Saturday, June 16, 2012

My FAVORITE ride from home, Tepesquet Canyon

Today I FINALLY brought my camera and took a bunch of pictures of my FAVORITE local road-ride: Tepesquet Canyon (pronounced Tepis-kay). I do this ride this from my doorstep, so I have to suffer thru about 4 miles of traffic.... stop-lights, business entry-ways and such, though it's nothing that I'd consider life-threatening (I live in a town of about 90,000, and after just those few miles I'm on the outskirts of town). Not that I haven't ever had a few idiots who think they need to zoom by me and then quickly slam on their brakes and turn right (it's called the "Right Hook" maneuver). But I"m wary of this and keep a sharp eye out when I'm in traffic (cuz I HATE riding in traffic). That's why I LOVE Mt biking actually. But I digress.

Two miles south on Bradley Rd, I turn left onto Clark Ave. From here the next 13 miles are part of the Solvang Century ride which happens the first Saturday in March every year. I cross over the 101 freeway, I'm home free and in the country. An easy climb up Clark hill and then a zoom down to Dominion Rd where I turn right. From there about 2 more miles takes me to Dominion Grade, though I'm going downhill so it's quite a fun ride. Dominion T's into Palmer Canyon road which was recently re-paved (THANK THE GODS, it was HORRIBLE!) while I was on my travel sometime this year. Palmer takes me to Foxen Canyon, and from there I get out to Tepesquet Rd, which encompasses my first 15 miles (ie: my warm-up).

note: I must warn you now, this got quite LONG with a LOT of pictures. I guess that's what happens when I'm taking you on a virtual tour of my fav ride....hope you're comfy, and maybe you should have a canteen of water...OR an ice chest w/ a nicely chilled 6-pack or'll need it!)

Fair warning. On with the ride!

Here's the altitude profile from my Polar. I've edited it to show key points in the journey. And of course, the hill really isn't THAT steep, it just comes off that way in the Polar software. But it does get your attention, depending on how hard you ride it (and the temperature). The green line with dots is the temperature graph.

I'm about to turn left from Foxen onto Tepesquet. That's the canyon directly ahead at the far end of the picture, and we're looking over some of the Riverbench vineyards (Foxen Canyon has about 40 world-class vineyards on it). I'm 15 miles from home at this turn, the warmup is over. It's time to get serious!

The Tepesquet bridge. This was washed out when I first started riding Tepesquet years ago and I had to come in via a totally different route. The bridge was finished in 2009, and spans the Sisquoc river (not that there's any water in the river unless we just had some huge rains). The riverbed is QUITE wide, and once in a while we do get biblical rains and this will have water bank to bank (I've not yet seen it that high in the 10 years we've been here). At the far side of the bridge I zero my timer beginning my 'climb time' (what I consider the start of the canyon climb). To this  point from home I'm usually around 50 -55 minutes into my journey of fun. The climb to the saddle takes me between 45 and 55 minutes, depending on my level of 'suckiness'. Today my level of suckiness is at an all time high, so I'm taking pictures instead of racing.

About a mile up from the bridge I run into Santa Maria Mesa Rd (the way I came before the bridge was completed). It comes in from the left down a wicked steep pitch, and if you're on a bike you pass-thru this intersection at about 30mph, HOPING any northbound vehicles actually do stop.

The climb in the lower canyon takes me right past Kenneth Volk vineyard. 
Their wine is SUPERB! (and pricey). It was right at this spot in prior years that I've magically been out on the 'day of the spiders'. I'm not sure what's going on, but the brown tarantula's seem to ALL come out of their hidey-holes on the same day and MUST cross this road. Right here in this stretch I rode thru HUNDREDS slowly making their way across the pave. And on the way back 2 hours later there were sadly HUNDREDS of squished spiders. The first few I saw I'd use my front wheel and 'flip' the spider off the road (in the direction it was going, so that it wouldn't feel the need to go right back across). However then I started seeing more and more, so gave up that plan. I'd have been there all morning.

 Looking up the canyon. The road goes to the left of the double-peak seen behind the telephone pole. We've got a bit of SWEET riding to do before then though.

 This field was just bailed (as in Hay-bales) last weekend. Typically the home of LOTS of deer (I've counted as many as thirty). Today there's none as there's nothing to eat or lay down in.

 This field is just up from the last one, and was bailed a while back and has started to re-grow. Here you can see 3 does and a fawn (the one lying down, 2nd from the left). I see deer pretty much every ride here. I've even had them jump the fence right in front of me and clip-clop across the road and jump the next fence. They make jumping a 4 or 5' fence seem quite easy and graceful. They can also go pretty near STRAIGHT UP an embankment when spooked. I love the sound of their hooves on pavement!

 Half way up the climb is the Colson Cyn turnoff (it goes to the right, however I go straight on this ride). This is an all dirt road and goes up and over into another canyon, which will connect with a huge dirt ridgeline road called Sierra Madre Ridge. I've ridden over 50 miles of that ridge (in two different rides, as each has HUGE amounts of climbing involved). A few years back we had a huge fire back there in the Wilderness, and they were running the big air-bombers and water-dropping Sikorsky helicopters out of our little airport in Santa Maria. They fought it for over a week, and I rode Sierra Madre the next was amazing the amount of scorched land that a big fire can create.

 There are lots of "Horse People" in this canyon. I've heard there is some lady who breeds world-class Arabians somewhere on Tepesquet, though I've no idea which ranch is hers. Here you see I'm being watched as I ride. I love horses...wish we could have some. Though I'd still ride my Mt bike too. I know Jeannie would KILL to have horses again (she grew up as a "Horse-Girl" back in Ohio, didn't get her drivers license until she was 18 cuz she never needed it...she had a Arabian even).

 I've seen lots of things on this ride over the years, but THIS is a new one. A lady pushing her stroller DOWN the road, with a big German Sheppard on the leash. Not that there's anything wrong with that, however maybe she isn't privy to how people drive here. There isn't much traffic overall, some-days I hardly see any vehicles. Today I saw lots. It's a popular tourist route, and the motorcycles LOVE it. The locals drive their pickups a zillion miles an hour, sometimes pulling trailers. I've had a few scares as they are sometimes cutting corners, taking up more than their lane. And if you can see, she is walking right down the middle of her lane. Brave lady...I hug the shoulder and I'm still scared sometimes.

 Lots and lots of canopy as I ride. Also the temperatures in this canyon can vary wildly. In the winter once you pass Colson Canyon it can drop quite dramatically and be in the 40's up here in the upper half of the climb. In the summer it goes the other way and gets hotter in the top half. Today it's been rather decent....started in the 60's at the house, and low to mid 70's during most of the climb (I left the house at 8am today btw).

 A rural road water crossing. They don't bother with culverts...they just make a big concrete dip, and the water of the big storms runs right over the road. I've been up here in January a day or 2 after a big storm and it was flooded clear across (about 15' or more), and well over a foot deep, moving quick. It was quite scary to ride across actually. But we don't get rain much here, typically our rainy season is Dec, Jan and Feb. After that any storms are just a blessing.

 Out of the canopy for a while, it's getting hot quick. Temp is now suddenly in the 90's.

 The final turn before the top: the big switchback. The turns on this road typically have a bunch of gravel flung all over the apex from idiots who can't seem to drive on the pavement...but all my rides here thus far this year the road has been spic-n-span clean (which is AWESOME for the descent!)
 Out of the switchback, the road then veers left which is the FINAL turn before the summit. The pavement is actually pretty decent on this entire road, however recently they've done some repairs and we now have a bunch of "Tar Snakes", which can be deadly when the temps hit triple digits.At this very spot I saw my only Mt lion 3 years ago. He was loping along on the left edge (headed uphill) and seemed unconcerned with my presence, his long tail swishing as he loped. Then suddenly he (she?) went right up that embankment (and over the barbed wire fence at the top) as easily as I walk up 2 or 3 stairs. That bank is about 30' high and nearly straight up btw, the picture doesn't show the scale very well. Then next year after the rains I was seeing 2 sets of lion tracks on these upper parts of the climb: a big set (mama) and a little set. They'd go right up the shoulder for a ways and then disappear. Any Mt lions in this area must be quite wary and avoid people and livestock, or they'd be quickly hunted and killed by the locals. I think it's real cool to know they can live here in harmony with the people.

 And this is the top of Tepesquet (I call it "the saddle"). Woo-HOO! The orange pylons are sectioning off the road to just one lane off to my right, where the winter storms from this year (which I missed as I was in England) washed out the bank right up to the edge of the pavement. Not sure when it will get repaired, hopefully before our next rainy season! The top is right at the V in the middle of the picture. The altitude at this point is around 2100' (Foxen Canyon is about 700' down at the base of the canyon).

 Looking down the other side, where it gets REAL FUN! The climb up from Foxen is 10 miles, with the majority done in the final 5 miles. On THIS side it's a 3 mile descent of 1100 feet, then a 2 mile ride to the turnaround point.

 Speaking of the turnaround point, here it is...where Tepesquet "T's" into Hwy 166 (which is NOT a good place to ride a bike, at least not if you like to live anyway). Notice how there aren't ANY pictures during the descent. That's cuz it would be hard to stop from 30mph or so to take one, let-alone to be gawking around at the scenery as you descend a super-windy steep road with HUGE embankments to fly off of.

 Heading back towards the climb after the turnaround. Notice the windmill on the right...don't see very many of those anymore.

As I had stopped to take the picture of the windmill, I heard some noise behind and to the right of me...and these 2 wild turkey hens just climbed right up the bank and crossed the road (arguably to get to the other side?) They seemed not to notice me at all, as I was just standing there quiet with my camera. I see wild turkeys all the time on this ride. 

I even have a pretty good "Tom" turkey call, which makes the turkey-boyz come-a-running during THAT time of year. I've seen cars stopped on the upper reaches of the climb as a few hens are browsing over 3 or 4 toms, all fluffed out and marching around trying to impress the ladies, smack-dab in the middle of the road. Seriously...I've got a pretty good "gobble-gobble-gobble". But it involves flinging my face back and forth quickly, making my 'jowels' flap around (much like Hooch flinging drool all over the place in the Tom Hanks movie "Turner and Hooch") which is what creates my extremely authentic turkey-talk . If there's ever a turkey-call contest, I think I'd do quite well. Maybe I should apply to one of those talent shows (or not). Don't think I could bear to having Howard Stern criticize me (THAT would be the ultimate 'Pot calling the kettle black'!) Not really a Howard Stern fan, and it bothers me since XM and Sirius merged to think that he's getting some of MY money (I've had an XM subscription for about 10 years now). Oh well..can't blame him for getting a huge gotta love Capitalism and a free country!

 And here we are at the start of the climb back to the saddle. It gets somewhat steep from here, averaging about 6-7% grade for the 3 miles to the top. And during the summer months once you leave this canopy it gets HOT HOT HOT! Today it's right at 99 as I start the climb (about 10:30am).

 Just past the signs is the first switchback. This climb isn't messing around, tho it's a great climb and a BLAST to descend (ESPECIALLY since there's no road debris in the apex's of the turns this year!) If only I could be assured there were no vehicles! (the tighter the turn, the more honest you need to ride it, as there could so easily be a vehicle cutting the inside as it descends...I've had one or two SUPER scary moments here...but never an actual incident). I can't fathom why a vehicle would cut the another vehicle on a blind-turn when you're in their lane and it's game over, probably for BOTH of them. Yet they still do it.

 A view of what it looks like with no canopy and the temp now at 103. Thankfully today I'm taking pictures and doing a "just smell the roses" ride (mostly as I was sick all week, and the bug is still in my I'm just out to get in a ride and hopefully fling out some goo on the way).

About half way up, another good switchback. Again, typically LOTS of gravel in the apex but NONE today once-again!

 More full-sun climbing, nearing the top now thankfully. The tar-snakes are alive and well suddenly, as the temp is holding at 101 (meaning the blacktop is MUCH hotter than that).

 Here's a shot looking down at some of the twisties near the bottom of the descent.

 VERY close now to the top. Ahead the road turns left at what I call "summit-turn". Once you get there your pain is almost at an end, as it's a nearly straight shot to the top.

 Just past Summit Turn, nothing but tar-snakes to stop you now! I typically do this 3 mile ascent in 20 to 22 minutes. Today that was not the case, but I did enjoy the climb (stopping for pictures was a good idea!)

And I'm back at the top (in a mere 100 yards I mean). I always pull off the road on the left in a small blob of shade after this climb, to eat a snack and drink about a half-bottle of water. After this begins the descent back down the front-side, the top 5 miles of which are an absolute BLAST! There's only 2 turns sharp enough that I need to come out of my aero-bars and use brakes on, the rest is a blitz at whatever speed I can maintain (depending mostly on the wind). If there's no headwind coming up the canyon it's near 40mph most of the way. However I've descended this at 18-20 due to horrid winds, and when they are high up this far it bodes VERY BAD for the return once I leave the canyon and turn west for home.

 I'm now out of the canyon and past Foxen Cyn onto Palmer Cyn rd. Here they again laid some new blacktop while I was away. THANK YOU GOD! This section was absolutely of cobblestone intensity before the new surface. Every year there is a road-race on this very road, the Sisquoc Classic. It's a bunch of college teams, and they do laps until somebody dies (I think). The road was THAT BAD! They will be pleasantly surprised the next time they race! I know I'm almost always fighting the wind during this leg and bad pavement is just adding insult to injury. Now I only have the wind (and my lack of conditioning) to blame. If only we could lose the wind...I'd LOVE to be able to lament that my lack of conditioning was the ONLY reason I'm slow thru here.

 Nearing the end of Palmer Cyn (at least as far as I go anyway) and the beautiful new blacktop. After this it's pure CRAPTOP for the rest of my ride home.

 Here you can see the CRAPTOP pavement. This is Dominion Rd (and Grade) which turns right from Palmer Cyn. This little grade is always a soul-crusher after fighting the wind the last 7 miles or so...but I've only got about 8 miles to home from here!

At the top of Dominion Grade this herd of cows is always hanging out. You just don't see many cows (of the female variety) with horns anymore. Not sure sure exactly what kind they are, but I am assuming they are milk-cows. Which means this rancher is very brave! I think if I were milking cows, I'd want them with NO horns. And these aren't just any horns..they're a pretty good span, and SHARP.

 Turning left off of Dominion onto Clark Ave. My home stretch. Clark Hill has about a 3% grade, which is no big deal, except for a 10+ mph cross/head-wind nearly every time I ride. It's the Hand of God pushing you back, slowing you down. It's very frustrating I can tell you.
 In case you don't believe me about the wind...this is just off the road to my right (so I'm pretty much riding directly into the Hand of God as usual).

 The false summit and real summit of Clark hill. You can't see the final summit (up past the trees) from the Dominion / Clark only see this false summit. It's crushing to get up here in all that wind and see you aren't actually at the top. False summits (and the wind) are PURE EVIL!

 Just below the real Clark Hill summit, looking back. That's Tepesquet Cyn nearly dead center in the pic, a brown hillside slanting down left to right with dark brush and such above it (which is on the hill on the other side of the cyn). In this pic it looks a LONG ways off...but in reality it's only about 10 miles from here.

And my final picture: looking down the other side of Clark Hill into civilization. Near the bottom of the picture there is more new pavement, which crosses the 101 freeway... and just like that I'm almost home. Cresting Clark hill is quite a thrill to my weary legs, as this downhill is a 30mph burner, even into a head/crosswind. The only danger here is turning REALLY need to keep an eye on them! From here it's only 5 miles to home, and it goes by VERY quickly! In fact, I've timed this section and it's 12 minutes to my driveway, depending on how many red-lights I catch.

And there you have it: a pictorial review of my most best-est road-ride (that I can access from home anyway). I've been meaning to do this for years now, and today seemed like a good day. My little bug I picked up last weekend is still with me, residing in my chest yesterday and today. I feel much better though, only the coughing is the problem. I believe I finished today's ride minus one lung, part of my liver, and also missing my pancreas, gall bladder AND spleen...all of which have been hacked out somewhere on the pave. But I feel better tonight than I did this morning, so maybe going out into the heat doing 60 miles is a good thing.

I hope to kick this bug completely during the coming week, as next weekend is LIVESTRONG Davis! My brother Greg and I will be driving up next Friday morning, getting there in time to help our "Sist'a from another Mist'a Angie do her grocery shopping for our Team Fatty takeover of the Cycling Hall of Fame (which goes down Friday evening). Saturday will bring a fun short ride somewhere, along with much coffee and hanging out in the LIVESTRONG Village, and then the Awards banquet Sat evening. I don't know if I'll be going to the banquet for sure this year or not...I didn't do very good in my fundraising, being gone 4 months of the year thus far. But I've done what I can (and I won't stop fundraising after Davis either...I keep putting out my Muffins, Bagels, Fruit, and Yogurt at work all year long with my profits going to LS). And Sunday is THE RIDE. This year they've cut out almost all the climbing (WHY?) on the's under 1000' now. I don't get it. Who wants to do a FLAT century? I might just ride the metric with my Sist'a Angie (while I'm assuming Greg will get in a FAST group and shoot for a sub-5 hour 100 miles). I'm just there to have FUN! And eat PIE! And BRATS! And re-aquatint myself with Team Fatty..which is a WONDERFUL group of people!

And so...a few things before I close this GINORMOUS'ly LONG post. I see they (USADA) are going after Lance. I won't go into that much here, as there are so many places that discuss stuff like this (especially over at Rant's place!)...but WHAT a waste of our tax dollars IMO. And I'm constantly flabbergasted by people who are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN he was a doper. I mean, I can see having 'suspicions' and such, but to be SURE? What is the evidence? You know, that pesky thing called PROOF? I sure hope I'm never accused of any crime and THESE people are on my jury...I'd like to think in THIS country we are innocent until PROVEN guilty. And obviously he's never been proven guilty, or this wouldn't be happening cuz he'd already be in jail and had his TDF titles stripped. I say everybody needs to take a chill pill and wait and see what's PROVEN. Just a thought. No vigilante hangings please!

And FINALLY...the Tour Divide race is still on-going (here is the link again):

OMG is this SUCH an INSANE race! The 2 leaders are past Rawlings Wyoming today and going strong, so far on pace to beat last years mens record. And Ester Hornayi...she is on pace to KILL Jill Homers womens record set back in her 2009 ride (of which Jill wrote an AWESOME book detailing her struggle called "Be Brave, Be Strong"). I peek in on the map a few times a day and just MARVEL at the inhuman-ness of these folk. The 2 leaders are riding almost 180 miles a day...which is just BEYOND INSANE! They will be entering Colorado tomorrow (where it gets REALLY hard!), having passed the half-way point (around 1300 miles) sometime yesterday. I just peeked...they're over 1550 miles and going strong (at 11:35pm Wyoming time btw!). I used to think the TDF (and the Giro, and the Vuelta) were the hardest races in the world. I've changed my mind. THIS is far and away harder. And it's SELF-SUPPORTED! Carry your own stuff. Find and BUY your own food. Fix your own bike, or carry/push it to a shop (wherever that might be) if it breaks. Ride as long as you want. Sleep (or NOT apparently) when you want. And try NOT to die. Just amazing!

And with that I bid you good-day (night).


  1. Holy cow that is a great ride in pictures, Matt! Do you stop and take all of those pics or are you really good at doing things like that on your bike? I, myself, can barely get my bottle to take a drink and put it back without crashing, but you are probably much more talented than I am :) HOT ride though. The heat gets to me - though often its more the humidity that gets to me here I guess.

    I was gone at a technology conference last week and am just catching up on the TdS on my DVR tonight. WOW that was a good race at the end! The first stages were just ridiculous displays of all of the ways in which Peter Sagan can destroy the pro peloton in a bike race (even Fabian in the TT!!). Frank is looking good and Tommy D & Levi are looking pretty good too. CANT wait for the Tour!!

    I saw that Chris Horner made it to the Olympics at last! GO CHRIS! And a lot of younger guys :) I never thought it would happen, what with his outspoken nature about the politics involved in Olympic team selection over the years.

    At the technology conference I had a class that was using Twitter, so I was logged on. An hour later I glanced down and saw that it said I had 369 new messages - in ONE hour! I couldn't understand what could possibly be going on til I got home and found out what was going down with Lance. Now even my friends who have absolutely NO interest in cycling are asking me about it....I haven't read a whole lot yet and I'll refrain from commenting yet. Will be interesting regardless. Just saw that DZ, Levi, George, and Christian had asked that their names be removed from Olympic consideration. wow. Whatever happens with this case, I think it will have a huge impact on the sport.

    Hot humid nights, fireflies, crickets, black raspberries - summer is certainly here. Enjoy :)

  2. Horner's on the Tour team! So is Jens but no Thumper (Fuglsang). Johan is not listed as a "director". Hmmmmmmm. Been reading so much crap flying around about this team lately, don't know the truth about anything. But here's my theories - So as to not have ASO kick RSNT out of the Tour, Johan won't be daily involved at the Tour. This could be pushed by Becca too. Did you SEE that statement on the RSNT site last week after the Lance/Johan sh*t hit the fan? Man, if they tried to distance themselves any faster, they'd have run Johan over with the frickin bus. And let's remember about the "untouched" Leopard guys (pre-Johan) - they were on CSC when BASSO was barred from the Tour for the OP DOPING link AND there is an actual $10,000 check from FRANK to that OP doctor for "training". Yes, I ALWAYS get my bike training advice from a gynecologist, don't you?!!! Kettle, pot...

    Anyway, more theories - (1) sponsor Radio Shack really wanted at least ONE American on the Tour team; (2) Johan & this team needs some American support right now & putting Chris on the team at least calms down all the fanatics who were trashing Johan something fierce last week on various comment sections (ooof, nasty!); (3) without Andy & now Frank anouncing he does NOT want to be the GC leader as he won't be able to "hold his form", WHO exactly WILL be the team's Tour GC leader?! BTW, WHAT FORM?! Frank was put into the Giro at the last minute so he was NOT at peak form for it & then he dropped out early due to crash-injuries. And since the TOUR is the main goal, why would he get himself into peak form for the Suisse?!! Is this sandbagging? And there I was last night watching the Tour de Susie thinking Frank was doing the team proud by giving it a go on that last HC mt. I actually thought I'd probably have to, gulp, root for him this year as he was on Johan's team and "COMING INTO FORM" nicely for the Tour.

    Hey Janann - the impact of Lance's current mess will be that there will be LESS TV coverage of cycling in the USA than there is now. It will not affect the EUROPEAN POWER-BASED sport at all, except make it even smaller here. Perhaps Johan won't be involved but would THAT "clean up cycling"?!! I read that Manuelo Saiz (sp?) is getting back into managing a team. He was the guy running the team that was the focus of OP....

  3. Hey Susie..thanks for being so prompt on the info...I read just this morning that Horner was still HOPING to get on the Tour I read the GOOD NEWS here FIRST! SWEET!!!! It would be a TRAVESTY to leave him off! And hey...if Frank doesn't want to be the GC guy, then Horner it IS! The one and only! Wouldn't THAT be something! The ENTIRE team working for him (like in the ToC last year). This might be his best shot ever...I hope he's up for it! It will be pretty cool having Frank AND Jens working for Horner! I'm stoked!! BRING IT!

    Strange stuff w/ the Johan/Lance thing...quite honestly, I hope when the dust all finally settles, that Lance puts a counter-suit on the USADA and makes THEM unable to do THEIR jobs for a while as they deal w/ the mountain of S#%T that he flings at them. You know...the shoe on the other foot and all that. But that would be assuming he wins this suit that they have filed. At least it's in US Court vice a sham WADA/USADA Tribunal/Firing-squad (oops...I meant Arbitration hearing). We shall see how this goes when the prosecution actually has the burden of PROOF in a court of law! At least he'll finally get his day in COURT (supposedly).

    I wish ALL pro sports would magically be transported under the WADA umbrella...THAT would really take the heat of cycling I suspect...US Football, Basketball, Hockey, Baseball, and international Soccer (football). Can you imagine the mayhem? Cycling would fade into the background I suspect...(no PROOF of that mind you...just an OPINION...much like everybody that already has Lance convicted).

  4. When the story about the charges broke, it was on the MSN front page with a link to a commentary on Fox--who called cycling the "dirtiest sport" !!!
    Whaaat?? does he really think all those baseball and football players were born with those physiques? Why doesn't anyone remember that more than cyclists were involved in OP?
    SusieB, I really needed your eloquence to put that guy's opinion in its place!


  5. Hey everyone! Only 10 days until the Tour! This means up early every single morn to watch and write, then off to my regular job. It also means going to bed around 9:30 every night so I don't collapse! But hey, it's the Tour and it's the best, so get ready.

    I think we have a good team going but not really a GC team in general since Andy is out (didn't the Vuelta suddenly get more interesting?!). I think we will be in the hunt for stage wins. There are over 100km of TTs this year and that means Klodi and Fabian can shine on those days, plus Jens is good, but I think we'll be using Johan's tactical mind to find other ways to win stages. And he is the team manager, not a team director. So all the hype about him not being listed as the director is really a mute point. He's never listed as a director.

    SUPER happy for Horner concerning the Olympics. We texted after he was notified and he was over the moon. He will actually be a great road captain for the young riders he'll be with - he can be the brains, they can be the firepower.

    It's all good!

  6. Yo Cathy, welcome back! Long time, no hear! Glad to hear you are busy, and things are good w/ the team. I'm REALLY gonna be rooting for Horner this year! SO Great he was selected for both the Olympics AND le Tour!

    And HEY! The Tour Divide race...the 2 race-leaders (Craig and Ollie) crossed from Colorado into New Mexico today, and they are just a few miles short of 2200! Man are they on FIRE! Now they only need to cross the entire state of NM and they are DONE! (I thought the race was 2600 miles, but peeking back in at Jills book, it's 2740 miles (or at least it was in 09, every year there are prob small diffs due to route changes). They will have climbed OVER 200,000' when they get to Antelope Wells NM, likely in about 2.5 days...just UNBELIEVABLE!

    And Estzer isn't that far behind...she's over 1900, and just blitzing the womens division (and is currently in 8th place OVERALL!

  7. It is not on the same level of amazing that the tour divide race is, but the Race Across America is just passing through Ohio these past and next 1-2 days. I had hoped to get down to the route to see if I spotted anyone (and give encouragement) as they pass through Oxford -- but won't be able to.

    Hi Cathy, hope that you will be able to drop in more! Although can see that you will very busy this next month. Yes, delighted that Horner is going to both the tour and the olympics! Hoping that his form is as good as he says and can pull off at least a top ten (I would hope for better, but don't want to jinx him) while working with Jens and Zubeldia to get a good placing for Frank (who doesn't sound like he really wants it--sandbagging?)
    Sadly, I don't expect much from our olympic team, but I will be cheering them on all the same, and glad that he FINALLY gets to go. Maybe he will have a little firepower! Oh, and I hope that your cousin is progressing in his recovery.

    It is HOT this week--mid 90s! Yow!


  8. Rae...the RAAM is an AWESOME race! I've been so absorbed in the TD that I forgot it was going on! Not sure if she's racing this year, but a local girl's team has won it a few times...the team event would be hard enough, but the solo entries...much like the TD...insanely hard, only diff. The speeds you hold are much higher being as they are on road bikes, but the solo riders go like 23 hours a day w/ no sleep...I've heard of them falling asleep on the bike and going right over / thru guard rails and such, or ride right off the road.

    I'm fascinated w/ these insane races, as I would never be able to do them (I'd be crippled sometime during my first 15 hour my neck hurt LONG ago in the Navy, and even after a measly 5 hour ride I'm really ready to be done).

    Happy Friday! Greg and I are off to Davis in the morning...I'll try to do an update if possible, but the hours will FLY by I'm afraid. Not sure if Lance will be there or not..I'd assume yes, but you never know. Even so it will be an AWESOME weekend!

  9. Johan will not be at the Tour...

    My head is about to explode just THINKING about what's beginning this weekend. Olympic Trials in Track, Swimming & Gymnastics ALL week. ESPN's X Games. Wimbledon. And then the TOUR! In one week! Get your TOUR TALK PANTS ON for next week! Whooo-hoooo!

    Matt - love seeing where you ride. Had NO IDEA you were so close to the country! And I think those cows are some breed of beef cattle. BTW, I've never seen a road wash-off like that before! That looks dangerous - water rushing down that hill would sweep a car right over the edge! Why don't they have a railing?

    Anyway, have a great time at the Livestrong event & say 'hey' to Fatty for us!

    And hey Rae - I support dope testing in sports but the disparity of the testing & punishment between the Olympic-type sports & the BIG MONEY pro sports is absolutely heinous. More & more I actually think it's a CONSPIRACY ('look over there at all the dope cheaters while we keep doing what we need to do...'). WADA has been trying for YEARS to "take over" the drug testing in the big pro sports but we are MORE likely to be hit by an asteroid. Bottom line (& it's ALL about the bottom line) is that the big money sports fan wants to see their players make plays. WHATEVER it takes. Ingest whatever, shoot up whatever. Just stay on the field & be spectacular. And WIN.

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