Sunday, May 22, 2011

Small Wheel Society goes International

Aaahh! . . . the wonders of the internet to bring like-minded people together. Peter Saucerman, Moulton Bike aficionado extraordinaire, arranged a bike ride of visiting Europeans and the Sacramento Small Wheel Society.

Tim Evans, a gent from the UK, who has a collection of 10 Moultons and secretary to the UK Moulton Bike Club was in Sacramento this week attending a conference. Peter and Tim met on the internet sometime ago. When Tim discovered Peter lived in Sacramento, they arranged to get together and Peter thought it would be a bloody good idea to have a ride of small wheel bikes.

Peter owns 3 working Moultons and provided them to his visiting guests. Tim brought along two business associates Keith and Harold to the ride.

The local Bike Friday contingent - Herb Lee, Mike Broderick and me - joined in the ride. Saxon Siegerson, an interloper with a big wheel bike also joined the group ride.

We took a 37 mile spin through Downtown, Old Sac and out the bike trail to Bella Bru for lunch. It was a fun time showing our Euro-visitors the American River Bike Trail and downtown sights.

Peter with Harold from Norway, Keith and Tim from UK

A group foto in front of the State Capitol - Saxon, Keith, Mike, me, Herb, Tim, Harold, and Peter

Riding down Capitol Mall to Old Sac . . .

. . . and through Old Sac where the Pacific Rim Festival was in preparation

The line up of small wheels - Moultons and Fridays

Interloper bike behind

Two of Peter's old classics . . .

. . . and APB

Herb and Sax and my Bike Friday

Heading to Bella Bru

A jolly good time at Bella Bru in Carmichael

Small Wheels rolling back on the bike trail

A bump in the road . . . Harold had a minor crash and I tended to his wounds

What the heck! . . . running into three cool velocabs on R Street

End of SWS blog

Thursday, May 19, 2011

2011 Amgen Tour of California

It seems like the Amgen Tour of California (ATOC) is cursed, weather-wise. This is the fourth straight year where inclement weather has hampered the greatest cycling race in America.

The 6th edition of the annual race was moved to the month of May from Febuary to take advantage of warmer weather and to stage two races in the high Sierra. Stage 1 was to take place at Lake Tahoe with the race start at South Lake Tahoe, circling the lake one and one-half times, and finishing at North Star on the north-shore.

A cold-front came sweeping in from Alaska on the evening before Stage 1 dumping 6-8" of snow at the lake level and more at the higher elevations. The conditions were too hazardous for the race to take place and Stage 1 was canceled.

Stage 2 was to start at Squaw Valley, go over Donner Summit, and head southwest to Sacramento via Nevada City. The road conditions at Donner Summit were too icy so the race start was moved to Nevada City and the course shortened by 57 miles.

This year I intended to follow the first four stages and photograph the races from locations that were compelling from a perspective of scenic interest. In spite of poor weather and changing race conditions, I was not to be deterred.

I was able to photograph stages 2 through 4 and the following blog entries document my attempt at catching some interesting race scenes.

Scroll down or click on "older posts" to view each stage.

You can also enlarge each pic by mousing over the photograph and clicking once/twice.

ATOC merchandise on sale


JimBob Regan rode his motorcycle to Spenceville Road to watch Stage 2 with me

The Amgen bear on my dash checking out recreational cyclists riding the course before the start of the race

Driving through Wheatland on my way back to Sacramento with race fans lining the street

Scroll down or click on "older posts" to continue onto Stage 2 blog

2011 Amgen Tour of California - Stage 2

A peloton of CHPs motorcycles signals the cyclists are about to arrive

Stage 2 was shortened from 133 miles to 76.3 miles due to bad weather and icy road conditions at 7,085' Donner Summit.

The race start was quickly relocated from Squaw Valley to Nevada City. The course remained the same from Nevada City to Sacramento and followed essentially flat roads to the finish.

I back-tracked the race route and found a hilly portion just outside of Beales Air Force Base on Spenceville Road. I positioned myself at the top of the "S" curve and took the following pics.

After the last riders and support vehicle came by, I jumped into my car and dashed back to downtown Sacramento to catch the finishing circuit around the state capitol.

Click on pic once/twice for enlarged view

Impressive parade of motorcycles on Spenceville Road

A budding cycling fan ringing the cowbells with help from mom

The 4-man breakaway group had a 4 minute lead leaving Beales AFB. The riders were Ben Jacques-Mayne of Team Bissell, James Driscoll of James-Sutter Home, Timon Seubert of Team Net App, and Lazlo Bodrogi of Team Type 1.

Forming a cool little eschelon to battle the headwinds

The main peloton crests the hill in hot pursuit

Coming around the S curve . . .

. . . and up a hill

Over a little rise and on toward Wheatland

A parade of team support cars following the racers

The broom wagon sweeping the course

I hop in my car and drive like the devil to get to downtown Sacramento before the racers arrive. I get there in the nick of time to catch the 4 lap finish around the State Capitol Park.

Hammering down N Street

Banking into the turn at 15th and N Streets

Levi - Team Radio Shack

One of the official photographers positioned himself at the same corner

Racers coming down N St. on the 2nd lap

Rain fell during the 3rd lap

Cautiously turning the corner

The final lap the riders blast down L St. to the finish line

Ben Swift of Team Sky won Stage 2 in a sprint finish

Checking out team bikes parked by the Capitol

The Shack team bus

Oscar Freire with fan

Chris Horner

George Hincapie

Colorful Team Jelly Belly

Having recently purchased a Cervelo R5, I've become a fan of Team Garmin-Cervelo

Garmin-Cervelo team bus

Kevin the team bus driver


Remember this guy? Doc Eric Heiden who is the team physician for BMC.

Scroll on down or click on "older posts" to continue to Stage 3 blog entry