Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2016 Tour of California Stage 3 Summit finish

Today I took a vacation day and made my way to the top of Santa Barbara's Gibraltar Road for the finish of the stage. It was perfect climbing down low...there was a nice marine-layer (ie: clouds) over us so it was all overcast and cool, with a light breeze. The climb from the coast is about 3400 feet, but you knock out about a thousand of that getting TO Gibraltar Road. It's a FANTASTIC climb, and is rated in some roadie websites as one of the top ten climbs in the US. They repaved it in the last year so now it's even better than ever!

Eddie and I met down at the coast close to the Santa Barbara Pier (at the end of State Street) and found parking around 12:30pm. We got ready to ride, and made our way less than a mile to the Amgen "Lifestyle expo" (a bunch of tents with nothing really very interesting...ie: very little schwag). So we quickly went thru the expo and get started climbing up the hillside towards Gib road.

Of note: the roads in Santa Barbara are ANYTHING but straight and predictable...ESPECIALLY on the hillside that half of the city lies on. And I don't really know the roads that well. And so, to make Greg proud and keep the Chapek family tradition alive, I routed a small group of people on a dead-end climb that we had to backtrack down to eventually get us to Gibraltar Road. It wasn't a huge extra bit...but Eddie wasn't pleased at the extra mileage. I know if Greg had been there (had to work, along with all the other guys) he would have been happy to have extra mileage and climbing. I guess that also runs in the family...I just figure that I got in EXTRA warmup before we hit Gibraltar road proper.

There were groups of people on the side of the road all the way up...some areas not much, others were little TDF style villages. The climb on Gibraltar road actual (once you get up to it) is 10k. At about the 4k left spot there was an Amgen sponsored village area with a jumbotron and live broadcast...looked like a fantastic place to be if you weren't going to the top. But the top was the goal, and quite honestly I had a banner day. I set a new Strava PR on the climb, only it didn't actually give it to me. You see, the finish line was set up just a VERY short distance from the end of the climb segment...so even tho I had a "moving time" of 53 minutes and 15 seconds, my "segment" time for the climb was over 2 and a half hours (the entire time I was at the top). And I believe my actual time was even faster than that, as I was routed off the road a good hundred yards from the finish and onto the right side of the barricades, in the dirt (where I had to walk carrying my bike). I bet that took at LEAST 2 or 3 minutes...so my TRUE (but un-official) PR on Gibraltar climb is now around 50 minutes...sadly STRAVA still only recognizes my old PR of 1 hour and some odd seconds.

ANYWAY...enough on that. Here are some pics I took of the day.

 The only time I put a foot down on the climb was to get a quick shot of the 1k kite. I think the racers would be even more happy to see it than I was (I was climbing great actually and was really enjoying the day).

 Here's my spot at the finish. I'm actually much closer than this shot looks...if you count people along the barricade to the line, I'm sitting at about 15th. The camera makes it look much farther. And as usual, I have a dorky look on my face...(it's so bright I can't even see my camera screen..so this shot was 'in the blind').

 Do you recognize the man in the middle/bottom? It's Jensie of course!! He's the man for SURE!

 And here comes the stage winner: Julian Alaphilippe of Etixx-Quick Step.

 And here he is a meter or so from the line, quite happy to be there. Moments later he raised both arms in the air in victory. 

 And here's the man he stole the victory from: Peter Stetina of Trek. He looked to have it locked until Julian jumped over to him in the final kilometer. I was rooting for him to hold on and win...but it just wasn't to be.

And then there were the other hundred or so riders that I didn't take pictures of, until FINALLY the grupetto rolled up to the finish.

Here's the Grupetto crossing the line, almost 22 minutes down from Alaphilippe. I think that is one happy Grupetto to have this stage over with!

And that does it for my ONE DAY reporting on this years Tour of California. Tomorrow they start up in Morro Bay (not very far, about 40 miles) but the start isn't really that interesting, and the finish is all the way up in Monteray at Laguna Seca raceway. I'm only sad that I don't have NBC Sports channel to watch the daily broadcast. I herd Phil's voice when I passed the jumbotron at 4k, was wondering who had the call. But I didn't get to hear who is with him...is it Paul, Bobke, somebody else? Just curious.

Anyway...that does it for your once-a-year roving reporter. It was a nice day, and shy of crashing, I'd have to say any day riding is better than any day working. 

Later gaters!



  1. As always, loved the write-up & the pics. I was able to watch the last hour of TV coverage & looked for you but as I didn't know exactly where you were or what you were wearing, I failed to pick you out. Darn. Anyhoo, glad that you had a fab time.

    Did you see where they were selling Jensie's book? Did you buy one? I'd love to hear a review if anybody here does get one.

    The TV commenters this year are Phil, Paul & CVV. BTW, did you know Christian had moved to Greenville, SC last year? He lives near George & I think he works with him on cycling things (not sure what exactly but I think various bike trips). Is Greenville still on your 'possible' list of Winter destinations once you retire? You'd be in America's cycling mecca, well, at least the East coast version. :)

    I missed yesterday's TOC stage entirely - they must have finished early as they were standing on the podium when I got home around 6:30. I was confused at 1st & thought they were showing tape of Sagan from the 1st stage. I just printed out the stage write-up & will read tonight to see how Sagan won. Was it a sprint stage? Was he in a breakaway?

    I haven't gotten into the Giro at all this year. I see the headlines of the various articles on the 2 cycling websites I usually go to each weekday, but just don't feel compelled to read much if any. Especially once Spartacus dropped out. Speaking of Fabian, I guess the last race I'll be able to see him in (ever) is the taped coverage of the Tour de Suisse. Or maybe the Olympics. Does anyone know if he's competing on Rio?

    And hey, did you see that there are 31 positive tests from the re-testing of Beijing's samples? Supposedly, these are of athletes STILL competing & were probable for Rio. We are to find out the culprits early next month, or so they say. Whether the IOC would have re-tested or released the info about these new positives to the media without the HUGE DISASTER of the Russian STATE SPONSORED DOPING is a verrrrry interesting question...

  2. Yo Susie...didn't see anywhere to get Jensies book...would LOVE to get an autographed copy somehow. And yes, Greenville is still on my list (that it's close to Virginia is HUGE, as that's where Jeannie will be (at elast until she retires 5 yrs after I do).

    And Whaaaaattt? Russian State Sponsored Doping? How can this be? We ALL know that LANCE orchestrated the "Worlds most sophisticated doping program in the history of sports"...the Russians are rank-amateurs in comparison (add some tiny bit of sarcasm there). Gotta run..the new job calls! Glad you could drop by for a moment...been a long while since we've gotten any of your 'rants'!