Bikesmiths Visits the Amgen Tour of California
Click here to go to the Amgen Tour of California official web site.February 18th - 25th, 2007
Click here to see Bikesmiths images and stories of the our Tour
Click here to see images of Davis California the city for bicycle infrastructure.
Click here to see images of The San Francisco Critical Mass Ride.
I was one of 300,000 people to watch the Prologue time trial of 1.6 Miles that ended on Telegraph hill.
Levi Leipheimer- As the last rider won today's time trial with a time 3 seconds faster than his winning time on this same course as last year.
Jason Donald -
I will get some photos up here tomorrow, but today I am trying to figure out this computer.
My photos of the riders did not turn out that good, because of the size of the crowd and the lighting available on telegraph hill.
The hills of San Francisco are steep. My Soma folding bike has all the gear I needed, but still the incline made me fear flipping over backwards with my cleats, so at least once I got off and walked for this reason.
I did get some good pics of the Specialize Angel, Adam. She is not that hot really, but nice outfit. It was cute that she blew a kiss to every rider as he passed.
Being here is more about riding my own bike than seeing the race. It passes you by in seconds if you don't go to the finish city. Today's finish would have been exciting. You can read about it at: http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/Route/stages/stage1.html
I hung out at my Comfort Inn hotel in the Union Square Area of San Francisco instead of catching the start. The hotel was fine... recently off two year renovation, the staff was great and other than a car alarm that was set off all night by passing traffic, I can't say anything particularly bad about a hotel that put me so close to the race, China town and streets that I felt comfortable biking. I started my day with a bowl of Vietnamese noodles and shrimp from the restaurant across from my hotel. It served the need.
I worked out the uploading problem I think with Kiva Net in Bloomington so hopefully I can get this web page working better.
I didn't try to catch the race start, instead finding a spot in a rural hilly area and waiting for the race to come to me. I had downloaded maps of the race and time estimates from the race web site before coming out. I believe that the estimates there were better than the crowd anticipation that had us on edge for over an hour thinking that the riders would arrive momentarily. The police support and volunteer marshaling of this race is amazing.
The race is not as flamboyant as the Tour de France, because there is no commercial caravan running ahead of the race, but the helicopter over the riders as they finally arrived was a welcome site. I will remember that again as find my photo ops.
Today I rather made a fool of myself. The police let bicycles ride on the course even when the have stopped car traffic. I joined a number of cyclists riding into the race through tree shaded beautiful rolling hills and wine vineyards of Sonoma County. Finding a great little spot in a curve with some decent lighting I stopped to wait everything was fine till I realized that I had enough batter left for only a picture or two and I wasted those on a picture of my bike and some riders who fooled me into thinking them the break away. So with no batteries and over an hour of waiting, I took off back for my stash of charged batteries in my car. By now official pre race vehicles had passed and the crowds along my route so often confused me for a solo break away that I got the sense of being a racer with flash bulbs blinking in my eyes. I'll bet somebody got a good photo of the Soma folding bike descending. I'll bet a few said, what was that? Anyway I got to my batteries before the race arrived and set up for the pictures I share today that didn't turn out too well. Sports photographer, I am not. The sun was at there back and well this space did not work they way I had hoped.
After the race, I found the local micro brew. It was packed with a mixed crowd of old race fans and local younger folks, it felt very Bloomington being at the Upland only perhaps younger. I found a seat outside and managed to get only unreliable free internet and decided to have a second beer instead.
The Flamingo in Santa Rosa is really nice for the $48 I paid, my room has a full wall window clean with a pool and health club is very clean and the staff friendly. Had to pay extra for internet this morning though.
Stage 2 from Santa Rosa to Davis to Sacramento
This morning I thought I was getting the page above loaded to this web site, but working on Stage 3 now, I realize my work has not been making it to the web. Boy not being used to a computer can really make this difficult.
As Stage 3 Starts from Stockton to San Jose, I am staying in Davis planning to catch the finish.
I caught stage 2 in Davis California known for ever as the bicycle commuting capital of the world. Davis has as much to do with why I am here as this race. I will load up a lot of Davis city bicycle amenities later.
Stage 3 Stockton to San Jose
I had no and then a horrible internet connection after this evening and the next morning. I hung out until the last possible moment checking out Davis, before making my way to the finish in San Jose. I got down town San Jose, yelled out my window to a pedestrian, "where is the bike race" and they responded. This way a couple blocks, park your car. I did in a parking garage and unfolded my bike and headed over. I made it 10 minutes before the race arrived. This was a great finish venue.
I didn't remember to bring a lock for the bike, so I appreciated the local bike club who had a bike lock up for a donation that allowed me to eat dinner in a mexican restaurant before heading on down south toward the starting point of stage 4.
Stage 4 Del Ray to San Lous Obis
My goal for the next day was to get out ahead of the race, because on Route 1, there is no way to get out around the riders once they pass. Again my timing was good as I got out about 45 minutes ahead of the riders, to a point, not the best I saw, but ok for the pics I share below.
This was my last day on the tour. It should have been my next to last, but I booked my hotel a day too early for San Francisco and could not get out of the deal. So, Friday, I will participate in my first Critical Mass Ride, in San Francisco, or anywhere, for that matter.
I am still a day behind loading pictures from this stage, but it is time to ride not web master.