Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tour of California Time Trial Solvang

Tour de France 08 Winner Carlos Sastre

My parents invited me to go to the Amgen Tour of California time trial stage in Solvang yesterday and I jumped at the chance! It's just a short drive for us and we hit very little traffic through Santa Barbara for a Friday morning. We arrived and caught a shuttle into town. We arrived about 2 hors from the start time and the town was already filling with spectators out to see the race and or Lance Armstrong. As we walked down Team Row we first came upon Team Saxo Banks TT bikes! Beautiful Specialized Transitions. Then we walked up on the Garmin camp and were treated to Christian Vande Velde getting ready to pre-ride the course. He's definately one of my favorites!

Christian Vande Velde

Next was the "Rock is not Dead" Rock Racing area. Tyler Hamilton was being interviewed by someone and then was very gracious to sign some autographs for the crowd. It was kind of funny the dress of the crowd hanging around the Rock Racing area. It was very Hollywood!

Tyler Hamilton Being Interviewed

We had walked by the Quick Step area a couple of times and there was always a group of ladies waiting for a look at Tom Boonen. When we walked up again he had just finished warming up and was heading into his RV with a gaggle of ladies in tow! It made for a great pic for me though!

Tornado Tom Boonen

We finally walked into the Astana camp. Johan was out doing interviews and Levi's wife and parents were also walking around with his little chihuahua. The team cars also pulled up with Levi and Lances TT bikes. What a sight!

Levi's Family and Beloved Dog

We walked through the expo area and then went and found a great spot about 125m from the start house. It was cool to watch my parents experience the race. They were so big eyed and full of joy! I felt the same way but it was inspiring to see their excitement. We watched the first 20 or so fly by at full speed and snapped a few pics. Here is a great one:

Tyler Hamilton at the Start

We then took off towards the finish to try to find a good spot. We found a great spot on some stairs and decided to eat the great lunch that moms brought! I took tons of pictures as the riders flew by to the finish. We were about 300m to the finish. We tried to get a little closer but just couldn't find as sweet as a spot so we then headed back. Floyd Landis was open mouthed as he passed by. Hurting. Ouch. Get it?

Floyd Landis Hammering it Home

As it was about time for Lance to come through and the crowd started filling in! It was getting pretty intense! There were even folks climbing into trees to get a good look!

People Waiting for a Glimpse!

We could sporadically hear the crappy announcers and we knew that Lance was a little over a minute behind the Zabriski. But when he came by the crowd went TOTALLY INSANE! Awesome!

The Man..The Legend..Lance Armstrong

Zabriski was on pace to beat Levi's course record but we knew at the time split Levi had 8 seconds on him. Barring a catastrophe a course record was coming! Zabriski was flying so smooth as he passed.

David Zabriski Briefly Setting The Course Record

At one point they had reported that Michael Rogers was 2 minutes ahead at the time check and the crowd was BUMMED! A few seconds later they came back on the radio and said that there was a mistake and there was no way that could be right! He was totally moving when he flew by us! He ended up 4th on the day.

Michael Rogers 300m From Finish

With Zabriski on the board with a record time we only awaited Levi! As he came over the hill the crowd got louder and louder! He was in the zone, opened mouthed but smooth as he FLEW by! 1st place! Levi Strong! Just as Lance said!

Levi 300m From Winning

We were all on a high of what we had just witnessed and the whole crowd was buzzing. We headed over towards the Astana bus and were treated to Lance cooling down as he downloaded to his coach Chris Carmichael and Johan. Chris Horner was signing autographs and the crowd was a little crazy. Everyone (including myself) wanted a peek at Lance! It was cool!

Lance Cooling Down

Our very amazing day was capped off by an hour wait for the shuttle. Only to be topped by an HOUR 4 mile ride back to our car! Only yet to be topped by a horrendous drive through Gaviota, Goleta, Santa Barbara, and finally Carpentaria! It gave us all a great chance to go over all the amazing things we saw and experienced through the day! Thanks Ma and Pa! I had a great time! Way to OWN it Levi!

Keep Climbing,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sonic Boom

Looking Down Into Simi Valley from Rocky Peak

After some crazy rain this last week, we saw a possible riding window on Saturday. Mike and I knew the dirt on Johnsons/Chumash would be great and the views beautiful so that was our poison! Dean decided to come along and we headed up the pass at about 10:30am. The climb up Santa Susanna Pass was a little easier than last week and I ALMOST kept up with Mike. We pulled away from Dean as this was his first ride in a pretty long time! It did feel good to actually pull away from someone! The first part of Johnsons really sticks it to you with 15 to 18% grade for a 1/2 mile. Once passed that I found a steady pace and just tried to stick with it. I picked up a nail straight through the tire and had a quick stop to change out the tube. I managed to climb really well with no bobbles until the last little technical section! Mike and I had regrouped and decided to sprint the last 150 yards. He stuck it to me being one gear lower than I. Dean experienced the sonic boom and walked the last section! Poor guy. The drop down Chumash was perfect! The berms were awesome and the trail smoother than ever. We met Mikes wife and kids at Chef Burger for lunch and it WAS GOOD! Sourdough Melt...MMMMMM!

Looking Down Into Los Angeles from the Top of Johnsons

After church Sunday I thought I would take my chances with the mud in Chesebro and do my loop. Legs were not doing so hot after yesterdays effort but it was so beautiful out that I tried not to concentrate too much on the pain! The first part of the trail was in decent condition and I was having fun. I was about 3 miles from home when I hit the MUD! Somehow I missed seeing that it was coming and rode right through it. Chesebro mud/clay is not cool! It was great to get out and I can't wait until this rain is gone. I really need to spend some hours in the saddle building my base and dropping a this extra weight that I am carrying! It's pouring as I type this....poor guys racing in the Tour of California. Must be miserable!

Above Sulfur Creek in Chesebro

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ocean Beach

Kristen and Lizzie at the Ocean Beach Pier!

MMMM In and Out

God's Beauty

San Diego Bound

Hadti get out of the house with my beauty so we called Grandma Jan to
dog sit and we are heading to San Diego to visit Kristen's cousin
Lizzie! Once we made it out of the SFV the rain broke and the clouds
are freaking beautiful! I will try to upload some more photos!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Not Ready

Mike was riding from Simi to Malibu today and asked if I wanted to
hook up with him in Thousand Oaks and climb Decker Canyon? I
unfortunately said yes! The weather on this Super Bowl Sunday was
amazing! (sorry to all you who may be in a deep freeze!) I headed into
Westlake to meet him and he had made really good time as I was late.
We headed towards the canyon and Mike blew a tube. I should have taken
that as a hint but no, I pressed on!
Decker Canyon is about 1400 ft of climbing in 1.7 miles. The
hardest part if the climb aptly named "The Wall" is right in the first
half mile! I was not ready for this climb. I have climbed this road
over 100 times probably and it is never easy! Even at my top form
it's hard. I had to stop on the wall for about 15 seconds to catch my
breath. It hurt bad! I definately for the first time felt my extra
weight as I was pulling my fat butt up the hill! We did make it up to
the top and I wishes him safety and fun as he headed down towards
Malibu, and I was back down the way I came! I thought that I would be
thrashed on the way home but other than the stupid headwind, I felt
decent. As I sit here I am feeling it though!
Super Bowl was awesome! Such a great game! Way to go Steelers,
and amazing job to the Cards who almost pulled it off!
Thats Mike in the picture as we climbed the canyon. He took it like
a champ with a 12-23 sprocket! Freaking animal!

Keep Climbing(as for me I will work on some steady base miles I think!)