04 September 2012

More Photos from Aspen

It was the perfect morning for being a fan
I am ready to revisit a recent morning in Aspen at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Why? Because it was the perfect setting for any pro cycling fan and I have lots more pictures to share with you. In Aspen the ease of spotting riders and the who's who of cycling was non-stop, plus everyone was in a good mood. Aspen, Colorado is a nice town with nice accommodations, good food and beautiful mountain scenery (excellent fishing, skiing, mountain biking, cycling, nordic skiing, hiking). Even though the morning fell between two very difficult stages, everyone appeared to be well taken care of, happy and well fed. 
I am sorry for the breaking news today that Bradley Wiggins did not enjoy the Tour de France. He should have come to Aspen to race. It never occurred to me that winning the Tour de France should be coupled with niceties and enjoyment, but I think Bradley might be onto to something. Is a hotel room, a good meal, friendly press, no coach transfer and 8 hours of sleep too much to ask for from a stage race? Not in Aspen it isn't. 
Bradley Wiggins not having a nice time in France   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
The TV coverage of the Tour de France always shows the media hounding the Leader with lots of pushing and shoving and loss of patience. I was in France last summer, here was the crowd waiting outside the Sky team bus for Bradley Wiggins at the start in Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateau in July. 
The wild mob of James Startt (of Bicycling.com) and a few pre-selected matching school kids   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Here was the group waiting for Jens Voigt outside his RSNT team bus (and he wasn't even in the lead), in Breckenridge, Colorado, at the start of Stage 5 of the USA Pro Challenge.  
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
They don't let these kind of crowds form at the Tour de France, it is far more civilized and Gendarmmafied (I made that word up - it means policed in FrenchAmericanese), the French promote social order, through a constant joy of policing each other. America is the land of equal opportunity, that translates to freedom for fans, and unprecedented access. I mean it, you gotta come to this race! 
Maybe Bradley Wiggins would have a better time if he got closer to the fans and further from the media. Fans generally don't mention doping and who else is going to win, at least not to your face. Now that we are on the topic, I think everyone should join Bradley Wiggins in Aspen. Take a look at the fan access to riders and the scene on a beautiful morning in the Rocky Mountains (FYI Bradley - direct flights from London to Denver International Airport!). 
Photos by the luckiest fan in the world - me!  Karen at Pedal Dancer. And also Ron Long, the next luckiest fan in the world. Click any image to enlarge
Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda Cervelo team bikes  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Christian Vande Velde  ©Photo by Ron Long for PedalDancer.com
Christian signing autographs for fans  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Christian  ©Photo by Ron Long for PedalDancer.com
Taylor Phinney, Tejay van Garderen, Michael Schär    ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Race Director Jim Birrell and Levi  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Levi Leipheimer  ©Photo by Ron Long for PedalDancer.com
Levi's Specialized S-Works bike   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Peter Velits  ©Photo by Ron Long for PedalDancer.com
Peter   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Peter's brother Martin Velits   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Jeroen Hoorne  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Matthew Brammeier (Irish National Road Champion)  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Tanel Kangert (Estonia National Champion)  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Ivan Basso   ©Photo by Ron Long for PedalDancer.com
Ivan Basso   ©Photo by Ron Long for PedalDancer.com
Dave Towle and Danny Summerhill   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Joe   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Joe Dombrowski   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Fred Rodriguez   ©Photo by Ron Long for PedalDancer.com
Suddenly I barely noticed cyclocross rider Tim Johnson off to the side of the road sitting on his super cool Cannondale Supersix EVO road bike. Tim was telling me he was in Aspen to ride with a Cannondale group when Taylor Phinney rode up happy to see his very good friend.
Tim Johnson    ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
a very warm greeting between friends   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
 Tim Johnson and Taylor Phinney   ©Photo by Ron Long for PedalDancer.com
Taylor Phinney  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Taylor  ©Photo by Ron Long for PedalDancer.com
Mavic neutral support team  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Matthew Busche, Andreas Kloden, George Bennett  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Two of the thinnest guys in the peloton, Andreas Kloden and George Bennett   
  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Chris Horner signing autographs  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Jens Voigt's smile  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Jens Voigt's legs  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
The legs of Michael Creed   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda's Tyler Farrar, Lachlan Morton, Nathan Haas   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Everyone was focused on George Hincapie in his last race of his career. But as the "old' (George Hincapie) was heading out, the 'new' was heading in (Joe Dombrowski).  

©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
George Hincapie  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
The next big thing in cycling  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Tom Danielson sure was enjoying himself  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Damiano Caruso and Christian Vande Velde sure look like they were enjoying themselves    
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Christian, Tom, George, and Joe doing alright   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
so were the fans in Aspen   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
A little quality fan time is all that Bradley needs   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
That is why Bradley Wiggins enjoyed the Olympics so much - the awesome fans!
For additional stories and photos from Stage 5 Aspen to Beaver Creek of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, please view A Day at the Race in Aspen  and  A Day at the Race in Beaver Creek.
I'd also like to mention that the Difficult Campground was the perfect location for camping and riding up Independence Pass from the Aspen side, and that the public showers at the Aspen Recreation Center were just fine (open 6am-8:45pm). But this is what happens when you are photo media and forget to charge your battery while out camping.
Camping in Aspen sans electricity
My camera battery charging near the team cars (thanks City of Aspen for the charge and thanks Optum Kelly Benefit Strategies team staff for holding it for me to pick up!)