Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tour of California

Yes, it's that time of my FAVORITE times of the year. The time when the pro peleton comes to MY backyard to play.

Today they rode from Santa Barbara up and over San Marcos Pass on route 154, through Los Olivos (a mere 7 miles from the base of the awesome Figueroa Mountain), up Foxen Canyon, then Palmer Cyn Road to Dominion Blvd to Clark Ave (which is where the broadcast coverage started), down Clark and over hwy 101 and into Santa Maria, downhill thru Old Orcutt to Hwy 1 where they then go north thru Guadalupe, Nipomo, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, and finally finish in Avila Beach.

And I didn't see a SECOND of it in person. They rode by my house by less than TWO MILES (the intersection of Clark and Bradley is where I turn  off of Clark to get home from any rides that go to the east). I ride Foxen Canyon ALL THE TIME! It's truly my backyard for road riding.

Along with missing pretty much the entire ToC (thus far, and sadly the rest of it too), I'm also missing the Giro. I have NBC Sports AND BEIN networks, and my DVR is faithfully recording the daily broadcast of the Giro and the ToC, and I've seen VERY LITTLE of either. In fact, tonight after I got home from work I watched my FIRST bits of the's stage. The reason I'm missing all the bike racing is that after I got home from my Sunnyvale trip (5 weeks) I immediately started working at our payload processing center as we were preparing to receive our bread and butter spacecraft to process for launch.

That spacecraft was delivered to us last weekend, and it arrived into our processing center on Monday. Alas, I'm suddenly working 12 hour shifts nearly every day. 4am to 4pm. I have to get up around 1:50am to get out of the house no later than 2:45am, so I can be at the base around 3:15am, so I can put out my LIVESTRONG fundraising goodies at 2 of our buildings. Yes, even through 12 hour days I will keep my fundraising alive. Then after that I can get to the processing center by 3:45am for the start of my 4am shift (we arrive 15 minutes early so we can get to wherever we need to be...typically we have people 'on-station' somewhere in the cleanroom with the spacecraft, and we need to be able to get dressed out in our bunny-suits and relieve them so they can get out by roughly 4am, and 12 hours later they (hopefully) repay the favor.

After work I stop by my 2 buildings and gather my profits for the day, take stock of what I'm short of (so that I can bring it by in the morning on my way back to work), and finally head home. I typically get home around 5:30pm...spend some time with Jeannie and the babies, eat some dinner, and to bed by 7:30pm. Thus is my life for the next few months (until it launches).

OK..enough on my work-life. About today's race....GOSH! WAY TO GO JENS! Of all the days to MISS being at the finish of a race right in my home-area, THIS was the worst! Tyler was 2nd, Thor was third...WHAT A PODIUM!!! I'm DYING that I missed it! I had planned on catching the race in at least 3 locations and most likely 4. I could have seen them as they turned the corner from 154 onto Foxen Cyn, then again as they turned from Foxen to Palmer Cyn, then again as they go down Clark Ave under hwy 135, and again in Guadalupe at the sprint point (each of these intersections give me an escape road for easy access in my car to zoom to the next viewing area). In the inaugural ToC 5 or 6 years ago (won by Floyd Landis if you recall) they did almost this very route going the other way. My brother Greg came up and we caught the sprint in Guadalupe, missed them by seconds on Clark Ave, and we then were able to catch them as they came down from San Marcos Pass on Hwy 154 in Santa Barbara.

Also if you've seen the telecast of today's stage, you saw after they passed thru Orcutt onto Hwy 1 a little tid-bit of our famous winds. This is the road where they first started riding in echelon formation, and where the peleton broke apart separating the GC guys from the yellow jersey. Of note to me was how badly Phil Liggett pronounces so many things. He and Paul don't know how to pronounce the finish city (Avila Beach, pronounced "Av-il-la", but they kept saying "Av-oo-la" (makes me crazy to hear that over and over), also the sprint city of Guadalupe (pronounced "Guad-a-loop-ey", where they constantly dropped off the "ey" at the end). They need to hire someone local wherever they go to help them say the local names right. There were others in the broadcast, but I can't remember them just now....but if they were mangling this much in my little area, it makes me wonder about all the broadcasts they do of places I've never heard of. But that's was still nice to hear's the first race this season  that I've heard the full OLN/VS/NBCSPTS broadcast crew...ahhhhh!And Bobke had funny commercials too! Well, sort of funny. Hopefully they do full on crazy at the TDF.

Back to the local winds. Pro-Peleton, welcome to MY world! I deal with that wind on a daily basis! 15-20 mph is pretty normal. And it DOES shift directions quickly...which is what happened to them. It was almost a direct headwind as they were going north on hwy-1, and suddenly it shifted to a head/crosswind. That's when the alert Radio Shack and BMC squads quickly split the field. I've ridden all the roads they did from the junction of hwy 154 and Foxen Canyon to just a few miles from the finish (never yet ridden into Avila Beach). I rode a part of them just last Saturday, when we were up in the Arroyo Grande area. I do wish they'd consider re-doing this stage someday, only alter it to finish right here in Santa Maria/Orcutt...that way they could add in Figueroa Mt (it's an HC climb...10 miles up, 10 miles down, 3500'), and they have roughly the same overall miles for the day. It would be a GREAT ride for them, and many teams still come to our area in the winter and train on Figueroa Mt. And Santa Maria would offer an awesome many places to do it at, and easy access into/out of the city via Hwy 101 and 135. Avila Beach is a HORRIBLE location for a finish. Horrible for the spectators anyway...even if I had the afternoon off I doubt very much I would have made it in for the finish, unless I gave up seeing all those spots and just went straight there in the morning. There's basicly one way in, one way out. I can guarantee it was a NIGHMARE for the spectators.

But such is life. I MISSED the race of the year (for me). And alas, I must now get to bed. It's already after 8pm suddenly, meaning that I'll only get about 5 and a half hours of sleep IF I can get into bed in mere-moments, and actually fall asleep quickly.

Enjoy the rest of the race! I won't..I might not even get to see the stages, will probably have to read about them on Velo News. How sad is that?


And good-night!



    I have been able to watch the ToC, thanks to the miracle of DVR. SO EXCITED to see Jens win yesterday! And to see Teejay get the bear. That kid has a killer podium grin. Also happy to see Tyler F. get the win on Wednesday. Teejay kicked it today (Friday, TT), hell of a ride. He's really doing everything right...

  2. Aww, I was really hoping that you had had the chance to see the stage, enjoying it on my behalf! Too bad. But, maybe since it turned into such a good stage with the wind-drama, they will find a way to repeat it. Hopefully, SB and AB found it worth their while monetarily.

    I am in heaven, watching the Giro some days in the morning (internet) and ToC every afternoon. Go Cadel! (Since Ryder is out of it)


  3. Oh Matt - I cannot believe that you were unable to see the race this year!! I was actually watching for you along the road during the TT - looking for your setup taking photos. What rotten timing at work!

    JENNNNNNNNNNS! It has been such a great race so far and that was just a brilliant stage. Tejay & Tyler both look great - oh and of course Sagan. SO sad about DZ today. Horrible to be out of the race before it even starts today but more importantly this means that he won't be at the nat'l TT next week. Ack! So no Captain America this year :-(

    I've been so jealous of the folks I follow on Twitter who are out there posting pics. It makes me long for those great Tour of Missouri days, doesn't it Rae?

    I haven't seen much of the Giro at all. Sad for Ryder. But Cav is certainly settling right in at Quickstep! Another win for him!

    Sorry I haven't been around - super busy time of year.
    I thought I'd stop in to see all of Matt's great TOC pics. Hang in there Matt :)

  4. I had today (Saturday) off amazingly enough (due to a quick lull in the action at work) I slipped in a good road ride with a group I've been riding with this year. We did a 70 miler...coming home the wind was REALLY kicking it again (we seem to have gotten our March winds suddenly here in mid May...strange, and terrible). It was really whipping up on our return leg of the ride...and boy, the 3 strong guys of our small group were rocking it into the wind, while the other 3 of us hung-on in the back. Amazing how long I can ride with a quite-high heartrate as long as I'm in the draft...I guess that's why the pros like to auto-pace for training. I held on with the group until about 10 miles from home, when the shifting directions and rolling hills took their toll and I cramped, unable to hold their pace anymore. Watching the group zoom away from me was sad. Even sadder was my pace alone into the head/crosswinds. Making 12mph on flat roads seems pathetic...but the Central Coast winds (that the pro peleton met back on Thursday) were really howling. I crawled all the way home at my snails pace. But it was a great ride anyway. Tomorrow (Sunday) I'm back for a 12 hour shift at I'm watching today's ToC stage right now (well listening I mean)...I'll have to hit the sack as soon as it's over for my 1:50am wakeup. It was a wonderful thing sleeping in until 6am today though!

  5. Oh, yes, Janann, I do miss being at a race, last time was in 2011 I think. I am still sad that Missouri couldn't continue, I really enjoyed that race. Maybe California next year; this year I just couldn't pull it together (couldn't get the weekend off and lacked some energy too). Or, Quebec and Montreal! Wouldn't that be fun!


  6. PS Matt: If you visit the AToC website, there is an offer to get a free jersey by downloading a form and taking it to a Nissan dealer for a test drive. I did this last time I was there, and got a nice jersey (although, I ordered a small but a medium would have fit better-- and I am a slim woman--) Didn't even have to actually take test drive since I was driving a rental Nissan -- the dealer didn't know anything about the promotion! but signed the form for me. I want one this year too but it is only good for CA dealers.


    1. He Rae...thanks for the notice on the FREE ToC jersey! I downloaded/filled out the form, now I just need a chance to go 'test drive' a new Nissan (hopefully the Leaf...I'm actually rather curious as to how those drive). Not that I'm in the market for a new car...but I'll gladly drive one...and the jersey's are made by Pearl THAT is class! I gather from your comment to get one size larger than I'd normally wear..(I call that "Euro size"). I'll get a large and see how that goes.

  7. How about the weather in Tornado Alley the last 2 days! ok out there? I know you are in that general the big one hit an elementary horrible! So many dead and missing...just beyond words. I can't IMAGINE living in that area...but you have to live somewhere I guess...and seems like everywhere has it's plusses and minuses...tornado's really scare me though. I'll live with the threat of earthquakes any day over that. And today our winds gave us a break (not a ride day, that must be why). But never fear....the rest of the week is forecast now for over 20mph...lovely. At least it's not snow and cold I guess.

  8. @MattC Fatty Sticker on the Spacecraft! Right next to the Lockheed Decal...who'll know!

    I to was pained by the mispronunciation of spanish names by dear Phil. Though I will take that alternative any day over Bobke's mangling of French, or that Todd Godulsky(sp?) commentary that we used to have to suffer through on Versus.

    DavisLivestrong? Fatty's quiet makes me fear he will pass this year. I suspect he is conflicted about the Lance issue and wants some distance, I hope to be proved wrong. I emailed your sista from another mother recently without response, so with a month to go whoever shows up in Davis will be a core group. But there will still be PIE! And Yes, Wife#1 is amazing! I look forward to introducing her and the kids(2 legged version) to my Fatty Friends.

    If you know things about Davis email me at: David.Houston at Macys dot com
    or home Homerhouserugs at yahoo dot com

    Take care my friend ride safe.

    1. Hey David...I'm thinking that Fatty's silence to this point means he has BIG PLANS to unleash on us VERY SOON. That, or you are right. But as usual I have my rose colored-glasses on, so I'm going with BIG PLANS. I can't believe he would pass on this. He and Hammer WILL be there. Count on it.

      I also haven't heard a whisper from Angie (my sist'a from another mist'a)...but she has always come thru in the clutch with her 3+ grand fundraising (she likes to wait until the last moment). Though it is a bit disconcerting that she isn't even a MEMBER of the team as of yet.

      But no matter...Greg and I will be there, WITH bells on, and having a BLAST as always! Our team IS rather small this year. Scanning down the list of our measly 27 team-mates, I see a lot of missing names which is very sad. Maybe a lot are just waiting for Fatty to kick-start us. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    2. Matt. You look good in Rose Colored glasses. If you don't have your own I'll find you some in the Haight. I hope you're right about Fatty, but if it's only us, we'll still have a good time.

      You should take a peek at W#1's fundraising page, she has some ambitious goals! Kids are next since both the 12y.o and the 9 y.o. are hoping to complete 100m!!! They recently completed 55m at a ride in Morgan Hill w/ 2800ft so there's hope for Davis. I haven't figured out what I'm doing: tandem for 100, or ride support and motivation for the family.

      We'll have to put the 'push' on Fatty next week, and cross our fingers. Look forward to seeing you again.

    3. Guys, I find it hard to believe that Elden is suffering from any kind of moral delimma concerning the Davis event. Why should he? On the other hand, if he is having doubts, I certainly expect a mission statement or some bad poetry to help sort it out. Meanwhile, rose colored glasses for everyone! And some rosé in the glasses, while we're at it! Allez!

    4. TJ/David...I should own stock in rose-colored-glasses, as I seem to have SO many sets lying around. And I think that somehow I ended up with rose-colored corneas in some tragic birth-defect. Put on one of my many sets of RCG's and I see DOUBLE rose...which explains why it takes me twice as long as most to see the ugly truths in life. I always said I was the last person to know things...or maybe that's simply cuz I don't have a real cell-phone...(I'm one of only three people over the age of 7 in the U.S. that fit that demographic).

    5. What's a cell phone? I received a cell phone 'wallet' in my 100MoN package. Will trade for seat bag so I do not have to get a cell phone to go in it.
      @TimJoe What will it take to get you out to Davis one year? I'm sure I can rustle up a trusty Schwinn for you to ride, or there's always Black Mountain Cycles. Added bonus(???) I have a 1912 house that is calling for a little trailer park attention. Mouldings, doors, foundation.......microbrewery just down the street, and they're looking for a Full-time Deputy Brewer: though that might conflict with my house projects for you...

    6. Why David, I am touched that you would think of me. As a matter of fact, Mike has a 62cm Champagne BMC sitting in a corner getting dusty. I was supposed to pick it up a while back and pedal the 101 down to visit my son, but the trip never happened and my eternally impoverished condition has prevented me paying for the frame. (Actually, the trip happened but with drastic changes of plans that turned a bit sour. I serialized it on my blog starting with "The Wolf.")

      As for your old house, I would love to be of assistance. Logistics being what they are, however...

      I have a powerful desire to some day show up at a Fatty event and put a little Trailer Park into the party. Elden's gracious support made my TPC blog possible and to thank him in person would be an honor. Of course, me being Old Tim Joe and a true trailer park refugee anything might happen and I would be loathe to alienate what friends I have in the Fatty Nation...but then again, that has never stopped me before.

      Will there be rum?