30 April 2011

L'Etape du California 2011

Citizens can ride a stage of the Tour

2014 News: 2014 L'Etape du California
2012 News: 2012 Tour of California route announced, ATOC dates: May 13-20, 2012. The 2012 L'Etape du California will be held April 28, 2012. Amateurs will race Stage 7, the exact route has not yet been published, but please read more at: L'Etape du California is back for 2012.
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Etapa, étape, stage, whatever your language, riding a complete stage of a Pro Tour race is a big deal. This year as part of the Amgen Tour of California, the above-average citizen cyclist can participate by riding one complete stage of the Tour of California. The citizens race, called L’Étape du California, is scheduled 14 days prior to the day the professional cyclists will race the same route. 

L’Étape du California is for "serious recreational cyclists," and will take place next Saturday, May 7, 2011.  Which stage will it be? Stage 7, from Claremont to Mt Baldy, Miles: 74.2 KM: 119.4. 

The ride is based on the same idea as the very successful L’Étape du Tour, held in France every year and organized by the organizers of the Tour de France. The original Etape attracts over 10,000 participants, this year two routes are being offered in France (L’Étape du Tour mondovelo Act I and L’Étape du Tour mondovelo Act II)

Although the Tour of California is now 7 years old, this is the first year the organizers have provided cyclists the opportunity to ride a complete stage in California.

What is unique about riding in an Etape? Citizens may ride the exact same route that the professionals will ride on May 21st at the Amgen Tour of California, there will be a mass start at 7:00am, there will be KOM/QOM targets and prizes awarded, the roads are closed for rider safety (just as they are on the real race day), and cyclists wear timing chips. A meal and musical entertainment are provided after the ride. 

My brother is registered to ride L’Étape du California next Saturday. He has now completed 5 days of recon on the route, to train on and ride all sections in different segments. He has also completed the Etape du Tour in France, and admits this stage is tough and could result in a serious gap on race day for the pros. The section of the road from Baldy Village to the ski lifts climbs of over 2,000 vertical feet in just 4 miles. Total climbing is 11,610 ft in 76.2 (+2 for the Pros).

Stage 7 is a real stage, it is not easy, even at the lower number of miles. It is steep. I am excited for the Étape, and to watch the climb on ATOC race day. The profile map states 8.9% grade on the last climb to Mt Baldy, but there are 12-15% sections on the climb. My brother said he recorded a 2.8mph and a 17% reading one day he was on the climb. He took a picture of the 15% grade sign on the climb (below). 

There is a lot of open space in these hills above Los Angeles. Located in the San Gabriel Mountains, Mount Baldy (Mount San Antonio) is 10,068 ft (3,069 m) and the highest point in Los Angeles County. The mountain gets it's name from the lack of trees at the top (similar to Mont Ventoux!) and is a ski area (similar to Col du Tourmalet).

Registration for L’Étape du California is still open, the cost is $115. You get a medal upon finishing the race. The full Tour of California will be May 15-22, 2011. 

Some pictures from my brother's recent reci rides. He said, "I didn't take as many as I wanted to, but then again - I was dying":

Here is a Mt Baldy ride profile on STRAVA by Bruce Gustafson
Mt Baldy profile (but this does not follow the exact route of Stage 7)

The Mount Baldy climb is one of the most difficult in the LA Area with 4600 feet of

climbing in 13 miles. The last five miles are extremely steep with an average of over

8% and some 15% sections.

Post post 05/08/11:
Results from the 2011 L'Etape du California. There is someone with the name of Dave Zabriskie that came in 8th. hmm.
Dave Flores Sports Photography
L'Etape Facebook

29 April 2011

Wildflower Triathlon - Go!

Good luck Kenny!

Kenny swims, bikes, and runs. Kenny is also my nephew, and is featured in this year's Wildflower Contenders to Watch article by SlowTwitich.com for tomorrow's Avia Wildflower Triathlon (Professional Long Course) in California. Last year Kenny won the Olympic Distance overall race, but this year the long course 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run is a whole new game. Good luck Kenny - you are ready and awesome!! And good luck to Kenny's sister Kristina racing on Sunday!

28 April 2011

Word of the Day: Passista, Scattista, Velocista

These Italian words of the day are inspired by the Giro d'Italia
Passista: powerful all-rounder 
Scattista: pure explosive climber 
Velocista: sprinter
A Grand Tour Passista (all-rounder) - Italian Ivan Basso, the winner of the 2010 Giro d'Italia
A Scattista (explosive climber) - Italian Marco Pantani
A Velocista - one of the best sprinters of all time - Italian Mario Cipollini 
The Giro d'Italia begins May 7-29, 2011
Recon photos from Team RadioShack in the Dolomites on the Passo Giau on April 15-18th.
 2011 Giro Promo Video (00:34 Music) — ciclismomadeinitaly
Percorso 2011 Giro d'Italia

26 April 2011

Tour of California - more pictures

A picture is worth 1,000 words
How exciting it is to have pictures to bring back memories of being a fan at a race. I admit I am now torn between relishing the moment and not taking pictures, or trying to capture the moment in digital format. Most of the time when I am being a fan out on the road, and the lead pack is coming straight at me, I choose to lower my lens and instead look in the faces of the riders. I want to feel the excitement, try to gauge how they are feeling, who looks strong, who is suffering. The experience passes so quickly. And yet I look back at these photos and realize - I was there, I was right there! What wonderful memories.
A few more pictures from 2010 ATOC, Stage 7 ITT in Los Angeles (I found on my iphone)
Mark Cavendish signing autographs
Radio Shack's Trek 2010 Time Trial bike
pretty relaxed around the BMC team area
BMC 2010 Time Trial bike

Pictures from the 2010 ATOC, Stage 8 in Westlake Village, California
Mark Renshaw relaxing
Laps at the finishing stage in Westlake Village
2010 National Road Champion - George Hincapie
Vaughters runs in loafers
Team Garmin celebrates on the podium in 2010
Michael Rogers! wins the 2010 Tour of California
Zabriskie and Leipheimer have known each other a long time
Johan Bruyneel wrapping up after the Tour
a Radio Shack team car - quite a bike rack
Dave Zabriskie legs - back in the bus
3 more weeks and there will be more pictures from this year's race ....

25 April 2011

Tour of California - revisited

More pictures from the 2010 Amgen Tour of California
I still have a number of pictures that I took while at the race last year that I have yet to share.  These are pictures I have not used in other blog posts to date. With the start of the 2011 Tour of California race less than 3 weeks away, this might be the time to pull out last year's album. The images are presented in the order I took the photos. What a day it was. All Photos by PedalDancer.com
Pictures from the 2010 ATOC, Stage 6 in Palmdale, California
Tom Boonen
Tom Boonen
Philip Deignan!
Rory Sutherland
Alexander Kristoff
Christopher Butler
Pictures from the 2010 ATOC, Stage 7 ITT in Los Angeles, California
The day of the Individual Time Trial in Los Angeles
Tom Boonen and his Quick-Step teammates weigh in their bikes
Fabian Cancellara on the start ramp
Bernhard Eisel
more Mark Cavendish legs
more Mark Cavendish
Manuel Quinziato and his music
Matti Breschel
Lance Armstrong and Chechu Rubiera
Andy Schleck
The BMC team are powered by Pop Chips (click to enlarge)
George Hincapie
Jens Voigt
Fans and fast bikes!!
Peter Sagan
... More pictures coming tomorrow from the final stage of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California in Westlake Village, and then one the following day from years past - all to get you in the mood for some May bike racing. I sure hope you are heading to California next month!

To view lots more pictures taken and posted by PedalDancer.com from last year, please visit these links:
Previous blog posts from the 2010 Tour of California at:
Friday, May 21, 2010 Tour de California Dreamin'