Stage 6 Tour of California route

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by dirtdadx, May 19, 2010.

  1. dirtdadx

    dirtdadx Noob ad Infinitum

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    The Tour Of Calfornia (road bicycle race) goes from Palmdale to Big Bear (!!!) by the worst possible route to ride a bicycle on Friday. I am thinking about following the route along (on my motorcycle, duh!), I could probably spectate at four or more spots. There does not seem to be much opportunity for dirt riding in the process.

    The motorcycles that support, photograph and relay video are catching my attention this year. There are a few GSs, including an F800GS, as well as whatever those big touring bikes are with the big plain rectangular headlight. On Stage 2, the rainy day, all I could see were the big GS bikes. I would love to get a closer look at all of it.
    #1
  2. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    My wife and I were at the start in Nevada City on Sunday and got a few shots of support bikes. The Aprilias of Team Sram were particularly cool. They'd set the motorcycles up as mobile workshops, with spares bolted on to racks.

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    Check out the guy on the back. He's got a pack strapped to his chest that's filled with tools, and a belt with two hooks holding more spare tire/wheel assemblies. Good thing he's small.:evil Falling off of that thing, even at low speeds would well-and-truly suck.

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    We spoke to several of the bike marshals, and they were all pretty happy and excited to be there. Here's a few more shots:

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    Here's our vantage point of the start:

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    You might want to find out how the CHP is doing the road closures, as that will have an impact on your ability to leapfrog the racers. So far it's been a very smooth event.
    Have a good time, and post up some shots!:freaky
    #2
  3. dirtdadx

    dirtdadx Noob ad Infinitum

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    Ooohhh, now you got me going. I have seen the red Sram Aprilias and the Orange F800GS on TV. The rack on the Aprilia is amazing, it looks like a bunch of custom machined aluminum. And the holes along the side look beer can sized. :D

    I know what you mean about road closures, it will be a sketchy deal to try to parallel it in such a remote area. Off to find the road closure information.
    #3
  4. spafxer

    spafxer Long timer

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    I have done the leapfrog thing when the Tour came through Ventura County.
    I was thinking of going tomorrow too. If you want to meet up, I'm up for it!

    Spafxer
    jim
    #4
  5. Birddodger

    Birddodger Gets lost on purpose

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    Lance Armstrong crashed out of the race today in stage 5 near Exeter.
    He was sent to a local Hospital for xrays.
    Amazing the pace theese guys run at. have fun viewing stage 6
    #5
  6. dirtdadx

    dirtdadx Noob ad Infinitum

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    Arg! Spoilers!
    #6
  7. spafxer

    spafxer Long timer

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    Looks like I'm not going to make this.

    Self employment can be a curse as well as a blessing! :D

    Sunday's Stage 8 in the Thousand Oaks area will have to be my only viewing in person.


    Oh, and I want my money back on Floyd Landis' book I bought! :huh

    I actually saw him here in Thousand Oaks telling us how innocent he was....

    Liar, liar, pants on fire.... :wink:


    Spafxer
    jim
    #7
  8. fuggy

    fuggy Canyon Explorer

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    Cool pics! I'd love to be the lead moto cameraman sitting on the back filming all the action! Those guys have been known to out run the motos on many occaisions on the twisties.
    #8
  9. Fishyhead

    Fishyhead Eremikophobic

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    Cool chase bikes. Did you end up going to this Den?
    #9
  10. spafxer

    spafxer Long timer

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    Watching the coverage on VS.

    Too bad they ran through the Angeles Crest Hwy so quickly.
    #10
  11. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    jim, let's hook up on sunday in t.o. and plan on lunch.

    8)H
    #11
  12. xlcr

    xlcr Stop being a dick, dick.

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    Anyone know why they threw a "full-course yellow" coming down South Grade last year? They showed the field bunching up behind the camera bike on the internet feed but skipped that stretch on the Versus broadcast.
    #12
  13. spafxer

    spafxer Long timer

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    You got it! You going to be on a bike?
    #13
  14. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    no.....gf coming along....need to spend some quality time...:wink:
    #14
  15. dirtdadx

    dirtdadx Noob ad Infinitum

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    So I made it up on Friday to follow the tour.

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    I hit the road at 6am in order to make it to Palmdale with some extra time before the Tour started at 9:30

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    I arrived with time to look around. As I pulled into town I rode along with one of the pro teams who were riding their bikes from their hotel to the start line. They were riding along them main drag in Palmdale, no bike lane, in a large group, thinking nothing of it. Once they got there they went to the team bus. I took pics of few of the buses.

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    Not surprisingly the Radio Shack bus was mobbed.

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    I saw several interviews as I walked around.

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    I staked out a pretty good place at the start line.

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    Levi and a few other notable riders line up.

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    And they are off!

    Here is how fast these guys are. You will need to look at Google maps to get an idea of scale. I wanted to intercept these guys at Mount Emma Road and Angeles Forest Highway. I took a few minutes to walk back to my bike, stopped to get 2 gal of gas with no wait, stopped about 1 min to look at a map, made a wrong turn that cost me maybe 2 min, and by the time I got to the intercept point, they had just passed it so I missed them. Now the riders don't have to stop for lights, and I cannot take the same route the do so my route is longer and full of traffic and lights, but even so, these guys are flying. I started to rethink my strategy for leapfrogging them.

    I paralleled the riders route. They took Angeles Crest Hwy and I took Big Pine road which was beautiful and a lot of fun. There were a lot of amateur cyclists along Big Pine, too. I tried to find road 4N12 that connected Angeles Crest and Big Pine according to Google. Yeah, I know Google is not that accurate with dirt roads. There were a lot of labeled state forest roads along the way, but no 4N12. The road that I think was 4N12 was gated. I did explore around the area and found myself on single track a few times. So I gave up on that intercept and continued to where Big Pine Hwy intersected Angeles Crest Hwy 2.

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    This turned out to be a popular spectating spot.

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    I parked at what I hoped was a good vantage point.

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    This announcer car came by. The announcer did not seem to be in the car, it was kind of strange. But the announcer was very professional and gave a good race update.

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    And finally the inevitable breakaway group showed up. George Hincapie was amongst them, and I am a big fan of Big George. Go George!

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    Then the main peloton. At this point the peloton was already starting to lose some of the sprinters and such and some of them came straggling in after.

    I was going to be hard pressed to make to to Big Bear in time for the finish line. I chose to head back up Big Pine, get to Hwy 18 and work my way to the north entrance to Big Bear. This gave me the opportunity to take a short cut and make a real dual sport ride out of this.

    Google showed Mescal Creek road as a shortcut. I found a local amongst the spectators who knew of the road. I don't think the locals call is Mescal road, but it was for real.

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    Back to Jackson Lake

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    And sure enough, there it is. The paved road was gated. Mescal Road was the dirt road.

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    There were a couple of recent rock slides that were cleared away enough for the road. Mescal Creek paralleled to road, probably fed by Jackson Lake.

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    This view let me know I was going the right direction. No, I don't have a GPS. Soon, but not yet. I just carried a bungle of Google printouts.

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    I had to negotiate a few of these.

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    The road descends to the desert basin below. There are a few homes along this road as well as local traffic, which included a Honda Civic. I don't think this saved me any time, but it was fun. I made my way to Big Bear knowing I was pressed for time, so no pictures until then.

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    I got to the finish line with only minutes to spare, so I did not get any good pics of the finish. For some reason, though, I found myself thinking about starting a school for women plumbers.

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    This is a fraction of the bikes, er bicycles, waiting at the finish line.

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    There was a big festival atmosphere with lots of sponsor booths set up.

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    The Nissan Leaf, electric car. Not a hybrid. All electric. After the Honda electric and the GM EV-1 it will be interesting to see how it goes. Maybe the technology, price and infrastructure are there by now.

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    Camera crews, interviews and cycling celebrities were amongst the mass of humanity.

    That was basically it for the day, no more pics. I made my way out through the heavy traffic and back home.
    #15
  16. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    thanks for posting those pics....and starting a plumber school....:lol3

    good chance i'll see the race tomorrow in t.o.
    #16
  17. Fishyhead

    Fishyhead Eremikophobic

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    GREAT RR! Good job finding dirt ;)

    Anymore pictures of the female plumbers? :evil
    #17
  18. brfinley

    brfinley Brooster

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    SRAM is not an actual team. The company provides "neutral support" to all of the racers for mechanical failures, flats, and crash damage suffered during the race. This is in addition to each team's own support vehicles and staff. Neutral support is sent first into small gaps during the race when there isn't enough room to send in the team cars. The motorcycle goes in first because of size and agility, then the neutral service car which carries more stuff including complete bicycles. They try to keep support as close as possible without interfering with the race.

    SRAM just started using Aprilia Manna motorcycles this season. The automatic shifting and no clutch is a big advantage when traveling at low speeds on big climbs with lots of starts on hills.

    BRF
    #18
  19. spafxer

    spafxer Long timer

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    There is a solution for that problem! :evil



    http://www.geckotales.com/CrackSpackle.wmv

    Although I am much less inclined to bother with it in this case! :clap
    #19
  20. Fishyhead

    Fishyhead Eremikophobic

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    #20