Friday, July 5, 2013

Mountain time!

Well, first the bad news. Can you believe that the tour is already 1/3rd over? Didn't it JUST start?
Lots of drama as surprise thus far this year, there's no debating that. Crashes galore as usual, but I think the thing most surprising (so far) was during Stage 6. It's the first time in my memory of a pro race with NO breakaway (I don't count the one guy...he gave it a go and not ONE other  rider would go with him. It was just crazy! Sure, they're going to get caught...but just ask Jan on Radio Shack if HIS breakaway was worth it? SOMETIMES they don't get caught...and you can't guess which times that will be. Maybe with all that crosswind, a good break with 6 or 7 unknown guys all working together all the way, it could have gone the distance. But now we'll never know. 
Certainly the crashes have featured heavily...lots of beat up riders trying to survive on off the back. I must say the teams have all done an admirable job of hiding their GC guys thus far…Froome, Evans, Contador, Schleck, Ryder (cuz I can't spell his last name)…and then poor CVV and his crash…on his LAST TDF…I was really hoping he could just stay upright this year thru to the end….there’s just so many guys riding hurt…I thought sure it was his collar bone when they were helping scoot him off to the side of the road...but then a few minutes later he's up and riding..I thought sure he was gone. And then there's poor Ted Kind…yeah,'s the TDF and they have rules, blah blah blah...I can’t BELIEVE they didn’t grant him a pass on 7 FREAKING SECONDS after the TTT…I mean, come ON....he rode the entire thing solo…he could have just stopped or abandoned at the start...but no, he soldiered thru in pain for the entire agonizing distance (at a pretty fast pace mind you). If that isn’t a show of bravery and defiance worthy of allowing him a one-time gift and letting him stay in the race, I don’t know what is. I certainly don’t agree with the decision to eliminate him…I think that was pathetic judgment from whoever is in charge of that...just my 2 cents's actually worth far less than that sadly. 
I haven't seen today's stage yet (7)...just got home from work a bit was a rather quiet day (seems like there were maybe 15 of us from the typical 100 or so in my main office area...I just didn't want to burn a vacation or sick day...I had stuff to do and it was a good day for it...nobody was bothering me. ANYWAY...tomorrow we hit some MOUNTAINS...ta-DA!!! FINALLY!!! Sure, the flat stages are important, yada yada yada...what can I say...I live for the mountains. And quite honeslty, in person I detest the flat the big scheme of things I'm an OK climber, but I'm quite pathetic on the flats/rollers, and seems like EVERYBODY descends faster than the climbs are the only thing I've got going for me! The longer and steeper the better (up to a point anyway)
 Anyway....I'm assuming today's stage will be another bunch sprint....maybe their last for a while as the mountains will shed the sprinters like a duck sheds water... and we can finally see the GC hopeful’s come out of the woodwork to play. We'll also get to see how the GC guy's teams stack up in the mountains.

Hopefully everybody had a safe and wonderful 4th of July. My brother Greg sent me a link this morning of the big fireworks display in Simi Valley (his hometown) last night that went awry. The professional display started and just a few big booms after it began something went terribly wrong, and one of the big stands tipped over, firing the big mortars INTO the crowd of around 10,000. There were no deaths, but there are some severely injured and LOTS of lesser injuries...mostly from shrapnel and burns (imagine that!). Nobody he knows was there sounds like it was a real terrifying ordeal...there was some video and it looked horrible....those big mortars shooting their load parallel to the ground into the crowd...explosions everywhere...that would be SO frightening! It's just amazing nobody was killed.

OK. Summer is FINALLY upon us. Yesterday (the 4th) I had my first HOT ride of the year. I'd forgotten how bad HOT can be, and went for my solo Tepesquet ride, thinking " bad can it be?". Turns out pretty bad. I have no idea how hot it was (my Garmin 705 doesn't have temperature, though I wish it did)...but as I descended over the top of Tepesquet into the Cayuma valley it felt like I was suddenly riding into a giant hair-dryer. I got to my half-way turnaround point down at Rt 166 and stopped....briefly. It was HOT, with the heat just radiating off the blacktop, standing there was horribly I kept going just to get some tiny shred of breeze. I hit the base of the climb and knew I was in trouble....I typically do this ride with just 2 bottles of water. As I climbed I sprinted from small shade-spot to shade spot (sprinting meant I upped my speed from around 7.1mph to 7.2mph as I CRAWLED up the mountain in my granny just trying to keep the bike moving).  I finished the 2nd bottle on the climb back up to the saddle, figuring I only had about 7.5 miles of downhill and could refill at the winery....(my usual spot for hot days water). 
WELL...they were CLOSED! I hadn't counted on that at ALL....and I was totally out of water! I altered my route to cut a few miles off and take me past a small deli/market in the town of Garey...praying it would be open (if not I'd be knocking on somebody's door). IT WAS!! I was toast when I got there (the temps were much cooler on that side of the mountain, however the stupid WIND was howling...and I was about as wasted as I've been in a LONG time....holding 15mph into the wind on a 2 to 3% downhill grade was very sad. I chugged the first of the 2 bottles I bought...the 2nd went into my bottle cage for the remaining 9 miles home. The lady who sold them to me said she lives over in Cayuma...and yesterday (the 3rd) it was 120 at her house.... the hottest she's ever seen it (and she's been there over 10 years). I know it wasn't THAT hot when I was climbing (it was only 11am thankfully) but it was surely around 100 or more. I'll certainly remember that one for a while and choose my routes more carefully for the remainder of the summer...(at least until I get a little bit acclimated to the heat). The first hot ride is the hardest.
But I survived...on to the WEEKEND! 
Make it count!


  1. (I'm talking Sat & Sun, so if not yet viewed, don't read til you have).

    Sat - 1st mt was great (wow, never heard of Quintano before, seems like a mt goat, however think P2 were way too exhuberant-foolish to be crowning him the next TDF contender based on ONE mountain's efforts in ONE Tour! I'm come on, fellas!). 2nd & Final Mt - as someone rooting for AOTF (anyone other than Froome), this was awful, just awful. Visions of last year, when Sky had a stranglehold on the YJ & the race for the remaining 2 weeks flashed horrifically before my eyes. Biggest shock - seeing Contador not even keep up let alone not attack. WHO is that guy? Cadel, poor Cadel. Andy, a memory of his former self. Ryder- where for art thou? And TVG? Wow, at least Cadel doesn't have to fight for the team "leadership" this year...

    Sunday, Sunday, SUNNNN-DAAAAAY! I missed the 1st 35 minutes which apparently was when ALL the fantastic action happened! Garmin apparently attacked multiple times & Sky IMPLODED! Happy days are here again! Froome was without any teammates for the last 90k I think, although it kills me the media will make a huge deal out of that when Cadel has been left alone on EVERY mt stage in every TDF since his hostage days with Lotto. Ahem. Anyway, speaking of Caddle, he was MUCH beter today & finished in the YJ group along with Andy (yeah) & Contador. Thank God as I was beginning to think we should send out APB for those fellas.

    And yeah for Garmin & Dan Martin! The GC hopes for Ryder & Tommy D were shot in Stage 8, but Dan & the efforts of the entire team saved their Tour from being an utter failure & Dan has now emerged as their ONE GC leader. Will be interesting to see how/if they attack in the Alps.

    Ok, since I missed the 1st bit of the LIVE broadcast on Sunday, what exactly happened with SKY? Were they out front early pounding the pace up the 1st mt & just imploded? Or did the implosion not happend until they (assumedly) tried chasing down several of the attacks? I did feel sorry for Richie Porte as he seems such a nice guy & he cracked like a CARTON of eggs, falling from 2nd on GC to whatever.

    Here's what I don't understand - Movistar & Saxo, along with the usual GC suspects have Froome ISOLATED from his team with 3, count 'em, THREE, moutains to go & they DO NOT ATTACK him again until those little jabs by Quintano on the last part of the final mt. WTF?! You do all that work & you finish WITH Froome & you're happy with that?! All I can think is that all those guys were just holding on & had no energy to attack. I have not had a chance to read anything yet of the weekend's stages, but in my sofa-riding opinion, this was a HUGE OPPORTUNITY SQUANDERED! What do ya'll think? They were all just happy to be WITH Froome on the final mt THIS time as compared to the disastrous day before, this WAS a big step up, but geeze?!

  2. Here's the thing - I've watched & read less about cycling the past 10 months than in the entire past decade, since 2002. Only got to see Paris-Roubaix, 2 stages of the TOC (& the final 30 minutes of the TOC stage where Jensie ended up winning & THATwas fantastic), & about half of one Dauphine stage before I fell asleep & that was it for TV cycling viewing this year before the Tour. I also saw the last 4-5K online of a couple of the early Giro stages but then the b-ball playoffs were HEATing up & my atttention stayed elsewhere til the TDF started. I also barely read anythingt this year, usually just scanned the headlines on cycling& Velonews. SO, I'm not up to speed on all the results, forms, & gossip, but can ANYone tell me - WHO is that guy calling himself Contador?! Did he have a bad Spring crash & he's fighting injuries? Where's the tell-tale ass-swaying jitterbugging up the mts we've all come to know & love/hate?! Has he not been training properly? Is he just too old? Isn't he just 30 or 31?! Did the huge success come too early & without the huge efforts & sacrifice that most other guys have had to devote that he thinks he can just keep winning that way? I must say, even though he looked better Sunday, I am MUCH more shocked at how AC rode the 1st 2 mt stages than when he cracked during the 2011 Tour after he won that insane Giro & had the doping sword hanging over his head. You don't think this is Saxo's PLAN, do you? To trick everyone into thinking AC doesn't have it this year in the Pyrenees & then just kill everyone in the Alps? Well, it's working GREAT! ;)

    Ryder & Tommy D - what's wrong with THEM? Not too shocked over Ryder after what happened in the Giro. I think he may have some kind of virus, like Michael Rogers several years ago. Or Thor last year. (BTW, is Thor still riding or has he retired?) Otherwise, WHAT is wrong?! And Tommy D? Did he crash badly in the early stages?

    Andy - he did not ride great BEFORE his season-ending crash & pelvic injury last May, but how long does it take to recover from that kind of injury? I have no idea, but if he was back on his bike by October, I would have thought he would have been SUPERmotivated to train (even the TT!) like a demon to get back to the Tour & crush everyone. I guess Frank's doping test & suspension was a double blow with his injury that has crushed Andy mentally. Still, was very happy to see some fight in him yesterday. Y'know, we just assume all athletes are arrogantly self-confident, but for some, I think they are more fragile than we think.

    Cadel, ah, Cadel. WHY did he ride the Giro? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? That race is insane & it's been proven several times the past decade - you can't go all out & podium at the Giro & then be physically able to win the Tour. So, I wasn't exactly confident Caddle was going to even podium at this Tour, but still didn't expect Saturday. Ooof. Plus, would it be a CRIME for Cadel's team to give him help for the mts?! At BMC the past 2 years, they were great on the flat stages protecting him (George in charge) but were mostly invisible in the mts, except for TVG last year & he did NOT do a good job helping Cadel. This year, even the flat stages haven't been as strong.


  3. (CONT from above)

    Which bring me to Tejay. WTF?! Has he been sick? Did he crash hard early? Wow. He was nowhere to be seen on Sunday either which must mean he lost even MORE time & I think he lost almost 20 minutes (20 MINUTES!) on Saturday. For someone expected to have a shot at the podium, this is just disastrous. On the bright side, from the few video-interviews I've seen, he's handling it VERY well, & I'm actually VERY impressed. I think this year's experience will actually do more for him in future Tours than last year's white-jersey winning result.

    And speaking of impressed, even though I still do NOT want him to win, I thought Froome was fantastic yesterday - both on the bike & ESPECIALLY in the video-interviews after. If that had been Wiggins' team that imploded & left him alone, that ass would have stormed onto his bus, scowling at everyone unlucky enough to be in his path & in the mandated post-stage YJ media session, would have given snarky-nasty replies to every damn question. Of course, Froome did NOT actually lose any time to the other contenders, so maybe that kept the smile on his face. :)

  4. Helllllooooo all! My time has been consumed with the Tour (oh, and those 2 kids ;) and I'm just getting caught up online with Tour info. I just spent the past 20 minutes typing up a long (and I'm sure witty and insightful) comment about all of the great racing this weekend.....which then disappeared when I tried to post it. Argh.

    I don't have the patience to retype it all so here are the Clif Notes:

    Sad to see CVV go
    Garmin rocked on Sunday
    I'm for "Anyone but Froome"
    Trying to like Sky but can't
    AC hasn't been the same for awhile
    Loved seeing Andy back in the mix
    Loved seeing Jens there for him always!
    Where the heck is Cadel's team?
    Tejay showing new maturity
    Still sad for Ted King
    Love videos
    Agree with what Susie said :)

    Will try again another night and I'll remember to copy to my clipboard before I try to post! Sorry I haven't been around. Night all


  5. Make sure you view Orica GreenEdge's rest day AC/DC vidoe - so cute. Link is on cnews somewhere. And Andy is feeling better - go Andy!! And Monfort is up for the TT tomorrow. Atmosphere is good.

    Matt, my son is stationed as a firefighter at Fig station now - ride out there and say hi to him! ;-) We went to visit him one evening last week and I keep thinking - crazy bike riders climb up this!!

    Deep sadness that he knew and went to school with Sean Misner, one of the 19 killed in Arizona. A memorial service is next week at the high school gym I think.

  6. Susie, glad to see you're back in fighting form! I have to admit that after Saturday's stage (the first mountain stage) I was thinking NO WAY. Froome and Team Sky were from another planet. We've seen things like that before, and now we all know how it was possible. Then the collapse on Sunday left me REALLY wondering. And quite honestly, I'm still not sure. At the end of the "bad day" Sunday Froome lost nothing. In fact, the only thing Team Sky lost was Porte's 2nd place position. And now I can't help but seems I'm not the only one to think that Saturday was too good to be true...Maybe they didn't suck quite so bad on Sunday as they let on...just a thought. MAYBE they realized the global suspicion after Saturday's absolute demolishing of the best in the world and had to show they were human. Yeah Yeah...conspiracy theory...I know. But how on earth do we know what to believe any more?

    ANYWAY...good to see most everybody back...Cathy, my brother and I did a double Figueroa ascent back on Solvang March 10th or something like that...the 1st Saturday in march). Well...Greg did a double, and I managed a single and a very sad 2nd climb. We did both times up the Fig mt rd side (the HARD side)...Happy Canyon (the eastern side) is a more consistent climb, but when it gets hot it's like the surface of Mars back there. Being summer now it's not really a very good time for a ride up Fig...unless I have a forecast that it's going to be unseasonably cool. But I'll keep it in mind.

    Certainly can't fathom the feelings about the lost firefighters...very scary stuff they do...and very brave men doing must be so proud of your son! As we are now into our fire season I'll surely be keeping him in my thoughts.

    Sorry I'm not around as much so far this year...we're deep in the middle of our 'cycle' (the processing of our spacecraft)...this one is our bread and butter program, and I'm working a LOT of 12 hour days...get up at 2am, leave by 3, get to work around 20 after, put out my LIVESTRONG goodies for the day at 2 bldgs and get to wherever I'm working that day by 4. Get off @ 4:30, swing by both bldgs and take stock of what needs replenishment, and go home (sometimes stopping by the store to get more goodies). Repeat every day. That's my life...though only every other week...the odd weeks I'm on my regular schedule unless we have too much work, then I still get called into the 12's. I'll be glad when this one launches...but the overtime will be missed. Won't see another time like this for a few more years. Anyway...I'm glad it's mostly flat stages this week as I really have to zoom thru the recording...mostly just watch the end as I eat dinner, then go to bed. Next week I can get a little better viewing time for the final it works out pretty good overall (last week was also my 'normal' times thankfully).

    OK..gotta run..stage 10 to watch...everybody stay frosty!

    Viva le Tour!

  7. Hey Janann! So glad to hear from you & that you're watching the Tour! And yes, don't you hate when one's lengthy comments disappear into the computer! Whenever I write more than a few sentences now I copy over to an email screen before posting & if it vanishes, I copy it back & try again. Loved your twitter-version though, you got your thoughts across perfectly. Hope you'll be able to keep commenting. Either of the kids interested in the Tour yet? Probably still too young. How do you feel about bribery? See, this is why it's probably a good thing I didn't have kids. But you know, I bribed my younger sister to ride roller coasters & other big rides at the amusement parks when we were kids & she's FINE now. ;)

    And Matt, I think I agree with you about why Sky possibly "imploded" on Sunday. I didn't know the media/public was so vocal about questioning their dominance on Saturday until I read stuff Monday night. Man, I WANT to think Sky is clean & that they're so dominant because of their HUGE budget to buy the best riders & training time/methods, etc, but I just don't know. I have to say though, if the other GC guys don't do SOMEthing out of the box in the 2nd half of this race, it's OVUH! Good god, with Froome's time trialing & dominance in the mts, he could win this thing by 15 freakin minutes! Which HAS to make one wonder!

    And speaking of wonder - Mollema & Ten Dam are suddenly mt goats AND time trialing masters?! I looked at last year's Tour TT results for those guys & they lost MAJOR time, between 4 -7 minutes on each one. I realize when you are suddenly in positions of possibly podiuming (word?) in the Tour de France you would be EXTREMELY motivated & possibly ride out of your head, but BOTH of them? This actually makes me wonder much more than Froome. Also prompts a question - if the peloton is now 90% clean, wouldn't someone still/now doping REALLY stick out? Hmmmmm.

    BTW, anybody know anything about Klodi? I haven't read anything, not seen one interview (not unusual for Klodi I guess) but I haven't even SEEN him on the roads. The only way I know he's there is by looking at the result lists each day. Did he crash early? He's so far back that I'm very surprised.

    One more question - why don't more teams work TOGETHER to attack the leading team? That truly seems the only way someone beats Froome in this Tour (barring crash/injury or other disaster).