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Old 02-25-08, 12:11 AM   #1
spingineer
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Following the Tour of California

So I did it ... I followed the Tour of California all the way down from the Prologue, in Palo Alto, all the way to the finish in Stage 7 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. One slight exception ... didn't see Stage 2. I didn't feel like driving to Sacramento.

I missed the first two years of the tour, so I decided to take an entire week off, and catch up to what I was missing. Boy, I really did miss a lot. I always thought hanging around the tour would be fun, and my experience this week solidified this thought. I better be careful that I don't quit my job and follow more tours on minimum wage. The experience had me longing for more, and now that it's finished, I am now left with the realization that I have no tour to watch tomorrow. No more cowbells, no more thundersticks, no more Rock Racing, Slipstream, BMC trucks passing through. I surely will miss it.

Sunday, 2/17/2008 - Prologue. http://s174.photobucket.com/albums/w...Ca%20Prologue/

Monday, 2/18/2008 - Stage 1. Hung out at Point Reyes Station. We were at the corner after one of the sprint finishes. The problem is, they are going so fast, it was hard to take a good picture.
http://s174.photobucket.com/albums/w...a%20Stage%201/

Tuesday, 2/19/2008 - Stage 2. Sacramento was north east of me, and I was just too lazy to go drive out there. Instead, I watched it from Adobe tracker, which was cool. IMHO, better than the Versus coverage.

Wednesday, 2/20/2008 - Stage 3. Amazing. Climbed up Sierra Rd, waiting for the pack to climb Sierra, Cat 1 hill. Also reunited with a bunch of my acquaintances I have met over the past years. Best spot was just before the top of the hill (not as crowded, and good picture opportunity).
http://s174.photobucket.com/albums/w...a%20Stage%203/

Thursday, 2/21/2008 - Stage 4. Drove down to SLO to catch the race near the finish. I figured by getting there by 1 PM, it should be enough time to get settled in. But the conditions were really bad. It was cold, rainy, windy, and the pack was waaaay behind schedule. Was expecting the pelaton to finish by 3 PM, but it did not arrive till 5 PM. As soon as they finished, it was a b-line to Starbucks. Then, after thawing out, onwards to my motel in Santa Maria.
http://s174.photobucket.com/albums/w...a%20Stage%204/

Friday, 2/22/2008 - Stage 5. Solvang Time Trial. The Time Trial didn't start till 12 noon, so I took my own sweet time, grabbing breakfast, then driving over to Solvang. I decided to ride the route, just to see where would be the best place to see the TT. I wound up staying on Ballard Canyon, just below the top of the hill. This gave me great shots, as the riders climbed up before the top of the hill.
http://s174.photobucket.com/albums/w...a%20Stage%205/

Saturday, 2/23/2008 - Stage 6. The main attraction this stage was Balcolm Canyon. It was a steep steep hill. It was short, but very steep. I couldn't complete it on my bike. I had to get off, walk about 50 yards, before re-mounting, and making it to the top. I made the mistake of sitting at the top, just before the KOM marker. This was a mistake, because it was insanely crowded up there, and the KOM judge needed space, so you could not maneuver as much. I didn't get very good pictures .. just some blurr.
http://s174.photobucket.com/albums/w...a%20Stage%206/

Sunday, 2/24/2008 - Stage 7. Rain, rain, rain. Drove to South Pasadena, then rode up to the Rose Bowl. It wasn't raining when I first got there, but just as luck would have it, the skies opened up, and it poured, right when the pelaton did its circuit laps. Meanwhile, I was getting wet.
http://s174.photobucket.com/albums/w...a%20Stage%207/

This was a colder, damper tour than previous years. The only day that was ideal was the prologue. All other days had risk of rain. My favorite days were Stage 3, and Stage 5 respectively.
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Old 02-25-08, 12:28 AM   #2
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Wish I could've joined you on top of Sierra road.

nice pics!
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Old 02-25-08, 01:04 AM   #3
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Cool way to spend a week off! And nice pics.

JB
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Old 02-25-08, 08:57 AM   #4
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If anyone else wants to do this, here are a few tips:

1. Make sure you get to your spot 2 hours ahead of time
2. For the best pictures, try arriving 100m from the top of the climb. It's less crowded, and you don't have to fight with the KOM judge.
3. Upgrade your camera to an SLR digital. My compact digital just can't compete with others with big lenses.

Of course, many of you probably already know this, and is common sense.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:29 PM   #5
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awesome ... glad to hear you took initiative. I watched tourtracker from stage 3 to the end think I was busy before that or just started watching late. Why not tour it yourself except the whole road is not yours need to be shared. Great photos btw thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-26-08, 12:01 AM   #6
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awesome ... glad to hear you took initiative. I watched tourtracker from stage 3 to the end think I was busy before that or just started watching late. Why not tour it yourself except the whole road is not yours need to be shared. Great photos btw thanks for sharing.
Congrats Ron! You're like the NorCal Magellan, with stories and Schwag from other lands. Now you have to save up and follow the T.D.F
BTW you doin the Santa Cruz ride Sunday with Alan?
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Old 02-26-08, 01:12 AM   #7
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Great pictures Ron!
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Old 02-26-08, 09:40 AM   #8
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You get the ToC FAN of the Year award!

That's dedication!!!
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Old 02-26-08, 04:52 PM   #9
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Congrats Ron! You're like the NorCal Magellan, with stories and Schwag from other lands. Now you have to save up and follow the T.D.F
BTW you doin the Santa Cruz ride Sunday with Alan?
I wish I could but I can't. I'm on-call this weekend.
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Old 02-26-08, 04:53 PM   #10
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You get the ToC FAN of the Year award!

That's dedication!!!
Thanks. It is a lot of fun. I highly recommend this for any cycling fan. I may work the tour next year, if I can rub the right elbows.
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Old 02-26-08, 05:01 PM   #11
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Great job Ron. Dedication is right considering all the rain.
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Old 03-01-08, 10:40 PM   #12
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must of been surely exciting next year I will be ther.
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Old 03-01-08, 10:43 PM   #13
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Hopefully next year will be better weather. Stage 4 was just miserable, and Stage 7 was not too much more pleasant either.
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Old 03-09-08, 09:26 PM   #14
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That sounds like quite a memorabe week. Watching on TV, we were always on the lookout for the guy in the Montana shirt wearing the extra large antlers.

By the way, what happened to the antlers toward the end of the week?
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Old 03-09-08, 09:29 PM   #15
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That sounds like quite a memorabe week. Watching on TV, we were always on the lookout for the guy in the Montana shirt wearing the extra large antlers.

By the way, what happened to the antlers toward the end of the week?
He was there at all stages. I saw him on Balcolm at Stage 6, and I saw clip of him on Mill Creek at Stage 7.
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Old 03-09-08, 11:52 PM   #16
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*stretches out* To many hours in a car to San Francisco. Well that is exciting to know. I have watched some of the coverage on vs. Otherwise ... just here.
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