31 March 2012

Big Day tomorrow

Where should I be?
I think this question should be posed as where will I be? In a maze of parcours and fans I will be happy simply seeing any part of the race. It might be more likely the Kwaremont, and less likely the Paterberg or the Koppenberg. Although the Paterberg had fantastic atmosphere and the Koppenberg is a wonderful place to be. The Kwaremont might be a VIP zoo, but the access is much easier. I'll let you know how it went ....

©Photo by PedalDancer.com
©Photo by PedalDancer.com
©Photo by PedalDancer.com
This sign means that 10% of the population of Belgium might be out on the roads on Sunday until at least 6:00pm. This race is a big deal in Belgium and I am thrilled to be here for it.
©Photo by PedalDancer.com

Hanging with the teams

Just another fan in Belgium

Yesterday on my second day of crazed rally car driving in the countryside, I was thrilled to visit many of the major bergs in the area. I have laid my eyes upon the Paterberg, Kwaremont, Koppenberg, Eikenberg, and Molenberg. I have also laid my feet and car tires upon these climbs as well. I witnessed others laying their bodies upon the climbs; I happily stayed upright. 
I have now pulled U-turns and stopped along the road, to check my map, in nearly every small town in Flanders, or so it seems. After ditching my phonetic speaking Garmin car GPS for traditional Michelin paper maps, I have lowered my getting lost feeling from 75 times a day to a manageable 22. I have also discovered that the best way to manage hydration (and therefore having no need to take a break in the countryside) is to not drink water all day and then enjoy 2 Triple Karmeliats in the evening. Add to that my day's diet of stroopwafles and an apple and you can guess I am not in training mode while on this vacation.

I am somewhere between I can't believe I am actually here to see this in person and I think I have already seen that building 2 times before - does this mean I'm lost again! This morning I was going to go watch the Cyclosportif to see real humans tackle the famous climbs, but realizing that 20,000 people stood between me and a good parking space, I instead decided to rest the car clutch and my nerves for a few hours ... what to do, what to do.... hmm, since 20,000 cyclosportivees (or is it cyclosportivians) are peppering the hills of Flanders this morning, chances are the ProTeams will be nearby and out on local rides this fine Friday morning before the big race on Sunday.... why not mosey on over to the team hotels marked on my custom made FMVC Hotspots in Kortrijk map (thanks to my friends at Frites en Mayo Velo Club) ..... commence moseying with map and camera in hand ....

Well lookie there the BMC team bus and mechanics right where the map said they would be. Why not ask if I could take some pictures and introduce myself, "Hi, I'm Karen from Colorado." "Oh ColorAdo," they replied, everyone was super nice as I positioned myself in wall-flower mode. It is a bit awkward standing around watching people do what they do best, but they are so gosh darn good at it and I always learn something. Absolute perfectionist mechanics worked on bikes to spec, cheery men filled bottles and loaded the coolers and cars for what seemed like 50 riders, merry personnel came and went giving interviews for cameramen, and sponsor representatives were there to deliver Bell helmets (dream job). Only a couple of us "fans" were there to witness it all.

I felt quite privileged. I started the morning with BMC and Lampre, then walked to Hotel Messyne to see SKY, then to the Park Hotel where Katousha and Saxo Bank were located. All within an easy walk. And it was pretty much me and the teams. Score. I have wonderful pictures from the morning, I'm back at the hotel waiting for my battery to recharge - it was a big morning for Pedal Dancer portrait photography. 
Thor Hushovd  ©Photo by PedalDancer.com
George Hincapie  ©Photo by PedalDancer.com
Philippe Gilbert  ©Photo by PedalDancer.com
Alessandro Ballan  ©Photo by PedalDancer.com
Manuel Quinziato  ©Photo by PedalDancer.com
Greg Van Avermaet  ©Photo by PedalDancer.com
I have hundreds of photos now ... will post more on the climbs and the teams later. All I can say is I am having a BLAST in Belgium!

Many more photographs from this morning with the BMC team can be seen at: BMC solid through 2016

30 March 2012

The Mur de Grammont

It was better than I imagined

The Mur de Grammont is one of those sites we have all seen on TV and dreamed of walking upon. Yesterday I was one happy fan as I walked the steep cobbles to the familiar site of the chapel that rests upon Mur de Grammont (Muur Kapelmuur en néerlandais) (Muur van Geraardsbergen).<
Mur in English means wall, this wall is more like a path to heaven. It is longer, with more bends, then I had imagined. 

Would you believe I met these cyclists earlier in the day standing in the passport line at Brussels Airport? They are here for a "long weekend" to tackle both the Tour of Flanders Cyclosportif on Saturday, and the Paris-Roubaix Challenge on Sunday. From New York, Wisconsin, and California these riders were as happy as I was to be standing on a monument of cycling.

I marveled at how the earth around this cobbled lane had been pressed into the ground over years of fans standing and cheering. One could see the footprints of fans. Even on this quiet day with only occasional riders passing by, it is easy to imagine the excitement of being a fan on the Mur de Grammont (which will not be included in the 2012 Tour of Flanders).

Much more to come about traveling to Belgium and the sites from my first day (yesterday), for now many more bergs (which will be in the Tour of Flanders this Sunday) await ....

25 March 2012

Travel Lists for Cyclists

Guess what I am doing - packing for an adventure

Time to pack! What to bring, what to bring? I have two big trips coming up this year, my first trip is to Belgium, Italy, and France. This fun journey is focused around being a fan at the Tour of Flanders and the Paris-Roubaix in April. It also includes a quick side trip to Florence, Italy, to visit my niece Kristina who is studying architecture for the year in Italy and Switzerland.

I had a romantic notion of traveling unencumbered to Europe as a simple fan, with a camera and one small bag. Concentrating on packing light but right for a mix of country mud and city cobbles, with no bicycle. That is right - no bike. This is the first trip in a long time when I will not be bringing a bike with me to Europe. Although I admit my small romantic bag grew in size when I was given the added task of exporting Belgian beer back to the United States for friends in Denver (FMVC). Oh well, beer is romantic - right?

My second adventure will be to France in July for the Tour de France. This will be the typical bike case, suitcase, backpack type of trip. I have a friend who claims he only brings one carry on bag on his bike trips to France. I was mighty impressed. I've never been able to pack that light for a cycling + hiking + city tourist adventure. Here I offer what I have learned about packing lists for cyclist travelers to help you decide what to bring on your next adventure. Bon voyage.

Travel Checklist for Cyclists : 1 CARRY-ON | 1 SUITCASE | 1 BIKE BOX
*Luggage Tags on all bags

CARRY ON rolling carry-on or backpack (in 3 parts)

CARRY-ON bag (main bag)
  • Cycling shoes
  • Bike pedals (I carry them on in case the bike case is lost in flight)
  • Sun Glasses – x2 pairs (cycling and casual)
  • Eye Glasses/contact lenses / Rx (eyes)
  • Medications / Rx (meds)
  • Camera /extra memory cards & extra battery
  • Travel Documents: Travel Book / Maps / Itinerary / Contact List / Directions
  • All battery chargers / cords / adapters
PURSE or moneybelt, secure inside CARRY-ON (keep inside carry on at all times or on your body)
  • Phone
  • Airline tickets
  • wallet
STUFF SACK stored inside CARRY-ON as you get on the plane, remove this bag for in-flight access near your feet and store the main bag up top in overhead storage.
  • Book/magazine, i/pad or reader
  • Laptop
  • water bottle (empty through security)
  • Food
  • ear plugs / eye mask
  • Tylenol / Meds / Chapstick
  • Mints / toothbrush / eyedrops
  • small tissue pack / travel wipes / liquid soap

SUITCASE with strap to attach rolling bike box

  • All personal sundries (toiletries)
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Light weight power strip (to charge all devices)
  • Alarm Clock/or phone
  • Plastic multiple hanger / clothesline (cord) and clothespins (for washing clothes)
  • Large plastic bags x2 (groceries)
  • Small plastic baggies for food storage (picnics and food while cycling)
  • Small flashlight/headlamp
  • Wine opener, beer opener
  • Extra napsacks (for later storage)
  • Photocopies of essential information: passport, credit card contact #s (hidden in suit case) (in case of theft of backpack/purse)
  • Locks/ lock keys for later storage (for storage at hotels and train stations)
  • small gifts for your hosts (optional)
  • Plane: pants, shirt, lightweight fleece or cashmere sweater, compression socks >
  • pants / capris / skirts / dresses / shorts (x3-5)
  • Shirts for hot and cold weather (layers) (x5-8)
  • Sweater or vest
  • Rain jacket
  • Jacket for cool nights (city) (get a nice one that can be used on or off the bike)
  • Shoes x2-3 pairs (lots of walking in mixed weather conditions), and sandals
  • Underwear, socks (x5-7), compression socks (for plane)
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit (optional)
  • Jewelry – very simple
  • Hat for sun, and hat for warmth
  • Scarf / gloves (for cold weather)
*tips on packing clothes:

I pack by purpose, not everything needs to match, because I will not be wearing everything at the same time. I need a comfortable outfit for plane travel, 2-3 outfits to change into after riding or for being a tourist, 1 to hike in, 1-2 for dinner out, 1-2 city outfits (black is safe).  3 outfits should be adaptable to cold and 3 adaptable to hot weather, including warm rain. If you go for black in the cities, color in the countryside, you will fit in.

*tips on washing clothes:

Most of the time I am able to do laundry in the hotel at least every 3 days, so bring at least 3 days of cycling clothes. In the summertime cycling clothes will dry in 1 day (not always for the next morning), in spring and fall seasons, allow 2 days to dry, in winter 3 days. You can also find laundromats to wash and dry clothes quickly, located in cities or sometimes next to markets in France.I buy hand washing soap while on my travels, I do not bring heavy liquid from home.

*tips on TDF fan clothing:

In winter or cool months, a hat, scarf, gloves, and wool socks or running tights will keep you warm when standing outside for long periods. During the hot days of summer remember it gets cold on mountain tops, bring a rain jacket, cap, and knee warmers. Bring a very light pair of flip-flop sandals to carry with you for standing around at TDF stages, so you will not have to wear your cycling shoes for hours.

Cycling clothes
  • Helmet (I usually carry-on)
  • Cycling jerseys – x3
  • Cycling shorts – x3
  • Cycling socks – x4
  • Arm Warmers
  • Knee Warmers
  • Vest – x1
  • Cycling rain jacket – x1
  • Gloves ½ x2
  • Gloves – full x1 (winter if cold)
  • Skull cap (mtn top finishes)
  • bike shoes (carry on plane)
  • *check weather – for colder layers, shoe covers, tights, warm jacket, etc.
  • Road I.D. - order one for national and one for international riding
Cycling Supplies
  • Chamoix crème, embrocation
  • Replacement drinks (optional)
  • Road I.D., identification, money
  • Water proof bags to carry phone and small camera
  • bike lock (optional)
  • Bike pump (small pump on bike, large pump - buy or barrow at location)
  • Extra inner tubes
  • Allen wrench, tire lever, pedal wrench, bike lube, rag (as needed)
  • Extra cleats (optional, or change prior to departure)
  • New tires, or tires in very good condition
  • Bike geometry measurements (optional)
  • *complete bike check to be done before departure
  • Road chalk, flags, hats, etc. (optional for fans)
Tip: Even though I might train at home with bars, gels and pounds of before and post ride stuff - I find I don't use these while riding in France. Typically I want to eat real food. I do bring (or buy) replacement powder drink mix if I am riding hard five days of the week. Being well hydrated makes me feel better that evening and the next day.

  • ID tag on outside; also label inside case with name and address >
  • Bike (see link to packing instructions above)
  • 2 empty water bottles
  • Foam /foam tubes /rags /plastic zip ties for packing
  • *any tools used to disassemble the bike
  • *remove pedals and carry-on, or tape securely inside bike box
Seat Bag
  • tire levers
  • innertubes
  • tools
  • copy of ID/passport in seat bag
  • (*remove air cartridges, not allowed in any airplane luggage)
Supplies to buy at destination (if staying longer than 7 days)
  • Shampoo, soaps, or any heavy liquids (bring 1st night's supplies with you)
  • Baby wipes, small wash cloth (to rinse off immediately after riding)
  • Laundry soap (for hand-washing)
Optional supplies (for longer stays or camping/picnics)
  • Spoon, fork, knife, glasses (for picnics and drinks)
  • Cooler bag (day storage of food)
  • Floor pump (better tire pressure)
  • Sponge to clean bikes
  • 1-2 light cheap blankets to cover luggage/bikes while stored in car
  • Air cartridges for bike
*It is a safe idea to leave a full itinerary, contact information, medical and financial information at home with family member. Also give your family contact information to your travel companions.

Packing a bike case: Pedal Dancer: How to pack a bike box for Travel
Travel tips for cyclists: Pedal Dancer: Packing Tips for Cyclists
Dressing in layers (by temperature, for cyclists): Dressing for the Weather in Cycling

22 March 2012

I foresee a muddy Paris-Roubaix

Tut-tut it looks like rain
This year I am predicting mud. Forget the recent years of hot dusty racing on the cobbles in Belgium and France, it turns out that the talk of not including the famed Arenberg forest and the fuss over cleaning the slippery moss off the cobbles in the forest may have been prudent indeed. The early weather forecast for the 2012 Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix calls for rain rain and more rain. Ah springtime in Flanders!
I have thus revised my packing list, which now reads: rain coat, rain coat, and an extra rain coat in case the first two get wet. All these years I've watched the hardy fans waiting for hours slogging through the gutters and muddy fields of Flanders, thinking I want to be there among those hardy fans - well I might get my wish and then some. Please allow me at least one whimper from Belgium by the fifth day of rain, rain, followed by rain. 
Update 27 March, 2012. The weather report in Belgium is looking bright!
Weather forecast for Oudenaarde, Belgium - the finish village of the 2012 Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen) on April 01, 2012 (cloudy sunny 52°F):
Weather forecast for Roubaix, France - the finish village of the 2012 Paris-Roubaix, on April 08, 2012 (cloudy/sunny 50°F/10°C, chance of rain):
And lastly for those 20,000 special cyclists attempting their own Tour of Flanders by riding the Ronde van Vlaanderen for cyclotourists on Saturday, March 31, 2012, they will have cool weather only a chance of rain!
I am also predicting much discussion among riders and mechanics about wheels and tires for the races. Bring in the Ambrosio wheels. Related reading: Race tech: Wheel and tire choices at Paris-Roubaix 2011 By BikeRadar.

An Ambrosio wheel  ©Photo by PedalDancer.com
"Queen of the North" Ambrosio rim  ©Photo by PedalDancer.com
How to recognize an Ambrosio wheel (even if the rims have been painted over to avoid Sponsor issues)
What's a little rain? I prefer to look on the bright side - the rain might result in more muddy George Hincapie epic photographs. For now see: Can we get some mud for George. This could be George's 17th Tour of Flanders, and it very well could be a muddy one.

For more race information read: 2012 Race Dates and Routes or visit CLASSICS 

19 March 2012


Beauty, passion, knowledge, achievement, connection

The counter on Pedal Dancer, which tallies all you wonderful visitors from 15,634 cities around the world, just sailed by 250,000 and kept right on going. It took my breathe away when I looked at the figure representing individuals from all over the world who love cycling as much as I do.
Without a specific purpose I wanted to share with you what was on my task list as Pedal Dancer reached this landmark. Every week, every month, most days, I try to work on a task to build Pedal Dancer into the future. I want to be a different type of resource for cyclists, not only reporting on what the riders will do or have done in races, but a resource for information that will stick over time, making the world of being a fan that much more fun. 
This is what has been on my mind ...
When I noticed that big 250,000 number I had been anticipating for months, I came onto the site this afternoon to add an old video to my new Classics resource page. Do you remember the black and white video of the riders jostling across the cobbles in the 2011 Paris-Roubaix? Well here it is again, the video that many will agree is one of the best cycling videos ever made:  

Parijs-Roubaix van dichtbij by on Apr 11, 2011
I have spent recent days trying to learn the steps in applying for a press card, which is needed to cover the races in Europe. Not an easy task; I don't have an assignment from a magazine or news organization. I have no desire to compete with or add another news source for cycling. I am trying to build a resource for fans, a way of providing information, not only news. I have so many ideas for creating a different approach. Even when a project is sparked from enthusiastic passion, it still requires a lot of hard work.
There is so much to learn! As I read more in preparation for my travels to Belgium I am awed by the tradition of both the racing and the fans in Belgium. I want to be there, to experience it fully. Set aside the time and money to make a trip like this happen, I feel a desire to know and learn as much as possible before I go, to earn the going. I also want to keep the fuel burning long after I return. I never know a place until I've walked the streets, read the signs, gotten lost 4 times, met a person with whom I have a commonality, and had an unexpected experience bad or delightful. That is travel.
Yesterday I walked my dog around beautiful Balboa Island, California, as the wind rattled the rigging lines on the boats moored in the harbor. Every so often I fall back to the simple fact that the world of cycling is all about connecting people in hopes of having a faster better day on a bike. No matter who you are, we are looking for that good day, that fast ride, where all the preparation and hard work comes together. When we are better than we were before, when we have achieved. 
As I walked I found myself reflecting on a photo I had seen on a blog months ago, to me the image made this great big crazy world of cycling seem so much more personal. The image below is of the sign-in sheet from Stage 6 of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. On the sheet are the signatures of every rider who mounted his bike that morning in Golden, Colorado, to give his best at competition. 
To me these signatures are a symbol of riders who built on their dreams day after day, never giving up hope, always believing that they could win or get a win for a teammate. Step after step until their steps took them up to the sign-in stage of a professional bike race where they stood before all to say "here I go, I am going to go get that good day, that fast ride, watch me fly."
sheet  Photo by Dude...Buddy blog 
Click image to enlarge
ABOUT THE IMAGE: The photo was taken at the stage start area in Golden during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado by Brian at Dude...Buddy blog. When I contacted Brian to ask about the photo, he told me his story from the day: "All stage races have riders "sign in" for each stage.  It's an official way to have the riders say they are continuing with the race.  It's an unofficial way to parade the riders out before the race.  My four year old and I had been up on Lookout Mountain for the race.  Afterwards we rode back down to Golden.  The main street where they started was all blocked off for cars and we rode through to check it out.  At the start they were displaying the sign in sheet.  I wish I could have seen the sign in but it was cool to see all the signatures.  So I snapped a photo with my phone.  Then we went to the park for the rest of the stage, we watched on a big screen they had setup. I didn't know they displayed the sign in sheet at the start, but it is pretty cool."
All these years I've seen the riders sign-in at races and this was the first time I had actually seen how and what they were signing. Very cool. 

The sign-in sheet is a marvel of tradition in the sport of cycling. Often used to insure that riders did not skip over the route by taking shortcuts, riders were required to sign-in at various points along the stage, today they of course only sign-in at the start. In the historical book of the Tour de France titled The Tour de France, author Christopher S. Thompson writes, "The newspaper L'Auto had an obsession with assessing the beauty and elegance reflected in the racer's handwriting at the check-point sign-in sheets. A regular feature in L'Auto from the very first tour, Racers' signatures often received prominent coverage. Racers photographs were often accompanied by their autographs, suggesting that a racer's signature was as representative of him as his face." They used to have competitions and award small cash prizes to riders with the best penmanship. Glad that tradition is over, what is most notable is the dreaded line through the box of those who abandoned the race. Their dreams will continue another day.

Thanks for reading! Keep on pedaling.

15 March 2012

Recommended reading: Pedal Stroke

What exactly is efficiency?
Watching Dave Zabriskie pedaling at the 2011 Tour of California  Photo by PedalDancer.com

Breakaway from Cancer® Champion

Nominate a Hero 
Do something nice for someone special today. Do you know someone who has overcome Cancer or contributed to overcoming the disease? If this person currently lives in Santa Rosa, Livermore, Clovis, or Los Angeles, California, you may nominate them as the Breakaway from Cancer® Champion for the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. Nominations (survivor, patient, caregiver, or advocate) are being accepted through March 23rd, 2012, for each of these 4 stages of the 8-day stage race. 

  • Santa Rosa - May 13
  • Livermore - May 15
  • Clovis - May 16
  • Los Angeles - May 20
Breakaway from Cancer Champions will be granted special access to the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, be recognized on stage, and lead the Breakaway Mile through their community. Read more about the Criteria for nominees. Then use the Online Nomination Form.  Online voting will take place to select the Breakaway from Cancer Champion in each community from April 9 - April 24. [check back for a link]
Read more at: www.breakawayfromcancer.com/champions.

13 March 2012

Tour of California teams announced for 2012

List of teams for the Amgen Tour of California & VIP
16 teams were announced for the 2012 Amgen Tour of California roster. The final rider start list will be announced closer to the race dates May 13-20, 2012. 
I am happy to see Omega Pharma-Quickstep returning to the race (not in the race last year), which guarantees Levi Leipheimer should be there to try to take back the win from last year's winner - Chris Horner, (now with RadioShack-Nissan-Trek). Also AG2R La Mondiale and GreenEDGE Cycling teams will be competing in the race this year. Team Type I is not on the roster for 2012, nor is the Jelly Belly team. No Mark Cavendish, or Bernie Eisel(!) either, since Team Sky is not listed. That is a bummer since they are my favorite photo ops. The good news is that reliable BMC, Rabobank (a major sponsor of the event), and Liquigas-Cannondale will be in the house

Mark your calendars, this race remains a favorite. Read more: “Most prestigious field of talent ever’ confirmed for Tour of California By VeloNation.
Teams cars at the 2011 Amgen Tour of California ©Photo by PedalDancer.com
UCI ProTeams
  • BMC Racing Team (USA)
  • Rabobank Cycling Team (NED)
  • Garmin- Barracuda (USA)
  • RadioShack-Nissan-Trek (LUX)
  • Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA)
  • Omega Pharma - QuickStep (BEL)
  • AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
  • GreenEDGE Cycling Team (AUS) Orica GreenEdge (new team name May 2012)
UCI Professional Continental Teams
  • Team Spidertech Powered By C10 (CAN)
  • UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
  • Project 1t4i (NED) Team Argos-Shimano (new team name April 2012)
  • Colombia-Coldeportes (COL)
UCI Continental Teams
  • Team Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
  • Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)
  • Team Exergy (USA)
  • Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA)
©Photo by PedalDancer.com
VIP Passes
VIP Experiences are also for sale now on the Amgen Tour of California website. Prices range from $200 for a standard VIP tent pass to $1800 for a time trial car ride, or up to $40,000 for a 200 person private hospitality suite - who's in? For more information on VIP packages contact Melissa Gruber 213.763.5489 mgruber@aegworldwide.com Jordan Goldberg 213.763.2652 jgoldberg@aegworldwide.com

See the new Leaders jerseys for the 2012 Tour of California: Jerseys of the 2012 Tour of California. Learn the teams jerseys and more about the teams:
Related Pedal Dancer posts:

12 March 2012

2012 Pedal Dancer Team Bike

My new custom designed Pinarello Dogma2
Every year (all 2 of them) I design a new team bike for the Pedal Dancer crew (that would be me). This year I just discovered this fun online tool to design your own custom Pinarello Dogma2 bike. Remember how I designed my own custom Pedal Dancer Ridley bike in 2011? Well here is my new 2012 custom Pinarello; markedly understated from my 2011 bike: (click image to enlarge)
2012 Pedal Dancer Team Bike
I also added many more pictures and text to the previous post I did on Pinarello Bikes, so check it out again at: Pinarello Dogma2 from March 5, 2012.

09 March 2012

Recommended Viewing: Photos from Paris-Nice

Photos from Stage 4 and Stage 5   

Some very good quality images by Paddy Sweeney at Velo Peloton:
Paris-Nice images from Stage 4 near Rodez Paris-Nice – Stage 4 Rodez 
Paris-Nice images from the start of Stage 5 in Onet-le-Château Paris-Nice Stage 5 Onet-le-Chateau

07 March 2012

Road Trip!

The year's travel adventures begin
I'm on a road trip from Colorado to California. Yesterday I visited my traditional rest stop on my journey west across Colorado - Utah - Nevada - California. I stopped at the well-known mountain bike Kokopelli's Trailhead, located just outside of Fruita, Colorado (west of Grand Junction). And yes, there were mountain bikers coming and going along the trails. 
Kokopelli's Trailhead, Colorado
I'm traveling again
As my friend Wilma wrote to me yesterday, "Traveling is the one thing in my life I wish I could do more." I believe she speaks for many of us. 
This blog will take on a more personal tone in coming weeks as I again write about my travel adventures over 3 weeks in California and then 12-days in Belgium being a fan at the Tour of Flanders and the Paris-Roubaix, with a quick visit to Italy tucked in between the two races. 
Remember the origins of Pedal Dancer began when I had friends who traveled to Belgium to see the Classics in April 2010. It expanded when I wrote about my 5-week trip to France in July 2010 for my family back home in the USA. I am grateful to my family who makes all my journeys possible and to my friends who fuel my desire. Also for my mobile work, and to my boss, who happens to be my brother - an understanding avid cyclist, cycling fan, and world-wide traveler.
True blog writing will resume, mixed in with posts about the Classics and other races. And Bikes.
When I tell friends "I am going to the Classics in Belgium," most reply, "Oh I have always wanted to go!" Those same friends who had been to the Classics (mentioned above) were kind enough to offer many tips to make my trip even better. There was of course the one friend who sincerely wrote, "Are you coming thru [my town]?? we could meet for lunch or dinner or something... before I strangle you and bury your burned body in the desert... remember our pact about giving each other shit when traveling?..  you've crossed the line!!  THREE WEEKS!!!! then Belgium???? I hate you!!!"
For all these levels of kindness, and inspired by a picture I sent to a friend yesterday,  I will be tweeting (from @karenrake) random photographs from my travels titled - "Wish you were here." Come along on my journeys, I truly Wish you were here!

04 March 2012

2012 Paris-Nice

Paris-Nice riders are racing south towards the Mediterranean
Paris-Nice, March 4-11, 2012. 8 stages, 1,155.5 kilometres. (race website). Racing season is in full-swing, Paris-Nice has begun.
Paris-Nice Route map:
Parcours of the 2012 Paris-Nice
2012 Paris-Nice Stages: (clicking the red arrow, for each stage, will open up a world of information to you)
Stage Type Date Start and Finish Distance Details
1 Individual time-trial Sunday 4 March Dampierre-en-Yvelines - Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse 9.4 km
2 En ligne Monday 5 March Mantes-la-Jolie - Orléans 185.5 km
3 En ligne Tuesday 6 March Vierzon - Le Lac de Vassivière 194 km
4 En ligne Wednesday 7 March Brive-la-Gaillarde - Rodez 178 km
5 En ligne Thursday 8 March Onet-le-Château - Mende 178.5 km
6 En ligne Friday 9 March Suze-la-Rousse - Sisteron 178.5 km
7 En ligne Saturday 10 March Sisteron - Nice 219.5 km
8 Individual time-trial Sunday 11 March Nice - Col d'Èze 9.6 km

2012 Paris-Nice route maps and profiles (from Steephill.TV)
Stage 1 map  profile 
Stage 2 map  profile
Stage 3 map  profile
Stage 4 map  profile
Stage 5 map  profile
Stage 6 map  profile
Stage 7 map  profile
Stage 8 map  profile

Competing teams:
Team                                                                    DS                                                       team website
AG2R La Mondiale ALM France Vincent LAVENU www.cyclisme.ag2rlamondiale.fr
Astana Pro Team AST Kazakhstan Giuseppe MARTINELLI www.astana.lu
BMC Racing Team BMC United States John LELANGUE www.bmc-racing.com
Cofidis, Le Crédit en Ligne COF France Didier ROUS www.equipe-cofidis.com
Euskaltel-Euskadi EUS Spain Gorka GERRIKAGOITIA ARRIEN fundacioneuskadi.com
FDJ-BigMat FDJ France Marc MADIOT www.equipecyclistefdj.fr
Garmin-Barracuda GRM United States Alan PEIPER www.slipstreamsports.com/
GreenEdge Cycling Team GEC Australia Matthew WHITE www.greenedgecycling.com
Katusha Team KAT Russia Valerio PIVA www.katushateam.com
Lampre - ISD LAM Italy Roberto DAMIANI www.teamlampreisd.com
Liquigas-Cannondale LIQ Italy Dario MARIUZZO www.teamliquigas.com
Lotto Belisol Team LTB Belgium Marc SERGEANT www.lottobelisol.be
Movistar Team MOV Spain José Luis LAGUIA MARTINEZ www.movistarteam.com
Omega Pharma-Quick Step OPQ Belgium Davide BRAMATI www.omegapharma-quickstep.com
Project 1t4i PRO Netherlands Rudi KEMNA www.1t4i.com
Rabobank Cycling Team RAB Netherlands Frans MAASSEN www.rabosport.nl
RadioShack-Nissan RNT United States Luca GUERCILENA/td> www.leopard.lu
Saur-Sojasun SAU France Stéphane HEULOT www.saur-sojasun.com
Sky Pro Cycling SKY Great Britain Sean YATES www.teamsky.com
Team Europcar EUC France Jean-René BERNAUDEAU www.teameuropcar.com
Team Saxo Bank SAX Denmark Bjarne RIIS www.slipstreamsports.com
Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team VCD Netherlands Hilaire VAN DER SCHUEREN www.vacansoleildcm.com

Paris-Nice Standings after stage 1 - Individual Time Trial (results March 4th):
1. LARSSON Gustav 105 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 11' 19"
2. WIGGINS Bradley 21 SKY PROCYCLING 11' 20" + 00' 01"
3. LEIPHEIMER Levi 6 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 11' 23" + 00' 04"
4. VAN GARDEREN Tejay 167 BMC RACING TEAM 11' 28" + 00' 09"
5. DE GENDT Thomas 103 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 11' 31" + 00' 12"
6. CHAVANEL Sylvain 3 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 11' 31" + 00' 12"
7. TAARAMAE Rein 51 COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE 11' 32" + 00' 13"
8. IRIZAR Markel 13 RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 11' 32" + 00' 13"
9. PAURIOL Rémi 146 FDJ-BIGMAT 11' 34" + 00' 15"
10. COPPEL Jérôme 201 SAUR-SOJASUN 11' 34" + 00' 15"
11. BOONEN Tom 2 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 11' 34" + 00' 15"
12. VOIGT Jens 18 RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 11' 36" + 00' 17"
13. GRETSCH Patrick 217 PROJECT 1T4I 11' 36" + 00' 17"
14. HUSHOVD Thor 161 BMC RACING TEAM 11' 36" + 00' 17"
15. MONFORT Maxime 15 RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 11' 36" + 00' 17"
16. PORTE Richie 24 SKY PROCYCLING 11' 36" + 00' 17"
17. GUTIERREZ José Ivan 34 MOVISTAR TEAM 11' 37" + 00' 18"
18. PHINNEY Taylor 166 BMC RACING TEAM 11' 38" + 00' 19"
19. WESTRA Lieuwe 108 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 11' 39" + 00' 20"
20. BARREDO Carlos 92 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 11' 40" + 00' 21"

2011 Final Overall Podium:
1   Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad 34:03:37 (now with Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
2   Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 0:00:36 (now with RadioShack Nissan)
3   Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:41 (still with Sky)

Watch it or read it live online:
Steephill.TV - Paris-Nice (with a list of team rosters in the right column)
Cycling News