14 May 2015

The moving of a Time Trial

Can you host a Time Trial in 48 hours - please?

And make that a time trial course which is part of an American Tour UCI 2.HC stage race. With 18 teams of 8 riders each and lots of support cars and personnel, team buses, supply trucks, VIP tents, sensitive timing equipment, TV trailers and cameras, a LOT of fencing, and an entire Expo "Lifestyle Village". We'll need numerous new volunteers and plenty of local police. Oh and don't forget to tell the caterers we moved to another city 2.5 hours away! And the neighbors, we gotta tell the neighbors ... a time trial will be in town all day this Friday during normal business hours.

Can you imagine? Only Santa Clarita, California would say - sure, we can do that.

Amgen Tour of California is moving their time trial! Official Press Release

Stage 6: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake (ITT) CHANGE OF LOCATION TO Santa Clarita (route map to be announced on May 14th). 
  • Weather forecast for Big Bear: windy, rainy, thunder, possible snow, highs of 50˚
  • Weather forecast for Santa Clarita: rain and scattered rain, 53-65˚
They moved it down a mountain and two and a half hours away and it will still rain on the time trial, but I am certain all the support trucks and the riders will be much happier at lower altitude. A place where all can safely stay overnight in a hotel and not have to navigate up a snowy mountain side, in a bus, to race a bike outside in very cold windy conditions.

The look of Santa Clarita
The look of Santa Clarita - it's relatively flat and dry
Santa Clarita, California

If you have to move such a huge operation as a pro cycling time trial, Santa Clarita is probably the city to help you out. Did you know that Santa Clarita has been a Host City for 7 out of 10 years of the Amgen Tour of California, sometimes hosting two stages in a year.

ATOC 2015 - Santa Clarita - Stage 5 & 6
ATOC 2014 - Santa Clarita - Stage 6 & 7
ATOC 2013 - Santa Clarita - Stage 3 & 4
ATOC 2011 - Santa Clarita - Stage 8
ATOC 2009 - Santa Clarita - Stage 7
ATOC 2008 - Santa Clarita - Stage 6 & 7
ATOC 2007 - Santa Clarita - Stage 6

Santa Clarita was not a Host City for the inaugural Tour of California in 2006 - which started in San Fransisco and finished in Redondo Beach - but the city quickly became a staple location of the race in following years. We all know people make a city, and so I'd like to give high praise to city officials and race organizers for being gutsy enough to change plans and keep everyone safe. I imagine them working around the clock to pull this feat off.

Last week I drove through three snow storms from Colorado to California to get to this race, but I was not looking forward to driving up that mountain in a California spring storm. A mountain I am familiar with, yet I was terrified of that drive as a child (I am a native Southern Californian); they did the right thing by changing locations.

Let's all go to Santa Clarita! and Mt Baldy! and Pasadena!

Location of Santa Clarita in California
Location of Santa Clarita in California


About Santa Clarita

Santa Clarita is the third largest city in Los Angeles County (mostly because Los Angeles County is made up of a lot of cities). In the 1800s, this was gold and railroad country, as mission and ranch land spread across California. Oil was soon discovered in the area, followed by Hollywood movie sets and bigger stars. In 1928, the second worst disaster in California history occurred in this area when the St. Francis Dam collapsed and spilled its waters all the way to the Pacific Ocean near Ventura. With a warm dry Mediterranean climate, Santa Clarita is one of the top areas in the nation for wildfires. It is also a very well organized city to be able to organize resources for an event like this in two days!

Please come out and show your support for this very hospitable city.

Stage 6: Santa Clarita, Presented by Lexus
  • Friday, May 15 – Santa Clarita Individual Time Trial
  • Start Location: vicinity of Santa Clarita (to be announced May 14th)
  • Finish Location: vicinity of Santa Clarita (to be announced May 14th)
  • WOMEN Start Time: 12:30p.m. 
  • WOMEN Estimated Finish Time: 1:06 p.m.
  • MEN Start Time: 1:00 p.m.
  • MEN Estimated Finish Time: 3:42 p.m.
  • Miles: 306 mi
  • Kilometers: 10.6 km
  • Elevation Gain: minimal
  • Website:  www.amgentourofcalifornia.com
  • Lifestyle Village open: 11:00a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (located near finish line)
Stage 6: Santa Clarita Time Trial Maps and time table
Santa Clarita Time Trial route map 2015 Tour of California
Santa Clarita Time Trial route map 2015 Tour of California
Stage 6 Profile Map
Stage 6 Profile Map

More about the new course

Short, 6.6-mile time trial set for Amgen Tour at Six Flags By Caley Fretz of Velo News


Road Closures near Magic Mountain for Time Trial in Santa Clarita

Road closures will be in effect Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on:

- Feedmill Road;

- Southbound lanes of The Old Road;

- Turnberry Lane;

- Southbound off-ramp from Interstate 5 to Rye Canyon Road.

For more information, visitSantaClaritaTourofCA.com.

2015 Tour of California route map


Men's Race Route Maps 
Women's Race  

The enormous amusement park of Magic Mountain is near Santa Clarita
More Race Information at the Pedal Dancer Guide Page: TOUR OF CALIFORNIA

07 May 2015

Favorite Photos From Tour of California 2014

Sharing the Photography of Willie Reichenstein

For the past three years, Willie has come out to help me photograph the Amgen Tour of California. Today, to get in the mood for bike racing in California, I thought I would share some of his photographs from the 2014 race. The Tour of California starts this Sunday in Sacramento!

Read more at Pedal Dancer Guide Page: TOUR OF CALIFORNIA

© All photos by Willie Reichenstein of Stage 7, Amgen Tour of California 2014.

CALIFORNIA


Start of Tour of California























Thanks Willie!

05 May 2015

Complete Start List for Tour of California Announced

Guess who is in town to race a bike?

This is a good list of pro riders for 2015. Look deeply and you will see a deep field of riders that will be heavily involved on different stages of the tour.

There will be seventeen teams with eight men each. Yes, there are some big names returning to race in California, but let's just start with my favorites:

Mark Cavendish, Robert Gesink, Laurens Ten Dam, Mark Renshaw, Peter Sagan, Matthew Busche, Alex Howes, Martin Velitz, Marcel Kittel, Robin Carpenter, Eric Marcotte, Lawson Craddock, Sep Vanmarcke, Michael Schär, Jasper Stuyven, Danny Van Poppel, Lachlan Morton, Kiel Reijnen, Danny Summerhill, James Oram, Bernie Eisel, Ben King and Ted King. With best hair award to Daniel Oss. What a list!

Update: Marcel Kittel will not be racing in California in 2015, nor will Bernie Eisel. But Cav will be!

Check out the complete roster of riders announced today: Roster of Mens Teams and Riders for the 2015 Tour of California OR the reliable list from Pro Cycling Stats, an excellent website.

Read the official Press Release by ATOC: Star-Studded Peloton to Feature Cavendish, Farrar, Gesink, Kittel and Sagan which categorizes the best bets for overall GC winner, sprinters, climbers and time trial specialists.


Mark Cavendish returning to race in California!
Mark Cavendish returning to race in California! Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
My favorite photo I took from the 2014 Tour of California. Photo by Karen Rakestraw for Pedal Dancer®

Ben King - Pedal Dancer
Ben King will be racing in 2015! Ben King lead the circuit into Pasadena in 2014. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Peter Sagan - Pedal Dancer
The mighty Peter Sagan will return to challenge Cavendish in the sprints. 2014 Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Who will wear this jersey in 2015?

Amgen Race Leader Jersey

This will be year 10 for the Tour of California. Here is a photo collection of some of the riders who will be at the race this year; looking back at the race over the years.

All Photos by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Mark Cavendish with Mark Rensahw at the 2009 Tour of California
Throwback -- Mark Cavendish with Mark Renshaw at the 2009 Tour of California.
Marcel Kittel at the Tour of California was in 2012
The last time I saw Marcel Kittel at the Tour of California was in 2012, he went on to become a really big deal.  Update: Marcel Kittel will not be racing in California in 2015! But I'll keep his photo here in case he comes back in 2016. .
Remember when Robert Gesink won the 2012 Tour of California?
Matthew Busche at the 2010 Tour of California.
These are the legs of Alex Howes at the ATOC ITT in 2012.
Lawson Craddock at the 2013 Tour of California
Jasper Stuyven at the 2013 Tour of California
Ted King at the 2013 Tour of California. He is retiring this year :(
Danny Von Popple - Pedal Dancer
 Danny Von Popple at the 2014 Tour of California.
A young Peter Sagan at the 2011 Tour of California. He also went on to become a really big deal. 
And Tyler Farrar wins the sprint into Santa Barbara in 2013.

Talk about 10-years of attending this great race in California... here I am with my sister-in-law Suz, with Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen in Solvang in 2009!

Suz, Phil, Karen, and Paul at the Bulldog Cafe in Solvang. An old favorite hang.

Tour Tracker - follow the race while at the race: tourtracker.amgentourofcalifornia.com
Pedal Dancer® 2015 Posts about the race:

04 May 2015

Aero at Altitude: The Big Bear Time Trial

2015 Amgen Tour of California Men's and Women's Time Trial

* IMPORTANT NOTICE - the Men's and Women's Individual Time Trail has been moved from Big Bear to Santa Clarita (the finish of Thursday's Stage 5). The route maps will be announced on Thursday, May 14th. Official Press Release

Stage 6: Santa Clarita, Presented by Lexus
  • Friday, May 15 – Santa Clarita Individual Time Trial
  • Start Location: vicinity of Santa Clarita (to be announced May 14th)
  • Finish Location: vicinity of Santa Clarita (to be announced May 14th)
  • WOMEN Start Time: 12:30p.m. 
  • WOMEN Estimated Finish Time: 1:06 p.m.
  • MEN Start Time: 1:00 p.m.
  • MEN Estimated Finish Time: 3:42 p.m.
  • Miles: 306 mi
  • Kilometers: 10.6 km
  • Elevation Gain: TBD ft
  • Website:  www.amgentourofcalifornia.com
  • Lifestyle Village open: 11:00a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (located near finish line)
Stage 6: Santa Clarita Time Trial Maps and time table
Santa Clarita Time Trial route map 2015 Tour of California
Santa Clarita Time Trial route map 2015 Tour of California
Stage 6 Profile Map
Stage 6 Profile Map

More about the new course: Short, 6.6-mile time trial set for Amgen Tour at Six Flags By Caley Fretz of Velo News


Road Closures near Magic Mountain for Time Trial in Santa Clarita

ROAD CLOSURES

Road closures will be in effect Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on:

- Feedmill Road;

- Southbound lanes of The Old Road;

- Turnberry Lane;

- Southbound off-ramp from Interstate 5 to Rye Canyon Road.

For more information, visitSantaClaritaTourofCA.com.


- - - - - - - ORIGINAL POST, THE TIME TRIAL WILL NOT BE IN BIG BEAR - - - - - - -

This was the lake of my childhood. I fished and swam in this lake as a child with my brothers and friends. It was the place where my family rented summer cabins. At age four, I learned to ski at the local ski resorts. My parents later bought a share in a cabin at nearby Lake Arrowhead and we spent our summer weekends water-skiing and boating on that frigid lake. I can't wait to return to Big Bear, to combine memories and bike racing.

The individual effort given in the flat and fast Big Bear Time trial will indeed be a good day of bike racing and a highlight of this year's Tour of California.

The overall winner may not be decided on Stage 6 in Big Bear, but the loser could be. There is more to loose than gain on a 15.1mile, 30-minute individual effort. The times of the Top 20 across the finish line at Pine Knot Marina Jetty will likely be very close. All that stands between an expected time and disappointment is an off day, a bad start, a shaky corner, a fall or a mechanical - and there goes your race with only two days remaining to battle back. And a very tough Mt Baldy scheduled for the next day.

I do like the catchy name the locals came up with: Aero at Altitude. Big Bear is at 6,750ft. I live at 5280ft in Denver, so the altitude shouldn't shock me too much. 

The day at the lake on Friday, May 15th, should be an entertaining full day of people and bikes from 9am to 5pm. With a couple traffic jams thrown in for fun. Below I have compiled what I have learned about attending Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California at Big Bear Lake.

SPECTATOR TIPS AND GUIDE FOR ATTENDING STAGE 6 IN BIG BEAR

Course Description: 

The ITT will begin in Big Bear Village. The riders will proceed along the shore and the Stanfield Cutoff across the lake to Fawnskin where they will turn around to retrace their route back into Big Bear to finish at the Marina Jetty. It will be a flat and fast course - rider times will be very close.

Estimated Schedule of Events - STAGE 6 - May 15, 2015

5:00 AM - Road Closures begin (details below)
10:00 AM - Festival at Start and Finish areas open to public; Expo / Beer Garden open
10:00 AM - VIP tents open
11:00 AM - Women's race starts
12:47 PM - Men's race starts
3:50 PM - Estimated Finish of Men's race (final rider)
3:50 PM - Awards at Podium
4:00-4:30 PM - Festivals closing
5:00 PM - Full road closures end

Tour Tracker - follow the race while at the race: tourtracker.amgentourofcalifornia.com

Big Bear Lake: I fished and swam in this lake as a child, and learned to ski at the local resorts at age 4. I have fond memories of Big Bear.
Stage 6: Big Bear Lake, Presented by Lexus - The Race
  • Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake Individual Time Trial
  • Start Location (start ramp): Village Drive & Bartlett Road
  • Finish Location (finish line) : Pine Knot Marina Jetty
  • WOMEN Start Time: 11:00 a.m.
  • MEN Start Time: 12:47 p.m.
  • MEN Final Rider Finish Time: 3:50 PM
  • Miles: 15.1 mi
  • Kilometers: 24.2 km
  • Elevation Gain: 750ft
  • Website:  www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/stages/stage-6 
Rosters (not start lists)
 Stage 6: Big Bear Time Trial Maps and Time Table
Who will win?

Tom Zirbel (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) won the Redlands Bicycle Classic Stage 2 Time Trial this year in Big Bear, so his odds are very good. Tom is a power time trialer and this course suits him very well.

Rhea Shaw (BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental) won the women's time trial at the recent Redlands Bicycle Classic in Big Bear. Kristin Armstrong won the 2014 women's time trial of Amgen Tour of California, Amber Neben was second in 2014. All three women mentioned will be racing in this stage. 

Women's ITT

The women's race is a sanctioned non-world cup UCI 1.1 designated race. The women will race on the same course as the men with equal prize money. The 2014 women's Individual Time Trial in Folsom, California, was won by Alison Powers; Brianna Walle took second and Tayler Wiles earned third. This year only Wiles is back on the roster to compete, but Kristin Armstrong will be racing.

Twenty-three women will compete in the time trial. The women's roster is here: Women's Roster for Tour of California Time Trial

Tips to enjoy the day in Big Bear - things to know about Stage 6
  • Aero at Altitude is what they are calling the race locally. Starting at the ski Village in Big Bear the race finishes in the Marina. Big Bear Time Trial Video promo.
  • Park n' "Ride": Local organizers are encouraging spectators to bring their bicycles to ride into the village area. Valet bike parking will be available once you arrive.
  • Most of the riders will begin in 1-minute intervals, with the final riders beginning three minutes apart.
  • The starting order of riders for the men's race will be the reverse of the overall GC standings from the day before results from Stage 5 into Santa Clarita. The starting order (with racer, team and bib #) will be published the evening of May 14th.
  • Race organizers expect the riders to take about 30-minutes to complete the full course. Their speed is estimated to be between 26 and 30 mph for the ITT.
  • Almost the entire route is out and back, affording views of each racer passing twice.
  • The team buses will be located near the start area along Bartlett Rd in the Village. You can see the riders warming up on their bike trainers pre race. Lots of fun to cruise the buses to see your favorite riders. 
  • The entire course will be fully closed to traffic. There will be designated pedestrian crossing points manned by volunteers who will open the crossing only when safe.
  • Jumbo-tron screens will also be available in the Village and Lifestyle Expo areas to watch the race.
  • The Expo and Beer Garden will be located along Pine Knot Ave.
  • Fans will be able to walk back and forth between the start and finish along Pine Knot Ave. 
  • There will be a FREE bike valet at Robinhood Resort located between the start and finish at the corner of Big Bear Boulevard and Pine Knot Ave.
  • Big Bear has a unique opportunity for Bike Clubs to sign up for a 10x10 tent space near the Team Buses.
  • Course-side viewing and picnicking can be found at Meadow Park (seen on the map below) where you will find picnic tables and a play area. Go early to reserve your spot.
  • You can use the Alpine Pedal Path on the north side of the lake to get to prime scenic viewing spots. The Alpine Pedal Path is 3.2 miles one-way and stretches from the Stanfield Cutt-off to the Serrano Campground.
  • The racers will first pass along the top of the campground on their way out to Fawnskin and return below the campground, on North Shore Lane, on their way back. 
  • Riders will make a 360-degree reversal of direction in the Fawnskin Triangle in the center of Fawnskin town. They will have to slow at the turns - which makes for good viewing.
  • If you want to ride your bike to the end of the course in the neighborhood of Fawnskin, it is best to ride 8-miles west, around the lake, using Highway 18 west and then 38 north. Allow 45-60 minutes to navigate.
  • Cars can access the turn-around in Fawnskin the same way - from the west on 38. Leave early to avoid traffic and find the best parking. 
  • The podium is at the end of the jetty.
How I like to see a time trial:
  • I print off the start list the night before so I can tell which rider is coming next (It will also be available for view on your phone on Tour Tracker). 
  • I arrive early.
  • I always park where it will be easiest to exit/leave after the race. Parking should be most convenient for leaving the event, not for arriving at the event. 
  • I like to get their early so I can easily walk around and find all key locations. Where is the start ramp, the team buses, the finish line, the podium, and how can I easily get back and forth between these places. 
  • Next I take the time to grab a local coffee or snack. I people watch and soak in the atmosphere.
  • I look at the course ahead of time to decide which side or corners will afford me good photos.  
  • I like to stop by the team buses to see the mechanics line up the bikes for the riders and check out the equipment each team will be using. 
  • I will watch from the barriers or meander through the Expo for the first group of riders. Chances are, the best time trialers will be in the middle of the start list or the last of the list. By the middle of the pack, I want to be at the team buses to watch these key riders warm up. Then I might be at the start ramp to sense their nervousness and see them take off. By the last 10 riders, I want to be near the finish where I can watch the times; and near the podium.
VIP Tickets and Jens Voigt Meet and Greet
  • If you have VIP tickets, be sure to follow signs to VIP parking. VIP tents are located along the last meters of the finish. VIP tickets may be purchased for $199 each. Buy VIP Tickets to Big Bear Time Trial. VIP tents open at 10:00AM 
  • You can meet Jens Voigt -- maybe. There is a waiting line to meet him. But try your best online, by watching a screen constantly refresh... and then ... I have no idea what will happen but it will take your billing information and let you know if you have a ticket. Buy your ticket to meet Jens.
How to get to Big Bear (courtesy of BigBearTimeTrial.com)
  • Highway 210/330/18 (busiest route from Highland and San Bernardino)
  • Highway 38 (slightly longer route, but generally less congested)
  • Highway 18 (Crestline/Lake Arrowhead)
  • Highway 18 (from High Desert and Las Vegas)

Road Closures for the Big Bear Time Trial (courtesy of bigbeargrizzly.net)

Emergency vehicles will not be affected by road closures.

The first road closure begins May 14 with Pine Knot Avenue from Village Drive to Big Bear Boulevard closing at noon and remaining closed through the length of the event.

From 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. road closures will take place on Village Drive, Pine Knot Avenue, Big Bear Boulevard between Paine Road and Knickerbocker Road, Bonanza Trail between Village Drive and Big Bear Boulevard, Bartlett Road, Badger Lane, Cottage Lane, Lynn Road, Croft Lane and Beaver Street. Pine Knot Avenue between Pine Knot Landing and Big Bear Boulevard will also be closed during this time along with the north side of Big Bear Boulevard between Knickerbocker Road and Knight Avenue.

Roads affected by closure between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. include Alden Road, Knight Avenue north of Big Bear Boulevard, Park Avenue between Knight Avenue and Swan Lane, Swan Lane and Fox Farm Road between Park Avenue and Sandalwood Drive, and Sandalwood Drive from Fox Farm Road to Big Bear Boulevard.

The north side of Big Bear Boulevard between Sandalwood Drive and Stanfield Cutoff is also closed during this time frame along with Stanfield Cutoff, North Shore Drive between Stanfield Cutoff and the Fawnskin Triangle, and North Shore Lane.

Other related closures include the Big Bear Discovery Center and Bear Valley Unified School District. The Pine Knot Landing boat launch and the East Boat Launch will not be available on May 15.

All public facilities, parks, the post office and businesses will remain open although those in affected areas will require walking from outside the area to reach the destination.  (courtesy of bigbeargrizzly.net)

Watching Stage 6 on TV

NBCSN will broadcast the time trial on Friday, May 15 at 2-4 p.m. PDT on NBCSN.

Big Bear Maps in photos (click to enlarge)

Big Bear time Trial Access
Big Bear time Trial Access - these main roads highlighted in green will be fully closed.
Bige Bear Lake Time Trial route map
Bige Bear Lake Time Trial route map - Tour Tracker route map
Tour of California Stage 6 Map 2015
Tour of California Stage 6 Map 2015   © AEG Cycling  
Stage 6 Time Trial Profile Big Bear 2015 ATOC
Stage 6 Time Trial Profile Big Bear 2015 ATOC
South shore of Big Bear Time Trial area
South shore of Big Bear Time Trial area

Start and Finish area of Time Trial Big Bear Lake
Start and Finish area of Time Trial Big Bear Lake and location of the Expo, Beer Garden and Festival
Start and Finish area set up for ATOC Big Bear Stage 6
Start and Finish area set up for ATOC Big Bear Stage 6
Big Bear time Trial Serrano Campground
The racers will ride above and below the Serrano Campground.
End of ITT Course Stage 5 Big Bear
End of ITT Course Stage 5 Big Bear
Wrapping it up

The individual riders will ride in team cars, or ride their bikes, to their hotels or will retreat inside their team buses immediately after their race. Once a rider races, he is whisked away to begin his recovery process for the next day - the tough climb up Mt. Baldy. For the women, this is their final day of racing.

The Podium presentations takes place immediately after the finish of the race and only lasts about 20 minutes. If you can, make your way to the podium to see the celebration. The podium is at the end of the jetty. The traffic jam can wait.

More from Pedal Dancer®

For more information about the Amgen Tour of California, read: TOUR OF CALIFORNIA

For more information about the timed event ride (race for some) for amateurs taking place on Mt Baldy on May 16th, read: L'Etape California 2015

Pedal Dancer® 2015 Posts about the race: