Sunday, May 19, 2013

2013 Amgen Tour of California - Stage 7

The final two days of the Tour of California were held in the Bay Area so Peter Saucerman and I headed over to catch Stage 7 and 8 of the tour this weekend.

Our first stop was Livermore where we watched the Stage 7 race from the first two King of the Mountain (KOM) finishes on Morgan-Territory Road and Patterson Pass.  It was great to watch the race with many enthusiastic fans, many who rode their bikes to these hill-top locations.

 Stage 7 finished at the top of Mt. Diablo and won by Leopold Koenig (Team NetApp Endura) and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) retained the yellow jersey.

The second day, we drove to a spectacular coastal location on Hwy 1 to catch Stage 8 of the tour.
This particular section of the course snaked along the coastal mountains between the Golden Gate Bridge and Stinson Beach.  From a high point, we had great views of the road as it twisted and turned around the hills and gulches of the Marin Coast.

Stage 8 started in San Francisco and finished in Santa Rosa.  The stage was won by Peter Sagan (Cannondale), his second stage win, and Tejay Van Garderen won the General Classification (GC) championship.

To view the complete Stage 7 photo album, click on "Amgen 2013 Stage 7" below photo.

From Amgen 2013 Stage 7

Amgen Tour of California 2013 - Stage 8

On Sunday, Peter and I drove to Highway One south of Stinson Beach to catch Stage 8.  I parked the car at a wide spot in the road with a commanding view of the coast with twisting switchback roads snaking its way northward.

We arrived early and watched the sun rise over the hills.  It was a postcard perfect day on the Marin Coast with blue skies, warm temperatures and barely a wisp of wind.  It was an amazing way to end the 8th edition of the Tour.

To view complete photo album, click on "Amgen 2013 Stage 8" below photo.

Amgen 2013 Stage 8

Friday, May 10, 2013

Prologue - San Diego

Before we began the Tecate to Sequoia Bike Tour, we spent 3 days in San Diego relaxing and doing some sight-seeing.  For me, it's been a couple decades since I've been here and a lot has changed.
Frank has never been here.

Herb spent the last three winters in San Diego and is very familiar with the city.  He has knowledge of the most scenic and safe bike routes, points of interest, and most importantly, the best-value eateries.

Over three days, we covered a lot of ground on our bikes and saw some of the best that San Diego has to offer.

To see photo highlights of our three day visit, click on "Prologue - San Diego" below
this photo:

From Prologue - San Diego

Tecate to Sequoia Tour on the ACA Cascade-Sierra Route

Have you ever wondered what lies around the next corner or over the next hill?  Being a seeker, I am constantly on the hunt for new roads to ride and new adventures.

But having a curious mind can lead to unintended consequences.
Remember, it was curiosity that killed the cat.

With the release of ACA's Cascade-Sierra Route, I was intrigued by the southern 800 miles never having ventured into the mountains of Southern California.  I was familiar with most of the route's other sections from previous bike tours over many years of touring.

I and three other touring buddies completed the Southern California section over 25 days in April and May and have three words to describe the tour - Audacious, Arduous, and Epic!

We went south to north on this route starting in Tecate, Mexico and ending in Sequoia National Park.

The mountain ranges of Southern California - Laguna, San Jacinto, San Bernardino, San Gabriel, Southern and Central Sierra are big, bodacious, long and steep.  In the US, this route could be one of the most difficult there is.  If there's another, I don't want to know about it.

We started the tour fully loaded and rode for 10 days through the Laguna and San Jacinto Mountains.
By the time we got to Idyllwild, we were whipped.  After 327 miles and 25,000' of vertical, we cried "uncle!"

By a strange but fortuitous set of circumstance (too long to explain), we arranged to have a sag wagon support us for the remainder of the tour.  Riding through these rugged mountains unloaded and with support, allowed us to finish the tour in one piece with our lives and dignities intact.

We come away from this tour with the utmost respect for the Southern California mountains.  Although extremely challenging, my compliments to ACA for stitching together a route connecting some of the most spectacular "Rim on the World" roads following ridge tops just a stone's throw away from about 20 million people.  It would be an understatement to say that his was an unbelievable tour.

Final tour stats:
78l miles
63,875' of climbing
25 days including rest days

To see photos of the tour, click on "Tecate to Sequoia Tour on the ACA Cascade-Sierra Route" below this photo:

From Tecate to Sequoia Tour on the ACA Cascade-Sierra Route