31 January 2011

Teams for 2011 Tour of California announced

Who will we see in California
The Amgen Tour of California will be May 15-22, 2011. The attending teams were announced, but I want to know what happened to Tom Boonen and his Quick-Step team? I'll miss seeing Boonen. To see dates and location of the stages please visit Tour of California Stages.
Teams lineup for 2011 Amgen Tour of California:
UCI ProTeam:
BMC Racing Team (USA),
HTC-Highroad (USA),
Leopard Trek (Lux),
Liquigas-Cannondale (Ita),
Rabobank Cycling Team (Ned),
Saxo Bank Sungard (Den),
Sky Procycling (GBr),
Team Garmin-Cervelo (USA),
Team Radioshack (USA)
UCI Professional Continental: Team NetApp (Ger), Team Spidertech Powered By C10 (Can), Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis (USA), Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling (USA)

UCI Continental: Bissel Cycling (USA), Jamis - Sutter Home (USA), Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda (USA), Kelly Benefit Strategies - Optum Health (USA), Kenda Presented By Gear Grinder (USA)

Garmin celebrates their overall team win in 2010 (huge winnings, don't spend that $5,000 all in one place).   Photo by: PedalDancer.com
Amgen Tour of California teams to undergo rigorous testing By: Kirsten Frattini Published:February 3, 2011
The Amgen Tour of California race organizers AEG have tasked the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) with executing its anti-doping protocol, which was announced in a press conference today. The comprehensive program will begin 90-days prior to the event's scheduled start date on May 15.
Teams are now required to submit provisional rosters of 12 riders to the race organization with in the next week so that all riders can then be added to USADA's registered testing pool for 90-days prior to the start of the race. Teams must select their final eight-man rosters from that original 12-man registered list.
During the 90-day period leading up to the race, domestic racers may be tested with no notice. International racers will be subject to no-advance-notice, out-of-competition testing prior to competition in accordance with their international federation and national anti-doping organization testing pools.

29 January 2011

Calpe Diem

Training Camp on the White Coast of Spain
Time to go to camp! Calpe, Spain has been in the news quite a lot lately. It seems to be the town to train in these days, unless your team goes to Mallorca, or you are Lance and you can't leave the country or people will accuse you of yet another comeback, Spain is the place to be. I was wondering what these guys learn at camp, since they are already pretty good at riding a bike.

The most important part of spring training camp for a cycling team is establishing new nicknames, making quick and timely complaints about roommates, establishing who is the best dancer on the team, celebrating every birthday for the coming year, and letting the cooks know exactly what you will and will not eat (namely beef). Also this is the time to bring beer, coffee and women to the best mechanic.

In 2010/11 Garmin-Transitions, RadioShack, Quick-Step, and Katusha all held their training camps in Calpe, Spain.

Here we go - our trip to camp in Calpe, Spain with the pros. How do they do it:
We fly in from around the world to begin our bonding session. Big city, rolling hills
Beautiful Spanish coastline. The parking looks tough, so bring a bike, wait never mind, they will give you 2 new road bikes and 1 new time trial bike (this is the main reason to show up for spring training camp).
The promenade in Calpe, Spain, looks quiet in December/January, (that is because the water temperature is 13.4 °C (56 °F)!
Don't worry about packing light, you'll need a lot of stuff to throw a training camp
First, any piercings and tattoos that somehow appeared in the off-season are removed from the riders
Next it is time to stop by your favorite team clothing boutique, the sizes are small and Xsmall. You have no choice in color. You will only be alloted 12 bibs, so choose wisely. This is also the critical point where you must decide whether you like tall socks or regular socks.
The remaining afternoon is devoted to deciding what flavor of cliff bars you like.
The next morning training begins; first practice recognizing your teammates, then tips on how to recognize your team bus, and finally how to sit on a bike toptube without inflicting pain.
Next the riders are shown how to walk up and down metal stairs in cycling shoes (Andreas Kloden cares more about his snickers bars, because after camp - there will be no more snickers!).
Next iTunes procedures are covered, including downloading, UCI approved playlists, and how to best wrap that cord around your helmet straps. Because there will be no more race radio entertainment offered via radio during in-flight races. Only tunes from this point out. Music sharing is encouraged to build team character.
Then they teach you table manners (Christian Van de Velde teaching the guys how to put elbows on the table)
Thor Hushovd demonstrates his world champion abilities at cake cutting (cakes are an important part of camp, they are the best kind of male bonding)
Then Christian gives a long talk about how to wear your hat (no one is listening, he gave the same talk last year). 
Podium drills follow, how to get up, how to get off, how to zip up a jersey backwards, how to look taller than a podium girl, and timing of raising the trophy (very important - this first attempt failed). Also champagne opening drills, (don't want to pull a Contador and cut yourself).
The DS (Johan Bruyneel, Sébastien Rosseler, and Yaroslav Popovych) makes a flashy appearance in their new transportation. (And you were wondering how they learn those driving skills)
Andreas Kloden - says he needs one too. He is so competitive.
Next they wake you up at 6:00am to climb a big rock (matching clothing mandatory)
Andreas Kloden decides the only way to climb up a mountain is straight up. Again very competitive
Group photo at the top (Andreas Kloden is already back at the hotel)
Wait, who invited Mario? he wasn't supposed to be cc'd on the invite.
Then you practice your lead outs, first without bikes
Now that head butting has been discouraged, the team goes over other defensive shock and awh tactics
Then you practice finding your bike in the rack of bikes that all look the same (this took some practice)
Then you line up by height, next to the guy that speaks your language, and go out for a ride.
The fine art of domestique training is gone over by Tom Boonen
Holding up traffic while never changing pace was explained
Enjoying the scenery was explained, but no one seemed to grasp this concept
After the big ride you hang out at cafes and gossip about Matt White, and why the Soigneurs wear those capri pants.
Finally you ride off into the sunset and practice your smile for the camera. Photo by: Lucas Gilman
All of these images were taken by the different teams during their recent training camps in Calpe, Spain, plus CyclingNews.com and PezCycling.com. They did not provide narration, so I took liberty. Based upon zero experience at training camp, I'm pretty sure this is how it went down. If you are honestly interested in what goes into a training camp read: What it Takes: January Preparations with Garmin-Transitions Service Course By VeloNews.com
A stage of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana took place in the hills outside of Calpe, Spain, and some day I might actually write about the roads and hotels and beaches in the area, but for today, I had so much fun at camp! I can't wait to go back next year.

28 January 2011

How to order a Coffee in France

Ordering and enjoying the drink you want in France 
The treasure hunt between my cups of coffee in France is as much about the location as it is the drink, but it helps to know how to order what I want to drink while traveling. There can be a difference between what is on the menu and how to best order a coffee in France. Also the terms are not exactly the same around the world, and the pronunciation a little different. More importantly there are customs to enjoying a coffee in France that took me awhile to learn. Knowledge, even about coffee, makes the discovery more pleasant. Now all you have to do is concentrate on that perfect coffee location.
A morning café north of Girona Spain. Photo by PedalDancer.com
Your coffee drink options are:
  • Un Café (café noir) (kuh-fay) : plain strong coffee usually brewed like espresso but in a bigger cup with sugar cubes on the side.
  • Une Noisette (kuh-fay nwah-zett) : a small espresso coffee with a dollop of foamed milk/cream and a tiny bit of milk (a macchiato) with sugar cubes on the side. (This is my drink of choice)
  • Un Express : an espresso
  • Double Express: double espresso 
  • Un Crème (kuh-fay khremm) : an espresso with half of warmed milk (small café au lait). 
  • Grand Crème : a larger Crème
  • Un Café au lait (kuh-fay oh-lay) : a big-size coffee with a jar of milk. May be served separately to be combined by you. Served with breakfast. (Un Crème is really the drink that the French order when wanting milk in their coffee).
  • Un Cappuccino : espresso coffee and steam-foamed milk with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or powdered or shaved chocolate, atop the foam. Served with breakfast. (Again, un Grand Crème is a better option to order)
  • Un Allongé (Café Léger) (kuh-fay lay-zjay) : an espresso coffee with double the amount of water (weak black coffee). The additional hot water might be served on the side so you may add it to your desired strength. This will taste the closest to a 'drip coffee'.
  • Un Serré : an espresso coffee with half the usual amount of water (strong black coffee).
  • Un Déca (un décaféiné)(kuh-fay day-kah-fay-uhn-ay) (un (café) faux) : a decaf coffee.
  • Un Américain (kuh-fay uh-meyhr-uh-kan) (café filtre) : filtered coffee. Dark roast and from Arabica beans, but honestly you are in France, don't order a filtered coffee!
  • Un café glacé : iced coffee.
  • Sucre - (soo-khruh) - sugar (You can request this, although cafés typically bring a cup with two cubed sugars on the dish. Since French coffee is strong, you may want to request more, or ask, "Plus de sucre, s'il vous plait," ploo duh soo-khruh, see voo play.)
  • Edulcorant - (ay-doohl-co-hrahn) - sweetener
  • Chocolat chaud - (shah-ko-lah show) - hot chocolate
Here is a link to hearing the proper pronunciation of coffee drinks in French: (Audio)
Tom Boonen Enjoying a Cappuccino in Calpe, Spain
Coffee customs:
  • At Bed & Breakfasts, or homes in France, a pot of coffee and a pitcher of warm milk will be served in the morning. The coffee and milk are to be poured into a bowl and sipped holding in your hands. Don't look for a coffee mug (as I have wrongly done in the past). You may dunk your (often leftover) baguette in the coffee bowl.
  • Cappuccinos and Café au lait are ordered at breakfast only. 
  • You can drink a café noir (black) or espresso any time of day, but the only time you should drink coffee with food is at breakfast time. Coffee is enjoyed solo at other times of the day.
  • That is why you will not be served your coffee until after you have finished your dessert after dinner. It will be a small espresso and is considered de rigeur. Never order a cappuccino or café au lait after dinner, it is expressly espresso only (café noir). You may request Un Déca.
  • Unless you are with friends and plan to chat all afternoon, have your coffee at the bar, standing up. Never order at the bar and then sit down at a table. 
  • You don't order coffee to go in France. If you want a rapid coffee, stand at the bar, order un café, be polite to the proprietor, drink up, pay, and leave after your quick drink. No tipping is necessary (unless you want to become a regular).
  • Also if you are a cyclist, looking for a quick break (and a chance to use the WC) do not sit down at a table, it will take you forever to be served and pay and leave. Your 10 minute coffee break will become 45 minutes very easily. 
" I like my coffee strong, not lethal!"  ~M*A*S*H

This is a fun visual poster to Italian coffee: Coffee Field Guide by Bianchista 

27 January 2011

Word of the Day: Penultimate

pe·nul·ti·mate / peˈnəltəmit/ adj. last but one in a series of things; second to the last: the penultimate stage in the Tour. (you must pronounce it as Paul Sherwen does, try it again). Used in a sentence (when referring to the Tour de France): There are really only 20 stages, the race is over after the penultimate stage. Or: Let the champagne flow after the penultimate stage. Or: First there is the penultimate, then there is the ultimate. 

As opposed to the Queen Stage (the hardest stage), or as we would say in American jargon The Mother of All Stages. Used in a sentence: What a Mother that was.

26 January 2011

More Images from the 2010 Tour of California - I

ATOC - Palmdale, California May 21, 2010 
In this hiatus between big races, I thought I would share more pictures of the 2010 Tour of California. I have so many cool pictures that I have not yet used on this website. This will be part one of maybe 7 or 8 (maybe more, I have a bunch of pictures from over the years).
I highly recommend going to a stage start whenever the Tour of California selects a small town. The experience is unmatched. The town of Palmdale was very laid-back. I parked my car 5 blocks away from the town center and walked toward the shady neighborhood park where the start line had been set up. The buses were parked in line around the square which had shade trees and green grass and nice sidewalks that connected the team buses. 
There was little sign of the now typical VIP Area blockades (only 1 small tented area). Us common folk could enjoy the entire venue with ease. This remains one of my top 5 favorite days as a cycling fan. I was able to bounce around the start area happily taking pictures and standing right next to the action.  No traffic, beautiful day, easy access - perfect. I also had fun calling out "Hi Jens!", "looking good JV", and tried to cheer up and get Zabriskie to crack his shy smile (it was a tough day for him, the news of Landis had just hit the press). You too could be here (come to California!):
Please click any and all photos to enlarge
Palmdale, CA stage start
Johan Bruyneel making plans for the day's stage at ATOC
Chechu Rubiera delighting the fans (he makes everyone smile!)
Team car. This is my own new car, wish this paint job had been available
Relaxed scene, most of the crowd was outside the RadioShack bus
Bikes glorious bikes
This was Saxo-Banks Team Bus (tiny sign). 
No one hardly noticed Fabian Cancellara sitting in this team RV. 
Then Andy Schleck popped out
Andy Schleck talking over the plan for the day
 didn't have time to zoom-out
I rarely see tattoos at this level of the sport, I snapped this shot of Simon Zahner's
The great Tom Boonen
JV selected pastel argyle for Palmdale, California
Theo Boss
Levi Leipheimer
Paul Martens
Alexander Kristoff
Mark Cavendish
Manuel Quinziato
Tony Martin
Christopher Butler
David Zabriskie
Chechu Rubiera
Mark Cavendish and David Zabriskie
Photographers ready to head out, small crowd!
Jens Voigt rolls by
Andy Schleck takes off
time for breakfast for Bert Grabsch and the others
And my new car again, in yet another paint job
Then I walked the 5 blocks back to my car, and drove an hour home. The Tour of California is SO easy. 
Please look back at my previous post on the actual day at the Tour and more photos: Pictures from 2010 Tour of California. Or all posts from PedalDancer.com about the Tour of California (lots more pictures).