places high, he is never in the top 5 anymore it seems to me? Maybe he is still not over his injury. And WOW for CVdV, I never suspected that he could produce a ride like that! No need to say anything about Levi!

    I was wondering if any of these guys will take their good form to the Worlds. I've always been disappointed that so few of our top riders ever want to compete there -- I realize that it makes a long season, but I surely would like to see Levi compete in the TT again. Was it 2 years ago that DZ came in second (and obviously still having pain in his back from his fracture) but Levi withdrew?
    I am hearing that the road race will favor sprinters -- who do we have that could do well there?