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Old 02-20-08, 08:07 PM   #1
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Tour of California - Stage 3 Pics

Bostic and I were trying to arrange going up to see Sierra Rd KOM with uspspro ... but that didn't happen. I guess Marco couldn't get time off of work. So Bostic and I took off for Sierra. Left Santa Clara around 11 am.

Bunch of people convened at the base of the climb, at Piedmont and Sierra. However, the gas station didn't have restrooms ... oh well, I guess it will have to wait till we get to the top.

This is a tough hill. Had to stop 3 times, and walk it for about 100 feet, but wanted to get to the top before the pelaton arrives. I didn't want to get stuck in the middle of Sierra ... so that was my motivation to keep plugging away.

The weather was great. It turned out to be a nice day, and I brought way too much stuff with me. Had two sets of long fingered gloves, skull cap, shoe boots, fleece vest ... I even covered my saddle and bag with plastic, preparing for rain. Luckily, it didn't come, and was actually quite pleasant at the summit. I wonder how things were at Mt. Hamilton.

Stats:
Distance: 34.69 miles
Elevation Gain: 2473 feet
Average Speed: 12 mph

Okay, here are the pics:

Beginning of climb up Sierra


Bostic after hill repeats of Sierra


Spingineer relaxing after the hard climb


Nelson Vails in Amgen car, announcing latest status of race




Mavic support vehicle




Gesink leading Levi up the summit of Sierra Road. Gesink is KOM


Dave Zabriskie
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Old 02-20-08, 08:13 PM   #2
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Old 02-20-08, 08:19 PM   #3
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Paul Martens


Danny Pate and Steven Cozza


Rest of the pelaton ... that's a big break!








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Old 02-20-08, 08:25 PM   #4
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Cool shots! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:52 PM   #5
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I'm making up for the 2 years that I missed see the tour. I figure, hey it's in our backyard ... better take advantage of it.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:05 PM   #6
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Wonderful photos. And how nice to get to see the riders go by at less than a zillion MPH. Jeeezzzz. I wish I'd been there.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:09 PM   #7
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Cool. As a volunteer course marshal, I was stationed along Piedmont, in the section where they go through twice (once on the approach to Sierra, then again after they come down Calaveras). So we got to see them both directions which was cool. I scored a Team CSC water bottle and was stationed with a cool San Josť Police officer
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Old 02-20-08, 09:15 PM   #8
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You made some great shots Ron. I especially like the photo with Gesink and Levi, and the following one with Zabriskie, Horner, and the cowbell guy running along. They are worth a front page spread.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:17 PM   #9
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Very COOL ! Awsome photos!!
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Old 02-20-08, 09:40 PM   #10
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Thanks for the cool pictures!
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Old 02-20-08, 09:56 PM   #11
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Thanks for all your great comments. One thing I wish I had done was taken some video, but I had to make a decision on video or stills ... I think I made the right choice.
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Old 02-20-08, 10:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
Thanks for all your great comments. One thing I wish I had done was taken some video, but I had to make a decision on video or stills ... I think I made the right choice.
I agree. These are great -- lots of color, action, scenery, and excellent weather!

Like Curtis, I wish I'd been there, too (instead of where I was, in the rain, seeing the pack go by in all of 20 seconds).

Thanks for suffering up that climb, Ron, to get these shots. I'm living vicariously through my BF friends!
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Old 02-20-08, 11:02 PM   #13
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Awesome pics, Spingineer. I was hating my little compact camera up there, it was just too slow to catch them at the right time.
Looks like I saw you up at the top (I was the guy in the Dali-esque jersey), did you go back down a little after you got to the Specialized tent? We stayed up around there.
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Old 02-20-08, 11:10 PM   #14
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Awesome pics, Spingineer. I was hating my little compact camera up there, it was just too slow to catch them at the right time.
Looks like I saw you up at the top (I was the guy in the Dali-esque jersey), did you go back down a little after you got to the Specialized tent? We stayed up around there.
Alphamoose,
After I got up to the top, and found Bostic, we decided to go down further from the summit. After the last rider went through, we went down to the bottom of the hill. We did not stop by the Specialized tent.
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Old 02-21-08, 12:11 AM   #15
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... I wonder how things were at Mt. Hamilton.
Really great pics, Ron, thanks for sharing!

The top of Hamilton was overcast, and cool-ish (like maybe high 30s-40s). Not having ridden on the east side of Hamilton before, my friend and I rode about 5 miles down to the bridge and then turned around and rode back to our vantage point of choice, which was a couple miles below KOM #4. It was pretty lively up there, lot's of fun people to hang out with, some who had camped out overnight, like the Euros do for the Tour. Unfortunately I forgot the camera, so I just have some crappy phone camera videos to laugh at, but, for the record, I think Martens from Rabobank was leading at that point of the race, followed closely by Chechu and Levi and the rest of the first group.

An added bonus, sort of, was an interesting "guest appearance" by Tyler Hamilton, Oscar Sevilla, and Santi Botero from Rock Racing cruising by (complete w/ CHP escort, Mavic neutral sppt, and some other vehicles). I don't know how far they rode, as the real race was only about 5-10 minutes behind them at that point. Did anyone at Sierra/Piedmont see them come by?

I gotta say the neat thing about this kind of racing is that it's all "right there," right in front of you and all the stars are just about within touching range.


Edit: here's a related story from Pez, who we saw at the top and while we were riding around.

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Old 02-21-08, 12:55 AM   #16
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Cool. I was able to find some Mt. Hamilton pictures that someone in WW posted. Maybe you'll recognize these ...

http://www.svihura.com/albums/TofC20...203/index.html
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Old 02-21-08, 11:25 AM   #17
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Somebody told me that last year there was a Shimano car that was driving the course giving out free stuff. I didn't see anything like that. Did anybody else?
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Old 02-21-08, 12:40 PM   #18
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Toyota United had a car giving out thunder stixs and chalk at the top of Hamilton. No hats, no cowbells, no edible stuff... I suppose if you were lucky you could get hit on the forehead by a discarded H2O bottle.
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Old 02-21-08, 01:15 PM   #19
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Great photos. Mine from lower on Sierra kinda suck and I haven't had a chance to upload them - sorry.

Spingineer. your photos capture the thrill of the race and the beauty of the place, but they do not begin to do justice to the difficulty of the climb. This was my first time on Sierra Road, and I am here to tell you, it is a beast. My friend and I rode about half way up (more than three stops for me ) and stopped before I started barfing up internal organs. We had a great view from where we were (I even saw myself on the TV coverage ). The leading gropup was still together when they passed us, with Levi in 2nd position, and he definitely had his game face on. We made it back down to the intersection of Sierra and Piedmont in time to see Levi and Gesink blast by with the chase group a minute or so behind.

BTW, the "peloton" and the "grupetto" were one and the same on Sierra Road. The bulk of the riders were together, quite far back, and definitely in survival mode.

Also saw Tyler Farrar go by in the sag wagon. He did not look like he was enjoying himself. Too bad he got sick - this stage was no place to be if not on your "A" game.
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Old 02-21-08, 01:48 PM   #20
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Great photos! I was up there too about a hundred or so meters below where you took your pictures. It was a good time and I'll be back next year too.
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Old 02-21-08, 04:44 PM   #21
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I worked the Tour Downtown as the Tour Anti-Doping Courier. My escort was the stage winner Gesnik so I was able to get a lot of pics of the top finishers picked for anti-doping samples along with their bikes.

















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Old 02-21-08, 05:19 PM   #22
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Free samples?

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