30 October 2010

I was there that day on Luz Ardiden

On a mountain in the Pyrenees
In 2003 I visited France for 3 weeks and followed the Tour de France through the Alpes and Pyrenees. On a warm morning in July I rode from Lourdes up the east side of the Col du Tourmalet, descended the west side and continued the climb up to Luz Ardiden for the finish of Stage 15.
As is typical with many Tour de France mountain top finishes, the road was packed with fans that day and the last three or four kilometers to the top was closed to cyclists. We dismounted and carried our bikes along the edge of the road for a few kilometers, then found a spot on the hillside to rest our bikes and our bodies. We waited. It was a long cold foggy wait that day on Luz Ardiden. But it was a wait well worth our time.
We could see a large screen TV near the finish line and hear the French Tour commentator from where we stood on the hill. The fog periodically blanketed and revealed the screen above us as we stood surrounded in the excitement of the fans anticipating a pack of riders approaching from the switchbacks below. At the very moment the large screen again became shrouded by a cloud, the commentator gasped, and then gasped again, quickly sputtered some words in French, and then in full voice burst forth, "Lance ArmstroNG!, Lance ArmstroNG!, Lance ArmstroNG!".
What was happening? Had he fallen? The buzz in the crowd began to spread that Armstrong had fallen just down the road. We waited, the screen remained clouded over. Suddenly with a crazed angry pedal stroke and a look I will never forget, Armstrong emerged in front of us, the lone rider. Distanced from the other riders, he flew past us headed to the summit 500 meters away. Followed quickly by Ullrich, Mayo, and Zubeldia. I can still remember the unexpected look of pursuit on their faces.
It was later that night that we learned what had happened that day on Luz Ardiden; when a mussette bag had snagged Armstrong's handlebars and brought him to the ground, only to rise again in a panicked fury. I was there that day on Luz Ardiden and will never forget the competitive look of an athlete turned inside out with the raw realization of "I cannot loose".
Lance Armstrong on Luz Ardiden 2003 Tour de France 500 meters from the Finish. Photo by: PedalDancer.com
Did Ullrich wait that day, or did he not? Jan Ullrich, Iban Mayo, and Haimar Zubeldia on Luz Ardiden TDF 2003. Photo by: PedalDancer.com

A moment of surprise (this was the scene down the road)

28 October 2010

The best climbs in Europe in the Grand Tours

The top 30 cycling climbs in France, Spain, and Italy
This is a fantastic list of best bike climbs in Europe compiled by Thomson Bike Tours. Definitely one worth keeping. A dream list for those of us who love to experience climbs on a bike, and then sit back and watch the Pros tackle them on TV. Reminiscing and recognizing landmarks at every turn of the climb while saying out loud, "this is where it gets really steep". This is my kind of fun.
ThomsonBikeTours.com has now expanded their list to 50. If you would like to request a copy from them, send them your email at this link: Yes I want to tick off the best cycling climbs in Europe. 
click images to enlarge
I have completed 14 of the 30. I have a long way to go. This year a number of these climbs will be featured in the Grand Tours. So if you are not able to get over to France, Italy, or Spain to ride these climbs yourself, at least mark your calendars and tune in to listen to the cycling commentators (Phil & Paul of course) describe a few of the most wondrous places to be on a bike, on this planet.
Below are the climbs on this list above that are featured in either the 2011 Giro d'Italia and the 2011Tour de France: 

Related posts by Pedal Dancer: An Interview with Thomson Bike Tours
Best Climbs in Europe featured in the 2011 Giro d'Italia include:

Stage 14 Giro 

#1 on the list - Monte Zoncolan -
Saturday, 21 May 2011, Stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia
Location: Dolomites, north of Venice, Italy
Description: Very steep climb. #1 on the list. The last and final climb of stage 14!
Profile of Stage 14, 2011 Giro d'Italia
location of Monte Zocolan
for more pictures and maps see Pez Cycling's review of Giro d'Italia Stages 10-15
Stage 15 Giro
#25 on the list - Passo di Giau -
Sunday, 22 May 2011, Stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia
Location: north of Venice, Italy
Description: the forth of six passes in stage 15
Profile of Stage 15, 2011 Giro d'Italia
location of Passo di Giau
for more pictures and maps see Pez Cycling's review of Giro d'Italia Stages 10-15 
click images to enlarge 

Best Climbs in Europe featured in the 2011 Tour de France include:

Stage 12 TDF
#12 on the list - Col du Tourmalet -
Thursday, 14 July 2011, Stage 12 of the Tour de France
Location: Hautes-Pyrenees, France
Description: the second of three mountain passes over 209km ending on Luz Ardiden
Read PedalDancer.com previous post: Magnificent Day in the Hautes-Pyrenees (Horquettes d'Ancizan) Today I saw the Tourmalet bring a man to tears or More Pictures from the Tourmalet
#24 on the list - Luz Ardiden -
Thursday, 14 July 2011, Stage 12 of the Tour de France
Location: Hautes-Pyrenees, France
Description: the final climb of stage 12, after climbing the east side of the Col du Tourmalet!
Read PedalDancer.com previous post: I was there that day on Luz Ardiden

Profile of Stage 12, 2011 Tour de France
location of Horquettes d'Ancizan to Col du Tourmalet to Luz Ardiden
PedalDancer.com on Col du Tourmalet 2003 TDF
Luz Ardiden 2003 
 click images to enlarge
Stage 13 TDF
#22 on the list - Col d'Aubisque -
Thursday, 15 July 2011, Stage 13 of the Tour de France
Location: Midi-Pyrenees, France
Description: a favorite of the Tour de France and often included
Read PedalDancer.com previous post: Dancing on the Pedals on 8% (Col d'Aubisque) or Lac d'Estaing, Col de Borderes, Col du Soulor (Col du Soulor)
Profile of Stage 13, 2011 Tour de France
location of Col d'Aubisque
Col d'Aubisque 2005
Summit of Col d'Aubisque 2010
Stage 18 TDF

#21 on the list - Col d Izoard -
Thursday, 21 July 2011, Stage 18 of the Tour de France
Location: from Italy through Briancon, Haute-Alpes, France
Description: a distant wind swept climb with lots of flies!
#4 on the list - Col du Galibier (south/west side) -
Thursday, 21 July 2011, Stage 18 of the Tour de France
Location: near Grenoble, Haute-Alpes, France
Description: a grand climb in a spectacular setting, and mountain top finish 
Read PedalDancer.com previous post:  France Cycling - my ride up the Col du Galibier
Profile of Stage 18, 2011 Tour de France
location of Col Agnel to Col d"Izoard to Col du Galibier

PedalDancer.com on the Col d'Izoard 2007
My brother and I on the Col du Galibier in 2007
click images to enlarge 
Stage 19 TDF
#4 on the list - Col du Galibier (north/east side) -
Friday, 22 July 2011, Stage 19 of the Tour de France
Location: near Grenoble, Haute-Alpes, France
Description: following the Col du Telegraphe, a warm-up to the stage finish on Alpe d'Huez
Read PedalDancer.com previous post: Watching the Tour de France, Stage 18 and  Watching the Tour de France - Stage 19
#19 on the list - Alpe d'Huez -
Friday, 22 July 2011, Stage 19 of the Tour de France
Location: near Grenoble, Hautes-Alpes, France
Description: all the mystique of the Tour de France in 21 glorious bends
Read PedalDancer.com previous posts:  "21 levels of hell", or 21 steps to heaven or France Cycling - My Ride up the Alpe d' Huez, and also Climbing Alpe d'Huez (2013), plus Climbs of 2012 Tour de France - Alps (2012)

The summit!
Profile climb of the Col du Telegraphe and then Col du Galibier
Riding from the Col du Telegraphe to Col du Galibier to L'Alpe d'Huez
At the summit (pass) Col du Telegraphe
Profile climb of L'Alpe d'Huez
On Alpe d'Huez looking down at the town of Bourg d'Oisans.  
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer®
21 switchback corners on Alpe d'Huez - they just keep coming!
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer®

25 October 2010

Cycling Tours in Colorado

Okay let's make this clear

2013 Update: June in Colorado and the big rides begin
What is the Tour of Colorado, Colorado Pro Tour, Bicycle Tour of Colorado, Quiznos Pro Challenge, Transrockies, Ride the Rockies and all the other names in use right now to describe bike events going on in Colorado in 2011? A guide to finding what you are looking for, a list of Colorado bike tours: 
If you are interested in THE new UCI professional cycling race tour to be held in Colorado in 2011 - you want the Quiznos Pro Challenge
Race Name: Quiznos Pro Challenge
Website: http://quiznosprochallenge.com/ 
Dates: August 22-28, 2011
Location: stages and host cities were announced 11/04/10 - see the website or view the PedalDancer.com post on 11/04/10 Route of the 2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge  
Who you will see: the best ProTour Teams and cyclists in the world.
Description: 600 mile, seven day race through the most majestic and treacherous terrain Colorado and the Rocky Mountains have to offer. This is not called the Coors Classic 2011. This is not called the Tour of Colorado. This is not called the Red Zinger Classic. It is equivalent to the Tour of California, but it is called the Quiznos Pro Challenge.
Read a PedalDancer.com previous blog post on the Cities of the Quiznos Pro Challenge for more information.  
In my Opinion: Fun & excitement. The best of the best. Wouldn't miss it for the world!

Don't confuse it with The Tour of Colorado which has been a collection of local amateur and pro races in Colorado since 2008. It is not a stage race.
Series Name: Tour of Colorado
Website: http://www.tourofcolorado.com/ 
Dates: May through August
Location: various cities in Colorado
Races: The series is comprised of the Rocky Mountain Omnium in Glenwood Springs, June 17-19. North Boulder Park Criterium, July 10th. Bob Cook Memorial-Mt.Evans Hill Climb, July 23rd. Sand Creek Air Force Academy Road Race, Aug 14th (Colorado Senior Road Championship).
Who you will see: Local Colorado Category 4-1 racers
Description: The name is Trademarked by Sand Creek Sports. Overall Awards are given for accumulated points in specified local races. Tour of Colorado is a series of existing Colorado races. Some races will be permitted with USA Cycling and some with the American Cycling Association. 
In my Opinion: Just a name. They were hoping to sell the name to the Tour Organizers above, but didn't. The series matters to maybe 20 cyclists in the state who race all these events and have a chance at an award.
If you are a cyclist and interested in riding a week long bike tour across the state of Colorado, you have three choices:

Event Name: Bicycle Tour of Colorado (BTC)
Website: http://www.bicycletourcolorado.com/ 
Dates: June 19-25, 2011
Location: various cities in Colorado, usually a loop route
Route: the 2011 route was announced read: 2011 Bicycle Tour of Colorado - Route Announced 
Who you will see: 1500 amateur cyclists capable of riding 60-100 miles per day.
Description: 463 miles, 7 day fully supported bicycle tour in the Colorado Rocky Mountains over several big mountain passes.
Read a PedalDancer.com previous blog post: Bicycle Tour of Colordo - revisited 
In my Opinion:  Challenging week of long mountain passes and porta-potties
Event Name: Ride The Rockies (RTR)
Website: http://www.ridetherockies.com/ 
Dates: June 11 - 18, 2011
Location: various cities in Colorado, a loop route or point-to-point route
Who you will see: 2000 amateur cyclists capable of riding 60-100 miles per day
Description:  The Denver Post Ride The Rockies is an annual bicycle tour that takes 2,000 cyclists, assisted by more than 100 volunteers, on a 6-7 day ride on paved roads through Colorado's Rocky Mountains each June. 400-530 miles. 
Read a PedalDancer.com previous blog post: Ride the Rockies - revisited 
In my Opinion:  Very social week with 1000's of cyclists of ALL abilities
Event Name: Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour 
Website: http://www.crmbt.com/ 
Dates: August 7-13th, 2011 (4 day or 7 day options)
Location: Glenwood Springs, Hotchkiss,  Grand Junction, Gunnison, Buena Vista
Who you will see: amateur cyclists capable of riding 60-100 miles per day
Description: The CRMBT is a fully supported 493 mile road bike tour that starts and ends in the same location. Seven days of great riding in the Colorado Rocky Mountains begins and ends in Grand Junction.  
In my Opinion:  I have no opinion, I've never done it, don't know anyone who has.
*All of these week-long event rides have options for local hotels or inns, indoor or outdoor camping, or camping services. Local or catered meals. Supported with route maps, Aid Stations, bike repair service, medical services, a clearly marked route, sag vans, and massage tents. Bags are moved every day to the designated daily site, or, may be dropped at various local sites, hotels, etc.. Other services may be available.  
If you want to run across the state of Colorado: 
Event Name: Transrockies Run    
Website: http://transrockies.com/transrockiesrun/
Dates: August 21-26, 2011
Location: Buena Vista to Beaver Creek 
Who you will see: incredibly strong trail runners
Description: 200 teams of two and 50 RUN3 solo runners will take on the Colorado Rockies for a running experience like no other. During the six days of the GORE-TEX® TransRockies Run, runners from all over the world will run, eat and live together as they cover 115 miles of spectacular scenery, fully supported by a dedicated and professional Event Team who will look after all aspects of their food, accommodations and on-course support. 
In my Opinion:  My good friend Monica will be running the event this year. She is FIT!

Interested in other Colorado bike events, check out: PreRace.com

24 October 2010

More Pictures from Moab, Utah

Weekends playing in Moab, Utah

I am going to share with you more of what I would have experienced. I have collected some old photos from past trips to Moab, Utah. I thought I'd share the good side of any trip to Moab. Whether mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, rafting, or road cycling - Moab is usually pure fun. Forget about the falling off my bike last week and fracturing my pelvis in four places - today I am feeling much better thanks to my good friends who have been taking special care of me, calls from my family to cheer me up, advice from my sister-in-law who is a Physical Therapist, a few quality showers at the homes of friends, and better quality drugs!

I had a wonderful time this afternoon when a friend stopped by, helped me into his car, picked up a Latte, and then drove us around our neighborhood to look at the changing leaves and the architecture of the old and new homes. It was an awesome simple journey.

I still love bikes, and Moab.
For more information about mountain bike trails in Moab Utah: DiscoverMoab.com
Or visit Singletracks.com
To view some beautiful Photography of Moab, Utah or Bret Edge Photography
Information on rock climbing the Kor-Ingalls route on Castleton Tower
White Rim Trail Mountain Biking camp and ride multi-day trip
Skinny Tire Festival & Moab Century road cycling events
Moab Half Marathon Race Events
Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Dead Horse Point State Park
Moab Hiking Trails

Fisher Towers, great hiking
The Priest and Nuns, and Castleton Tower - which I rock climbed a few years back
Moab Century Ride. The Moab Skinny Tire Festival is also lots of fun to attend
The Colorado River
Time to play - there is plenty of sand, and some water crossings
Typical Moab slickrock
Schaefer Canyon: the start of the White Rim Trail
Miles and miles of trails and views
White Crack
The Hogback
a Slot Canyon
BBQ steaks at camp for dinner
typical camp set-up
mountain biking along the Green River

Sag Wagon support & evidence of fun
Looking over toward Arches National Park
With Christy, Susan, Kerry, (and me) last weekend