29 February 2012

Stage routes - Tour of California

Routes and profiles for each stage of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California
Are you planning to attend the race as a fan? This is a quick summary of stage dates, locations, distances, route maps and stage profiles for the Amgen Tour of California, the 2012 professional cycling race in California in May 2012. I really enjoy seeing the race live in California, the weather is typically good, the stages easy to attend, and the list of riders on each team's roster is top quality. In 2011 Chris Horner (Radioshack) won the overall race, who will be the winner in 2012 - go see for yourself. It is great fun to attend the race, for one day, or for all 8 stages.
Amgen Tour of California May 13-20, 2012 - Stage maps and profiles 
2012 ATOC:  2012 Overall Map  (click any image to enlarge)
2012 Amgen Tour of California route map
Sunday, May 13
Stage 1 Presented by Rabobank
START: Santa Rosa
Distance: 115.9 miles
SPRINTS: Santa Rosa, CA 1
KOMs: C azadero Hwy., Ft. Ross Rd.(x2), Coleman Valley Road
FINISH: Santa Rosa 
Tour of California Stage 1 map
Monday, May 14
Presented by Visit California
START: San Francisco
Distance: 117.1 miles
SPRINTS: Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Summit Rd.
KOMs: Empire Grade, Bear Creek
FINISH: Santa Cruz County
ATOC Stage 2 route map
ATOC Stage 2 route profile
Stage 3:  Stage 3 Map Stage 3 Profile
Tuesday, May 15
START: San Jose
Distance: 115.3 miles
SPRINTS: Livermore
KOMs: C alaveras Rd., Mt. Diablo, Patterson Pass
FINISH: Livermore
ATOC Stage 3 route map
ATOC Stage 3 route profile
Stage 4:  Stage 4 Map Stage 4 Profile
Wednesday, May 16
START: Sonora
Distance: 130.2 miles
SPRINTS: Mariposa, Oakhurst, Friant
KOMs: CA 49(x4), Crane Valley
FINISH: Clovis
ATOC stage 4 route map
ATOC stage 4 route profile
Stage 5:  Stage 5 Map Stage 5 Profile
Thursday, May 17
Stage 5  *(Individual Time Trial)
Presented by Rabobank
START: Bakersfield
Distance: 18.4 miles
FINISH: Bakersfield
ATOC stage 5 route map (ITT)
ATOC stage 5 route profile ITT
Stage 6:  Stage 6 Map Stage 6 Profile
Friday, May 18
Stage 6
Presented by Visit California
START: Palmdale
Distance: 115.7 miles
SPRINTS: Crestline, Fawnskin
KOMs: Mt. Emma, Wrightwood, CA 138, CA 18
FINISH: Big Bear Lake
ATOC stage 6 route map
ATOC stage 6 route profile
Stage 7:  Stage 7 Map Stage 7 Profile
Saturday, May 19
Stage 7
START: Ontario
Distance: 78.3 miles
SPRINTS: Glendora
KOMs: Glendora Ridge Rd., Glendora Mt. Rd., Finish
FINISH: Mt. Baldy
ATOC stage 7 route map
ATOC stage 7 route profile
Stage 8:  Stage 8 Map Stage 8 Profile 
Sunday, May 20
Stage 8
Presented by Amgen
START: Beverly Hills
Distance: 44.7 miles
SPRINTS: Finish Line
FINISH: Los Angeles (L.A. LIVE)
ATOC stage 8 route map
ATOC stage 8 route profile
For more information and stories from the race in 2011 and 2010 please read additional posts by Pedal Dancer on the TOUR OF CALIFORNIA page.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge update: Flagstaff yes

Flagstaff climb in Boulder to be included in Stage 6
There was much speculation, anticipation and doubt whether this favorite local climb would be included in the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Yesterday at a local City Council meeting in Boulder, Colorado, the Boulder local organizing committee for Stage 6 of the USPCC informed the City Council of their planned stage route. 

The big news - Stage 6 will finish at the flagpole near the amphitheater on Flagstaff Mountain. This is not the top of the climb or the top of the mountain, which means no Super Flagstaff (the steepest part of the climb). What is does mean is a pesky last climb for riders, and a chance for fans to walk up a scenic climb to watch the riders slow their pace (slightly) on a three and a half mile climb above town. This is no Alpe dHuez, this is more like a last berg (helligen).
Stage 6, August 25, 2012, Golden to Boulder, Colorado 

A press release this morning from the office of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge announced, "Spectators in Boulder will have the opportunity to see the riders multiple times, as they pass through downtown twice during Stage 6.  The first pass will take place as the riders come into the city from Golden, and the second pass will happen later in the day as they return to downtown Boulder before heading up to Flagstaff Mountain. Large video screens, entertainment, hospitality and vendor booths will be set up in the heart of downtown on Pearl St., creating a festival atmosphere for fans. "
The amphitheater on Flagstaff Mountain
Details of Stage 6 route:
  • Stage start in Golden
  • Several circuits around the city of Golden 
  • North on Hwy 93
  • Sprint points at juncture of Pearl St Mall
  • USA Pro Challenge expo area near Pearl St in Boulder
  • West up Boulder Canyon along CO 119 towards Nederland
  • King of the Mountains (KOM) in Nederland
  • Also the 14th Annual Nedfest
  • North on Peak to Peak Highway to Lyons
  • South on Hwy 36 to climbs up Lefthand Canyon and over Lee Hill Rd. 
  • Return into city of Boulder
  • Final climb up Flagstaff Mountain (3.5-mile) to the finish line at Sunrise Amphitheater
Read more about the climb of Flagstaff (with videos of the descent) in a blog post by Team Alchemist Blog Flagstaff is America’s Alpe d’Huez

Word of the Day: Bubble 

Another word for the city of Boulder, also sometimes called the Kingdom of Boulder. Could be used to describe the space between the ears of it's residents, but more accurately describes the geographical area contained within it's borders.

I couldn't resist poking fun at Boulder with my Word of the Day series, but if you plan to come to Boulder to watch a bike race you will definitely read and hear this term. Boulderites (those who live in Boulder inside the Bubble) are known to rarely leave the border of their small homogenous everyone-looks-the-same city. They strongly believe their town is not only the best, but the only city for true cyclists to live and train. Those who live outside of Boulder have learned that bicycles exist in other parts of the world and people seem to be having just as much (actually more!) fun. But then I live in Denver, a 28-mile world-away from Boulder.

More news of the day: Boulder, CO selected as host city for cyclocross nationals 2012, By VeloNews.com

28 February 2012

Recommended Reading: Changes at the Tour of Flanders

Read: Cancellara: riders are "scared" of new Tour of Flanders route

Fabian Cancellara makes some excellent points in this article by CyclingNews.com about the changed route of the 2012 Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen). I agree with him, almost to the point of feeling slightly guilty about being one of those many fans on the Kwaremont or Paterberg on April 1st to watch the race. But before the guilt sets in too deep, as Meryl Streep recently said in accepting her academy award for best actress after waiting years for the honor, "whatever." 

Cycling is indeed growing and changing, but it does not distract from the reason why so many of us truly enjoy the Classics more than most other races of the year - because The Classics come down to man against man, man against machine, man against cobble, man against the elements. The fans are just their to witness the fight in true gladiator fashion. It's usually Classic!

Round and round they go - the last kilometers of the 2012 Tour of Flanders parcours. Go to this link (parcours) zoom in on the google map, and then click on each mountain icon to see the name, location, and details of each berg (or climb) in the 2012 Tour of Flanders. Very educational and fun for those of us who love maps and cycling and understanding what the riders will tackle on race day. 

Look at this route (Brugge to Oudenaarde), if anything the fans are needed as directional road blocks, so the riders don't end up taking a wrong turn on this maze of roads! Can you imagine being inside one of the team cars - "Are we there yet?" "I'd swear we've seen that sign to Oudenaarde 5 times."
2012 Ronde van Vlaanderen route with finish in Oudenaarde
Paterberg climb profile - short and sweet

VeloNation wrote an article when the 2012 route was announced last September giving more details, read: Belgium reacts to the new Ronde van Vlaanderen finish

25 February 2012

2012 Spring Classics Schedule

The Classics have begun!
Today's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium marked the opening season of the 2012 Classics. If you missed it don't worry more races are coming soon. Mark your calendars, here is a list of upcoming race dates:
2012 Cycling Classics dates:
Milan-San Remo - 17 March 2012
Gent-Wevelgem - 25 March 2012
Tour of Flanders - 1 April 2012
Paris-Roubaix - 8 April 2012
Amstel Gold - 15 April 2012
Fleche Wallonne - 18 April 2012
Liege-Bastogne-Liege - 22 April 2012
San Sabastian - 14 August 2012
UCI Worlds - 15-23 September 2012
Giel di Lombardia - 29 October 2012
2012 Belgian Semi-Classics dates:
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - 25 Febraury 2012
Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne - 26 February 2012
E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke - 23 March 2012
Gent - Wevelgem - 25 March 2012
Scheldeprijsf - 4 April 2012
De Brabantse Pijl - 11 April 2012
La Flèche Wallonne - 18 April 2012
Parijs – Brusssel - 8 September 2012 

For live online viewing options please check in with www.steephill.tv or cyclingfans.com or recorded viewing at NBC Cycling TV Schedule.
For me this is the true cycling season as a fan. I am so excited. And soon I will be there myself to experience Belgium. I can't wait for April - bike races, bike riders, cobbles, Belgian beer, waffles, chocolates, and lots and lots of fans! I am now going to change some wheels around and go out for a bike ride to celebrate Spring.

Also read the cycling resource page by Pedal Dancer with a summary of resources to learn more about the Classics: New Resource Page: CLASSICS and Update on the Classics

Cycling TV Schedule

TV race coverage for the 2012 season
For NBC's cycling TV coverage - dates and time schedule of race coverage, please view this link (all times are in ET): http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/42453562/ns/sports-cycling/

24 February 2012

George Hincapie

Images of George
I have a bunch of pictures of George Hincapie. I was recently sorting through some images from Interbike 2011 in Las Vegas, and realized I have some great pictures of George Hincapie that I have yet to post (I have many pictures I have yet to post, must get to that). It's Friday, I'm excited for the weekend, and having just posted the piece on Thomson Bike Tours at the Tour de France, I was reminded of my interview with Peter Thomson in which I asked him the question, "Which rider in the peloton have you witnessed as being most gracious to fans?" 
Guess who he said - Hincapie! Peter said, "Hincapie. Every time he is at the Tour de France he always makes himself available. He is always very nice with our clients." He continued, "And also Popo (Yaroslav Popovych) (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek), he is such a nice guy, pleasant, down to earth."
George Hincapie
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
Related Pedal Dancer Posts:

A non-cycling fan trip to the TDF

More options for fans at the Tour de France

Thomson Bike Tours is offering an interesting tour idea for non-cyclists to attend as a fan and follow the action of the Tour de France up close. Replace the term "avid cyclist" with avid fan and perhaps avid photographer and you have spectators being offered a chance to chase the Tour de France with a professional guide company. Keep in mind that Thomson Bike Tours has been doing this for over 10-years and is in the practice of guiding very strong "avid cyclists," which means they will offer the same experience and knowledge to you, appreciating that you are equally as huge of a fan of professional cycling. 
Photo by Thomson Bike Tours from their real adventures
Be a spectator at the Tour de France on a guided tour. A fan tour
  • Tour de France Pyrenees to Paris - Spectator Trip. 9 days, July 15-23, 2012
  • Tour de France VIP Paris Finish Viewing. 2/days/2 nights, July 21-23, 2012
I like the idea that they are making the experience of the Tour de France accessible to a wider range of fans. I also like that you may tack on additional days before or after joining one of their Tours in 2012. You can either ride yourself or be a tourist at your favorite sites in France, then meet up with them for the true action of the TDF. Another point to consider is that Thomson Bike Tours is an official A.S.O. Tour Company - when they say VIP, they mean VIP. As an official VIP Tour Operator of the Tour de France they will be granted special access. For any aspiring sports or travel photographer, this could be an amazing chance to capture some great shots and have a few unexpected stories to tell your friends and family back home.
Photo by Thomson Bike Tours
Remember I don't get paid for promoting anything in this sport. My interest is in sharing the thrill and passion for cycling. I like to point out when real people are doing amazing things for this sport. Peter Thomson has been growing his business for years and has earned his connections. His staff work hard to make your experience memorable, often setting up camp on mountain tops at key viewing points days before the race, selecting excellent hotels and meals, understanding the pace, and placing you where you can best experience the Tour de France. 

I recently spoke with Peter Thomson via Skype (he was in Spain, I was in Colorado). We had a wonderful conversation. Pete is an individual who loves the sport, a former racer himself and from Scotland, he started guiding tours in 2003 and is now based near Barcelona, Spain. He truly understands what to do and what not to do when it comes to guiding cyclists and fans. Which can only be learned through experience and feedback, and the fact the 80% of his clients are returning customers. Need I say more?
Photo by Thomson Bike Tours
At least read over their itineraries and dream ... or plan for your future trip to the Tour de France. You can make it happen. 

You may also enter to win a free trip to the Tour de France in 2012 with Thomson Bike Tours - complete this form on their website: enter drawing. The winner will be announced April 6, 2012. You could be going to the Tour de France in 2012 - I'm so excited for you!

23 February 2012

Guess Where? #7

More Cycling Travels & Sites  
Can you guess where we have cycled to now? More sites that a cycling fan might take in as a fan of travel and of the sport of cycling, here we go .......
Image #1
©Photo by PedalDancer
Image #2
©Photo by PedalDancer
Image #3
©Photo by PedalDancer

#1         Crédit Lyonnaise Tour de France Caravan Vehicle
The symbol of the major sponsor of the Tour de France - Crédit Lyonnaise (one of the French Banks, based in Lyons, and owned by Crédit Agricole since 2003) is the face of the modern Tour de France. The large yellow cyclist is often the lead vehicle in the official Tour de France Publicity Caravan. Crédit Lyonnaise places it's corporate brand name on several items throughout the race and is responsible for 26 years of Tour de France Sponsorship. 
LCL is printed on the yellow cyclist vehicle in the caravan (seen above) as well as the large Lion vehicle in the Caravan. Each day at the Tour de France, on the podium, the winner of the yellow jersey receives a lion stuffed animal. A team bus displaying the LCL lions in their front window is a very happy team. I'm sure you have noticed the recognizable LCL on the yellow jersey (maillot jaune) marking Crédit Lyonnaise (LCL) as the proud sponsor of the overall winners jersey since 1987. 

#2        Tour de France Publicity Caravan
Speaking of the Caravan, this moving wonder has been in full force since 1930! The Caravan actually was devised as a result of the first tour director Henri Desgrange's attempt to create a competition between National teams at the Tour de France. National teams brought national pride, but not financial support for the overall race. The caravan was created as a packaged publicity opportunity and a source of income for the then race organizers. It has now become a long tradition.
Today 39% of spectators come first and foremost to see the caravan. The procession of vehicles lasts more than 45 minutes and precedes the riders and team cars of the Tour de France by up to 2 hours. Those at home may not glimpse the caravan on TV, but to a fan at the Tour de France, participating in the celebration of the grabbing (and dodging) of gifts (promotional items) thrown to fans from the caravan is great fun. Some items are more prized than others especially the shirts and hats, but you might also catch key chains, pens, candy, noise makers, water bottles, cakes, and even sausages! See a list of Sponsors of the Tour de France.

The Tour de France Caravan is: 
  • A 20-km long parade 
  • 160 colorful and decorated vehicles 
  • 600 caravanists (those are the cray people on the vehicles) 
  • 33 brands represented 
  • 16 million gifts given away 
  • 45-minute long procession 
  • 12 members of the republican guard 
  • 4 traffic regulator motorcyclists 
  • 3 medical cars 
  • € 200,000 to € 500,000 investment for each advertiser

#3     Rodin's The Thinker
Since we followed the Publicity Caravan all the way in the city of Paris, I thought we'd just stay here and have a look around. This is The Thinker (no it is not Tim Tebow). Auguste Rodin created this sculpture from marble and bronze in 1902. It now rests at the Musée Rodin in Paris, which is on the grounds of the former Hôtel Biron (and in my opinion the location is almost more impressive than the museum).
Did you know, The Thinker was originally titled The Poet? The Thinker originated as one of the figures on The Gates of Hell crafted by Rodin. The detail was first named "The Thinker" by foundry workers who noted its similarity to Michelangelo's statue of Lorenzo de Medici called Il Penseroso, the Thinker.
Rodin's The Thinker  ©Photo by PedalDancer
Rodin's Gates of Hell are located meters away from The Thinker and are quite impressive as well.
Rodin's The Gates of Hell ©Photo by PedalDancer
Apparently The Thinker did a lot of thinking in Hell. Rodin worked on The Gates of Hell piece on and off for 37 years (1880-1917), until his death in 1917. The Gates measure 6 m high, 4 m wide and 1 m deep (19.69'H × 13.12'W × 3.29'D) and contain 180 figures.
©Photo by PedalDancer
If you follow the Caravan into Paris to see the finish of the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysées, be sure to stop by to see these sculptures at the Musée Rodin, that is after you visit the Louvre and L'Orangerie and so many other wonderful sites of la Cité. You may also see a cast of The Thinker at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, and at the Art Center at Stanford University in California. 

View the other Guess Where series: 

20 February 2012

A handmade Pegoretti bike

The true art of frame building

A handmade custom Italian road bike is a wonderful thing. The other day I was fortunate to see and touch a Dario Pegoretti handmade Italian steel bike. This bike was so special it had it's own hand-painted finish. I was told these bikes can take more than 6 months (the website says up to 24 months) to receive after ordering. The frame geometry is built to spec according to the rider's measurements, and although a customer may request a color scheme, no other exact details may be requested. Dario Pegoretti is a true artist, and artists are not told how to create their next masterpieces. The Studio asks simply, "Please don’t ask for a reproduction of a Ciavete paint scheme you’ve previously seen, as the idea behind Ciavete is for each frame to be a unique work displaying Dario’s aesthetic creativity.

Can you imagine placing your order and waiting to see the one-of-a-kind bike that arrives on your doorstep? I can tell you, this beauty was worth waiting for, I could see the iridescent gold paint sparkle and the individual paint strokes of the artist's hand. Photos do not do this masterpiece justice - it was spectacular!

A Dario Pegoretti work of art click any images to enlarge (please!).

©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer
©Photo by PedalDancer

About the bike builder

Dario Pegoretti is considered one of the best modern frame builders in the World. He is 55 years old and lives in the town of Caldonazzo, outside of Trento, in the Dolomites, Italy. He is considered both a master frame builder and an artist. In an interview with Cycle Exif Pegoretti explained he takes inspiration for his paint designs from 60's street art. He added, "The paint sequence is primer, base coat, clear coat. But for many of my ‘WILD’ paint schemes I use piece of newspaper, powder, water color, coffee grain as i feel myself on that day."

Pegoretti was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, but still builds the bike frames (update: he announced in November 2012 he would stop selling the bike frames in Italy). The studio produces approximately 600 frames a year. Prices range from $2000-$5000. Pegoretti has created bikes for champion riders including Stephen Roche, Marco Cipollini and five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain. Watch a sample of the Frame of Mind video featuring Dario Pegoretti. Images below by © Nadav Kander.

Dario Pegoretti

Inside the frame builder's shop
The Pegoretti workshop in Italy
Pegoretti uses only steel and aluminum to build his frames, you may choose from the Responsorium, Big Leg Emma (named after Frank Zappa), Marcelo (named after Thelonius Monk), Duende, Luigino, Love #3, and 8:30. See images of more Pegoretti bikes. In November 2012, Dario Pegoretti decided to stop selling his amazing one of a kind artwork on bikes. You might be able to find a dealer with stock - search for a dealer in the USA.

Rapha made this Pegoretti inspired pink club jersey.
Rapha's Pegoretti bike jersey