28 February 2014

2014 Spring Classics Schedule

Spring Classics, Fall Classics, Semi-Classics, One-Day Classics

Dates and links to the 2014 Spring Classics in Belgium, France, Spain, and Italy:


One-Day Classics - Spring Classics
Milano-Sanremo - 23 March 2014
E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke - 28 March 2014
Gent-Wevelgem - 30 March 2014
Tour des Flandres - 06 April 2014
Paris-Roubaix -13 April 2014
Amstel Gold - 20 April 2014
La Fleche Wallonne - 23 April 2014
Liège–Bastogne–Liège - 27 April 2014

The Monuments

Milan-San Remo (Italy) - 23 March 2014
Tour of Flanders (Belgium) (Ronde van Vlaanderen) - 06 April 2014
Paris–Roubaix (France) -13 April 2014
Liège–Bastogne–Liège (Belgium) - 27 April 2014
Il Lombardia (Italy) - - 05 October 2014

Fall Classics

Clasica Ciclista San Sabastian - 02 August 2014
UCI Worlds - 21-28 September 2014, Ponferrada, Spain
Il Lombardia - 05 October 2014

Belgian Semi-Classics (not on the UCI WorldTour):

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - 01 March 2014
Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne - 02 March 2014 (this is the race canceled due to snow in 2013)
Scheldeprijsf - 9 April 2014
De Brabantse Pijl - 16 April 2014

Italian Semi-Classic (not on the UCI WorldTour)

Strade Bianche 8 March 2014

More race dates may all be found at this same link by using the dropdown box and selecting the Tour:
2014 UCI WorldTour race schedule
2014 UCI Europe race schedule
2014 UCI American Tour race schedule

Archived 2013 Schedule here: 2013 Cycling Classics race calendar

19 February 2014

Photos for the Day - Sochi

The layout of the Olympics

It seems that every time I glimpse a bit of the Olympic competition on television I try to piece together what it really looks like in Sochi, Russia. What are the logistics like for the competitors, I wonder. How fun is it truly to be at these games for spectators? There seems to be a lot of concrete and distance between.

These Olympic games have been advertised as the most expensive ever. I get the hard work, dreams, failures, and glory that is part of the long shot that is the Olympics games, but what about the nations that put out so much to host the summer or winter Olympics?

As the 2014 Winter Olympics began, I commented to my mother, "Here we go again, we get to see the pageantry and best face of a country, and then what? Remember watching the winter Olympics in Yugolavia in 1984, it really expanded my world, then within years the country was in war and all that real and imagined beauty was wiped out. Remember Greece - they fell into financial ruin during and after the Athens Olympics." I worry about these cities.

I'm not convinced the Olympics are always a blessing to the host city. Does it have to be so extravagant?

We are just talking about sports, mano a mano, competition. Will the price tag of the event be doomed to escalate and escalate; each city trying to top the last? The athletes go home with the medals while the country is left with a enormous bill, no motivation to finsh what was not completed before the games, and a large mark upon the land.

I have been lucky to attend both the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Both were incredibly memorable experiences and the pride for country and athlete was real. The atmosphere of being at the olympics is fabulous, but please don't bring it to my town in the modern era.

The Dream

This is obviously a graphic artist's rendition of what must have been one of the initial dreams for the layout of the Olympics in Sochi - because this sure ain't what it looks like.
Study this image closely and you will see all sorts of structures that were never built and land bulldozed over including those nice homes with land at the water front. click to enlarge

This must have been another dream.
Now that is an elevated train. 

This is what Sochi really looks like - beach front property on the Black Sea:

The layout
Multiple mountain venues
Sochi by the sea


Cost: 50 Billion
Sports: 15
Number of events: 98
Countries represented: 88
Number of athletes: 2850
Price per athlete: 1,754,385.96 (yeah that is 1.7 mil each for the chance of a lifetime)
Number of medals: 294
Medal Standings: The Medals Race
Test your Olympic trivia knowledge: Olympic Fun Facts

The Netherlands has won 22 medals to date in the 2014 Winter Olympics, with this small team of incredible athletes:

The United States has won 23 medals so far, here was our team at opening ceremonies. A herd of 1.7 million dollar athletes:

Closing ceremonies are this Sunday!

16 February 2014

2014 Colorado Bike Race Calendar

List of 2014 Cycling Races in Colorado - Road Races, Criteriums, Hill Climbs, Time Trials, Mountain Bike and Stage Races

Update 2016 Race Calendar: 2016 Colorado and National Bike Race Calendar List
Update 2015 Race Calendar: 2015 Colorado Bike Race Calendar

A new year is upon us and road racing season begins in Colorado the 3rd week in February. One month in winter now separates cyclocross racing from road racing. Come fall, the transition will be a week or so, one weekend you will be on your road bike, the next weekend you will be on your cross bike. Add in some mountain bike races, hill climbs, and criteriums in the height of summer and you are looking at a very full calendar of racing in Colorado planned throughout 2014.

Important: Changes in race license requirements through BRAC and USAC apply for 2014 - please check with these cycling agencies or directly with the race organizer for exact rules applying to each race. Depending on your race category licenses / memberships from both agencies might be required, rules for teams and 1-day licenses have also changed. All licenses expire on December 31st of the year issued.

More information on race licenses at: BRACRACE ORGANIZER LISTUSAC.

For a calendar list of bike events and rides in Colorado, including century rides, for the 2014 season - please see: 2014 Colorado Cycling Events and Bike Rides

Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Colorado Bike Races   [race flyers will add when available]

Dates of Road Race, Criterium, Hill Climb, Time Trial, Mountain Bike, Stage Races

February 22, 2104 - Gebhardt Automotive Cycling Classic Flyer
March 08, 2104 - University of Denver Criterium Flyer
March 09, 2104 - Frostbite Time Trial Flyer  Rescheduled
March 15, 2104 - Oredigger Classic - Lookout Mountain ITT/Hillclimb Day 1 Flyer
March 15, 2104 - Oredigger Classic - Collegiate Street Sprints Flyer
March 16, 2104 - Oredigger Classic - Criterium Day 2 Flyer
March 22, 2104 - University of Colorado-Candelas Circuit Race Flyer
March 23, 2104 - University of Colorado-Stazio Criterium Flyer
March 29, 2104 - Colorado State University Road Race Day 1 Flyer
March 30, 2104 - Colorado State University Criterium Day 2 Flyer
April 05, 2104 - Louisville Criterium Flyer Website
April 05, 2104 - Front Range Cycling Classic - Criterium Flyer
April 05, 2104 - Front Range Cycling Classic - Collegiate TTT Flyer
April 06, 2104 - Front Range Cycling Classic - Road Race Flyer
April 12, 2104 - Fort Lewis College Squaker Criterium Flyer
April 13, 2104 - Fort Lewis College Squaker Road Race Flyer
April 18, 2104 - Maverick Classic Day 1 - Crit  Fruita Flyer
April 19, 2104 - Weld County Road Race Flyer
April 19, 2104 - Maverick Classic Day 2 - TT  Fruita Flyer
April 19, 2104 - Maverick Classic Day 2 - Crit  Grand Junction Flyer
April 20, 2104 - Maverick Classic Day 3 - Road Race Palisades Flyer
April 24-27, 2014 - Fruita Fat Tire Festival (MTB) Website
April 25-27, 2014 - BRAC Junior Road Camp Website
April 26, 2104 - Denver Federal Center Classic Flyer
April 27, 2104 - 11th Annual Deer Trail Road Race Rescheduled in June
May 2-3, 2014 - 18 hours of Fruita (MTB) Website
May 03, 2104 - Café Velo Tri-Lakes TT
May 04, 2014 - Koppenberg Road Race Website
May 10, 2014 - Wheels of Thunder
May 10, 2014 - Desert Rats Mountain Bike Classic 100K (MTB) Website
May 17, 2014 - Firebird 40 (MTB) Website
May 17, 2014 - Superior Morgul Classic- Criterium Website
May 18, 2014 - Superior Morgul Classic-Road Race Website
May 24, 2014 - Colorado Mini Classic - Criterium Flyer
May 25, 2014 - Colorado Mini Classic - Road Race JR RR Championships
May 31, 2014 - City Park Criterium Flyer
May 31, 2014 - ERock Sunrise to Sunset (MTB) Relay Website
June 01, 2014 - Coal Miners Circuit Race Website 
June 01, 2014 - Beti Bike Bash (MTB) Website
June 07, 2014 - Sunshine Hill Climb Flyer
June 07, 2014 - Hammer Time Trial Day, Velodrome, Colorado Springs Flyer
June 08, 2014 - Sonic Boom - CO Master Crit Championships Website Flyer
June 14, 2014 - Best on Hess TT / TTT Flyer
June 14, 2014 - Bailey Hundo, 100-mile (MTB) Website 
June 15, 2014 - Guanella Pass Hillclimb Flyer
June 21, 2014 - Tour of Westcliffe-CO Jr & SR RR Championships cancelled
June 21, 2104 - Deer Trail Road Race SR RR Championships Flyer
June 22, 2014 - Ridge at 38 Criterium, Wheat Ridge Website
June 28, 2014 - John Stenner Mem'l - CO Time Trial Championships Flyer
June 29, 2014 - North Boulder Park Classic Rescheduled in August
July 04, 2014 - Olde Capitol Crit (Friday) cancelled
July 12, 2014 - Haystack Mtn TT/TTT Flyer cancelled
July 13, 2014 - Longmont Criterium Website
July 18, 2014 - Salida Classic Time Trials (Friday) Flyer
July 19, 2104 - Salida Classic Criterium Flyer
July 19-20, 2014 - Enduro X Games (Downhill),  Series July-August
July 20, 2014 - Salida Classic Road Race, CO Mstr RR Championships Flyer
July 26, 2014 - Bob Cook Mem'l Mt Evans Hill Climb Website
July __, 2014 - Breckenridge 100 Challenge (MTB) Website
August 02, 2014 - Colorado Bike Law Lookout Mountain Hill Climb Flyer 
August 03, 2014 - Bannock St Criterim - CO Jr Crit Championships
August 09, 2014 - Littleton Twilight Crit - CO Senior Crit Championships
August 09, 2014 - Leadville Trail MTB 100 Website
August 10-14, 2014 - Breck Epic (MTB) Stage Race Website
August 15, 2014 - Casper Classic Stage Race- TT
august 16, 2014 - North Boulder Park Classic
August 16, 2014 - Casper Classic Stage Race - RR cancelled
August 17, 2014 - Casper Classic Stage Race - Criterium cancelled
August 17, 2014 - Casper Classic Stage Race - GC cancelled
August 18, 2014 - Girls Night Out Gran Prix Website
August 18, 2014 - Girls Night Out - TT (Monday)
August 23, 2014 - King of the Mountain Hill Climb
August 24, 2014 - Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb Flyer
August 29-20, 2014 - Grand Junction Off Road Endurance (MTB)
August 30, 2014 - Steamboat SR p/b Moots Cycles - TT Website
August 31, 2014 - Steamboat SR p/b Moots Cycles - RR Website
September 01, 2014 - Steamboat SR p/b Moots Cycles - Crit (Monday) Website
September 01, 2014 - Steamboat SR p/b Moots Cycles - GC (Monday) Website
September 13, 2014 - Banana Belt Mountain Bike Race Website

Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Colorado Weekly Race Series

Karen Hornbostel Memorial Time Trial Series - Cherry Creek Reservoir
Wednesday nights in Spring, 6-weeks: Series Flyer

April 20, 2104 - Karen Hornbostel Mem'l TT #1
April 23, 2104 - Karen Hornbostel Mem'l TT #2
April 30, 2104 - Karen Hornbostel Mem'l TT #3
May 07, 2104 - Karen Hornbostel Mem'l TT #4
May 14, 2104 - Karen Hornbostel Mem'l TT #5
May 21, 2104 - Karen Hornbostel Mem'l TT #6

Propeloton Time Trial Series - Boulder
Wednesday nights throughout the spring/summer: Series Website

May 7, 2014 - Time Trial #1
June 4, 2014 - Time Trial #2
July 2, 2014 - Time Trial #3
August 6, 2014 - Time Trial #4

Inspired Training Midweek Training Series - Flyer

Wednesday nights in Summer, 6-weeks: Inspired Training Center

June 04, 2014 - Inspired Training Midweek Race
June 11, 2014 - Inspired Training Midweek Race
June 18, 2014 - Inspired Training Midweek Race
June 25, 2014 - Inspired Training Midweek Race
July 02, 2014 - Inspired Training Midweek Race

P2P Mid-Wk Series @ CSP p/b Racer X Flyer

Wednesday nights in Summer, 7-weeks:

July 09, 2014 - P2P Mid-Wk Series
July 16, 2014 - P2P Mid-Wk Series
July 23, 2014 - P2P Mid-Wk Series
July 30, 2014 - P2P Mid-Wk Series
August 06, 2014 - P2P Mid-Wk Series
August 20, 2014 - P2P Mid-Wk Series
August 27, 2014 - P2P Mid-Wk Series

Friday Night Racing at Boulder Valley Velodrome (BVV) Flyer
Friday nights in Summer, June - September. No racing 7/4 or 8/22

June 6, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
June 12, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV cancelled
June 20, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
June 27, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
July 11, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
July 18, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
July 25, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
Aug 1, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
Aug 8, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
Aug 15, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
Aug 29, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
Sept 5, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
Sep 12, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV
Sep 19, 2014 - Friday Night Racing at BVV

At the race in downtown Denver.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Citizen Hill Climbs in Colorado in 2014 (These require race licenses!)

You don't need to be part of a team. These climbing challenges come down to you, your bike, and a mountain

May 15, 2014 - Oredigger Classic Lookout Mountain ITT, Golden 
June 07, 2014 - Sunshine Hill Climb, Boulder
June 15, 2014 - Guanella Pass Hillclimb, Georgetown
July 26, 2014 - Bob Cook Memorial/Mt Evans Hill Climb, Idaho Springs
August 2, 2014 - Colorado Bike Law Lookout Mountain Hillclimb, Golden  
August 23, 2014 - King of the Mountain Hill Climb
August 24, 2014 - Pikes Peak Cycling Hillclimb, Colorado Springs 

The climb of Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Also see:
USA Cycling Events Calendar
BRAC Cycling Calendar
303Cycling.com Colorado Calendar

Gran Fondos & Timed Events

Since many believe that Gran Fondos are races as well (and it certainly feels like a race at the front, or even the middle), I include a partial list here of gran fondos (cyclosportive, cyclosportif) scheduled for 2014 near Colorado or worth a road trip:

Gran Fondo (cyclosportive) events in the U.S.A. for the 2014 season
April 5, 2014 - Gran Fondo Las Vegas, Nevada
April 6, 2014 - Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego, California
April 6, 2014 - L'Etape du California, Thousand Oaks, CA (Stage 8 2014 ATOC)
April 12, 2014 - Specialized Gran Fondo at Sea Otter Classic, California
April 26, 2014 - Zion Gran Fondo, Zion National Park, Utah
April 27, 2014 - Mt Lemmon Gran Fondo, Tucson, Arizona
May 3, 2014 - Gran Fondo Moab, Utah
May 17, 2014 - Pony Xpress, (Gravel), Trinidad, Colorado 160//90/50  
May 18, 2014 - Gran Fondo New York - The True Experience, New York
May 24-26, 2014 - Durango-Silverton Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, Durango (Sold-out)
May 25, 2014 - Growler Gran Fondo, Gunnison, Colorado
June 22, 2014 - Black Forest Classic Gran Fondo, Parker, Colorado
June 28, 2014 - Vuelta a Keystone, Keystone, Colorado
June 29, 2014 - Golden Gran Fondo, Golden, Colorado 
July 27, 2014 - Durango 100 Gran Fondo, Durango, Colorado
August 10, 2014 - Gran Fondo Italia - Snowmass Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado 
August 23, 2014 - RBC GranFondo - Banff Canada
August 31, 2014 - Dave Wiens West Elk Bicycle Classic, Gunnison-Crested Butte
September 6, 2014 - RBC GranFondo Whistler Canada
September 13, 2014 - Viva Bike Vegas - Gran Fondo Pinarello, Nevada
September 28, 2014 - Gran Fondo Italia - Beverly Hills, California
October 4, 2014 - Gila Monster Gran Fondo, Silver City, New Mexico
October 4, 2014 - Levi's GranFondo, Santa Rosa, California
October 05, 2014 - Gran Fondo New England, Rhode Island and Connecticut
October 11, 2014 - Tri-States Gran Fondo, Mesquite, Nevada
October 25, 2014 - Gran Fondo Hincapie, Greenville, South Carolina
November 1, 2014 - Bookwalter Binge, Asheville, North Carolina
November 22, 2014 - El Tour du Tucson, Tucson, Arizona
*Full list of Gran Fondo in the U.S.A and around the world at: GranFondoGuide.com

Gran Fondos are a great way to combine racing and travel. You will get to ride in a new and different locations, although if you are racing - you won't notice the scenery anyway, so book a good hotel and try the local food. This is Tucson, Arizona. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

UCI American Tour Calendar

American Tour Pro Races in the USA - 2014 dates (not WorldTour):
April, 18-19, 2014 - Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, UCI 1.2 , Massachusetts, USA
May 04, 2014 Tour of the Gila, Silver City, New Mexico
May 11-18, 2014 Amgen Tour of California, State of California
June 01, 2014 The Philadelphia Cycling Classic, Philadelphia
August 4-10, 2014 The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, State of Utah
August 18-24, 2014 USA Pro Challenge, State of Colorado
September 13, 2014 Bucks County Classic, Pennsylvania

*No more Tour of the Battenkill (New York)
*No more Tour of Elk Grove (Illinois)

Tejay van Garderen celebrating with his BMC teammates in 2013.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

2014 USA Pro Challenge dates are August 18-24, 2014. The USA Pro Challenge Stage 7 and other host cities were decided. Read more about the plan for 2014 USA Pro at the Pedal Dancer® Guide Page: USA PRO CHALLENGE.

Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 18 – Aspen Circuit Race
Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 19 – Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte (climbs, mixed terrain)
Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 20 – Gunnison to Monarch Mountain (mountaintop finish)
Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 21 – Colorado Springs Circuit Race
Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 22 – Woodland Park to Breckenridge (long road, climbing at end)
Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 23 – Vail Individual Time Trial
Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 24 – Boulder - Golden (Lookout Mountain) - Denver (3 laps)

American Tour races in Canada - 2014 dates:
September 02-07, 2014 - Tour of Alberta - Alberta, Canada
September 12, 2014 - Grand Prix Cyclistes - Quebec, Canada
September 14, 2014 - Grand Prix Cyclistes - Montreal, Canada

Colorado Cyclo-cross Race Schedule 2014-15 - 2014-15 Colorado Cyclo-cross Race Calendar, Pro CX, Nats, Worlds

Add your event 

To the Pedal Dancer Colorado Bike Race Calendar List: Please contact Karen to add your event to these lists.  If you appreciate the hours of work I do, please show your appreciation - Like my Pedal Dancer® facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/PedalDancerCycling or follow me on Twitter @KarenRake

14 February 2014

Photo for the Day - Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day!

Now this is romantic (although the chairs are a little far apart).  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Cards, poems, roses, chocolates, flowers, romantic meals, candlelight, candy boxes and champagne. Sounds like a fine holiday tradition to me.

Another holiday celebrated with chocolate! (and anyone who thinks this wasn't worth waiting in line one hour for at the brand new Trader Joes's today - is wrong)
Or flowers!
Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Let the flowers grow ...
Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Any Valentine would delight in a nice bicycle themed card
Or a puppy! Although this one happens to be mine.
Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
How about this flowered filled heart truck?
Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Or maybe this bike to cruise around to restaurants and the market - a Felt Cafe 24-speed Deeeluxe!
Alright, a home cooked meal it is then, and a nice sunset.
Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Happy Valentine's Day!

13 February 2014

Photo for the Day - Jasper

Jasper Stuyven of Trek Factory Racing - one to watch

Jasper Stuyven.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Do you know that feeling when you first see an athlete and realize - he/she will be very good? There is just a sense about them, an aura one might say. They have a certain calm confidence, and instantly you feel "this athlete knows himself," this is one to watch.

That was my first impression of Jasper Stuyven, a 21-year old rider for the Trek Factory Racing Team from Belgium. Last year Jasper rode with the successful Bontrager development team, but with his advancing age, he needed to find a new team. He was not just lucky to be signed with Trek, he deserved to be signed with Trek.

It is interesting to watch a young rider making their way up the ranks. Jasper Stuyven recently came in 21st in the Tour of Qatar. The highest placing of any of his teammates (Fabian Cancellara was 111th).

This year we will see Jasper in the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), Scheldeprijs, Paris-Roubaix, and Amgen Tour of California, among other races. See Jasper Stuyven's Cycling Stats page.

Manual for Speed wrote two pieces about Jasper worth reading: Jasper Stuyven : an introduction and Jasper Stuyven : in California.

I like Jasper a lot. He is instantly a likeable kid, without shyness or ego, He spoke up directly to ask about my Belgian Nationals cap I was wearing last year at Amgen Tour of California. I like to wear the cap at bike races. I bought it at the end of the Arrenberg Forrest on the day of the Paris-Roubaix in 2012. To me it is just right - comfy and doesn't get in the way of my camera lens (as normal ball caps do). To Jasper and the other Belgian riders it is a symbol of home, a symbol of their youth and an instant connect.

"I rode with that team," Jasper said to me with a smile as he sat in a chair on hot pavement waiting for the first stage of the 2013 Tour of California to begin. Every time I saw Jasper after that day - on the road, on podiums, waiting on hot tarmac - I would smile. That kid will be big, I thought. Bigger is more like it, since he was already quite accomplished at the age of twenty.

Jasper is a good person, a good athlete and one who represents the sport well. Definitely be a fan of his, I am.

The foundation of teamwork forged on the Axel Merckx Bontrager development team will serve Jasper well. He now has Jens Voigt on his Trek team! Jasper selecting pre-race snacks (below right). Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

I remember I had the same feeling the first time I saw Marcel Kittel, Peter Sagan, and Chris Froome. I sort of lingered around those three as well, just watching, mesmerized. That old gut feeling I guess. I suppose a lot of people get a good first impression of Jasper, who is known as a One-day Classics sort of rider. I look forward to watching him in years to come.

Here is Actor Patrick Dempsey attempting to slip into the call up spot for best younger rider at Tour of California in 2013 while no one is looking. Nice try.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Lieuwe Westra acknowledges that was a poor attempt, as Jasper claims his rightful spot in the line up.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
21-year old Belgian Jasper Stuyven, 186 cm (6'1"), 73 kg (161 lb).  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Jasper.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Jasper's new teammates at Trek Factory Racing include: Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, Yaroslav Popovych, the Van Poppel brothers, the Schleck brothers, Matthew Busche, Haimar Zubeldia, Kristoff Vandewalle, Stijn Devolder, Gregory Rast, Hayden Roulston, and many more.

*Trivia: Belgian Wikipedia shows a photo of old Bontrager teammate Joe Dombroski as Stuyven (wrong). Joe has since moved on to Team SKY. Another old teammate at Bontrager, Nathan Brown, was signed by team Garmin-Sharp for 2014. 

Jasper on Twitter: @JasperStuyven

12 February 2014

Photo for the Day - Gigondas

Nice town, good wine, lots of green

This morning with the continuing cold and ice in Colorado I was in the mood to look at green. At first I thought about the green of Peter Sagan ...
Peter Sagan, in green again.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

But instead I settled on Gigondas. Not only because I like saying the name of this small town (commune) in the Vaucluse region of south-western France (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur), but because it is one of those places you imagine might exist in France and actually does.

Gigondas has nice roads to cycle on, nice streets to stroll along, nice cafe patios to lunch upon, and good wine to put within. Plus Mont Ventoux is in the back yard and that is one well worth journey up a mountain.

Today I could do with a good meal on a warm patio. Instead these photos will bring back fond memories. 

Photos of Gigondas:  All photos by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer® click to enlarge


Recommended loop route (to ride or drive) click to enlarge

Pass through the cities or small villages of: Vaison-la-Romain, Seguret, Sablet, Gigondas, Beaumes-de-Venise, La Barroux, Malaucène, Vaison-la-Romain. That white capped hill to the right is Mont Ventoux.
Jace from In Situ Travel (bike tours) offers this alternative route between Vaison-la-Romain and Seguret/Gigondas. Jace wrote, "You're absolutely right, Gigondas is wonderful! And it's nice you included a route as well. Next time you're back there, check out this side road between Vaison La Romaine and Seguret. It's not the best pavement, but typically very quiet and has a nice little climb. It's also gets you off the main road for a little bit."

See Google Map:  http://goo.gl/maps/st0no

On to the Tour de France

And then after spending time in this lovely town in France, I went to see a stage finish of the Tour de France in Annonay, a simple working town. Aesthetically is was a real shocker and not exactly the green I had in mind, but it was fun because I was deep into France, I heard no English spoken and saw no American, Dutch, or Australian flags as I typically see on the big mountain stages. The drive along the Rhone River to get to and from the stage finish was particularly beautiful.

Part of the famed Caravan of the TDF.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Gigondas wine

You don't have to go to France to enjoy Gigondas wine (Châteauneuf's "little cousin", By Wine Spectator). You can find the wine at a good local wine shop. Or at Trader Joe's market, which will be opening it's first store in Colorado, just blocks away, in only two days. Yippee!

Read more about the area from a transplanted American couple who write of their travel and food adventures in the area (based in the nearby town of Sablet): Sablet House.blogspot