13 May 2012

Traveling at the Tour of California Stage 1

Santa Rosa, California
Sure this is Levi Leipheimer's home (although he was born in Butte, Montana) and rightly the fans turned out in large numbers today to cheer on their local boy. But did you also know that team BMC, the team sponsored by a Swiss bicycle manufacturer, was started and is based in Santa Rosa, California, USA? That is right their service course (supply house) is conveniently located next to the local brewery. VeloNews recently visited the team supply location Gallery: BMC Racing Santa Rosa service course.
Bissell Pro Cycling also trains in Santa Rosa, California and held their team camp there this past February. Bissell team member Ben Jacques-Maynes, who won the Exergy most aggressive rider jersey today, said the team rode today's climb on their training rides. Santa Rosa is also home to Levi's Gran Fondo a very successful cycling event for amateurs hosted by Levi himself every September.
bicycle wine rack
Did you also know that Spanish and Mexican settlers raised livestock in the downtown area of Santa Rosa in the 1830's? But it was earlier in 1812 that Russian immigrants first planted grapes along the coastal area near Fort Ross, the road on which the riders raced today. We can thank Padre Jose Altimira, a Spanish Franciscan Father, for his fine idea in 1824 to plant thousands of grapes in Sonoma county. The lucrative vineyards become part of a tug of war between the Mexican government and the then annexed State of California (California finally became the 31st state of the United States of America in 1850). Downtown Santa Rosa was nearly leveled in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Growth was understandably slow after that.
Today the vineyards of sonoma produce excellent wines. You might recognize the grapes grown in Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and the Russian River Valley (a personal favorite). Don't confuse Sonoma County (Sonoma Printable Winery Map) with Napa County (Napa Valley Printable Winery Map). Sonoma County far out produces neighbor Napa County. The largest Sonoma harvest in history was in 2005 when over 230,000 tons of grapes valued at $430 million were produced on about 55,000 acres. Types of grapes produced in Sonoma County include: Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cinsault, Gamay Noir, Gewurztraminer, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Muscat Canelli, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Musque, Semillon, Syrah, Tempranillo, Tinta Cao, Touriga Nacional, Viognier, Zinfandel.
Now this is my kind of cycling map! All this goodness grows north of the San Francisco bay area, that blue area to the left of the map is the Pacific Ocean. Sonoma County is beautiful country.
Every dot is a winery!   link: Sonoma Printable Winery Map
I think I recognize these two - is that Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett with a glass of California white? I wonder how early they had to arrive to acclimate and train for their job?
Wetting the whistle for some cycling announcing.  Image tweeted by @PaulSherwen
And the roving reporters from VeloNews.com

Amgen Tour of California Press Release 05/13/12:
2012 AToC Stage 1 jersey winners:
  • Amgen Leader Jersey – Peter Sagan (SVK), Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA)
  • Nissan King of the Mountain Jersey – David Boily (CAN), Team Spidertech Powered by C10 (CAN)
  • Visit California Sprint Jersey – Peter Sagan (SVK), Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA)  (Heinrich Haussler (AUS), Garmin-Barracuda (USA) will wear the green Visit California Sprint Jersey tomorrow since Peter Sagan cannot wear two jerseys)
  • Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey – Peter Sagan (SVK), Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA) (Josh Atkins, (NZL), Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA) will wear the Robobank Best Young Rider Jersey tomorrow since Peter Sagan cannot wear two jerseys)
  • Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey – Levi Leipheimer (USA), Omega Pharma-QuickStep (BEL)
  • Exergy Most Aggressive Rider Jersey – Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), Bissell Pro Cycling (USA
Because this is the year of the Olympics - Pedal Dancer brings you The Race by Country
Tomorrow morning we wake up bright and early in San Francisco ... we're heading to the coastal town of Santa Cruz on Stage 2.