Category Archives: Events
Man oh man. What a day! I’m still buzzing from the final stage of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. After a week-long road trip with Rapha North America and Tillie, the new Mobile Cycle Club, we were all at our maximum capacity. Late nights working turned into early mornings riding and after a week, all the energy left over culminated into one crescendo of cheering and support for the PRO cycling contingency.
The final stage was a three-lap circuit up and over the (in)famous Rock Store climb. Normally moto and auto territory on the weekend, this road is one of the more treacherous climbs for cyclists in the area. That said, just this one day, for four hours however, the road was ours. Unfortunately, we had to begin early… Like, wake up at 4:30am and drive an hour to start our ride at 5:30.
But, as the saying goes, early to bed, early to shred. With only minimal aggression from motos and autos, we took to the hills of Malibu Creek State Park and eventually scaled Rock Store, where we greeted amass of fans, all in support of the ATOC and looking to party.
It was majestic. Even the pros got down. Thanks so much Ted King!
Read more in the gallery!
Stage 07 was my unofficial “rest day”. After eight days on the road, I was ready for a chill afternoon, lounging by the pool, with a bourbon in one hand and my ‘gram in the other.
Like all time spent on the road, nothing ever goes as planned. I shot the start of the race because, why the hell not? Then I bumped into some friends and watched the start. Before I knew it, the time was 1pm and I had still yet to find a pool…
Then, we got an urgent call, summoning us to the team hotel, an hour away, to interview a very important person… More on that later, but for now, enjoy some good old fashioned race randomness and race refuse observations.
For the past week, Rapha and I have been covering the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. In that time, I’ve seen some incredible feats of athleticism from the PROs, met tons of rad people, shot enough photos to fill a book (hint hint) and gone on some very tough rides.
The ride we did up to Diablo – more to come on that – was hard, but the ride we did yesterday was tough. So tough that if our friends at Mavic hadn’t offered support, it would have been a long day.
Deserts can be an unforgiving place. Even with my musette stuffed with extra water, food and camera equipment, I would have succumbed to the bonk goblins if it hadn’t been for Chad and Charlie from Mavic.
Thank you’s aside, we rode from Palmdale to the KOM, made a wrong turn and then hauled freaking ass – I’ve never climbed that fast before in my life – back up to the top.
The race ended and we headed back to Palmdale, finishing out at over 80 miles and 7,000′ elevation.
How many more of these stages do I have? Are we on the coast yet? It’s been hot as hell… I just want more coffee from the Rapha MCC and some more House Industries caps.
Yesterday was Monterey to Cambria, one of the most scenic routes in the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. The race course snaked its way through Big Sur and the coastal redwoods as they hit two KOMs back-to-back, three total and one sprint section.
I was in the Skratch Labs Neutral Human Support vehicle, watching them work – more on that in the captions – and trying to get a few shots from the passenger’s window. Meanwhile, with no cell reception, we were all forced to soak in the Cali coast…
Read up the captions, because I tried to be clever this morning.
Side note: if you’re on Instagram, follow Skratch and tag your photos with #SkratchNHS and a quick description of what you think “Neutral Human Support” means for a chance to win a bag of product from Skratch!
It’s always a given: mountain top parties. Whether it’s Baldy or Diablo, SoCal or NorCal, there’s always gonna be people / super fans / regular fans / cyclists who congregate en masse at the top (or nearly top) of a peak.
This year, the Amgen Tour of California returned to the hot and sweaty summit of Diablo. Once again, there was a congregation of people both at the tip top and at the various overlooks, parking lots and camp grounds.
Rapha set up their new Mobile Cycle Club, Tillie at the Juniper Campground to serve coffee, blast some tunes and offer a platform for people to park their bikes and fill up their bidons at the water spigot nearby.
You could say the cyclists swarmed, but it was the thousands of pesky – pinching – ear wigs that did that…
It’s been a long, long day. Or rather, yesterday was a long day. So long that I had to cut it into a few posts and sprinkle them on top of The Radavist’s 2014 Amgen Tour of California coverage.
The first chunk is the mid-section and the reason why we all rode up to the Juniper Camp Ground in the first place: to witness the majesty that is the PRO parade / party train that quickly ascends one of NorCal’s most (in)famous climbs: Diablo! Yes, it is a party train… Or at least we tried to make it one.
Now, as mentioned, there’s a lot of content to come from today, er yesterday, so if I shot your photo, don’t worry, it’s coming in a different post. Please don’t email / tweet / gram at me just yet, ok? xoxo
The time trial. To some, the most significant stage of any race, to others, it’s a prison of pain and suffering. Grown men tear themselves inside out for around an hour for the world to watch. The prison metaphor is very fitting for Folsom, which houses the state prison. Founded in 1880, this penitentiary was made famous by Johnny Cash’s two performances, which still resonate today.
Speaking of performance, the time trail bikes of the second stage of the Amgen Tour of California epitomize technology. From the newest wheels, groups and even the helmets, the PRO racers looked like high-tech spacemen.
Team SKY’s Wiggo took the crown today, with a finishing time 44 seconds faster than anyone else…
Sacramento’s projected high temperature was supposed to be 84 on Sunday, yet it felt like the 90′s. I also made the mistake of wearing all-black (again). It was cooking hot, but how could I complain when the PRO racers were out in the real heat, cranking away calories and watts. Luckily for them, the Skratch Labs team was out with Neutral Human Support.
Us on the otherhand, not so much but we did get to drink fresh espresso at the über-new Rapha Mobile Cycle Club and watch the PRO women race for an hour in a fast-paced circuit race around the State Capitol, which became the highlight of the day for me. Not just watching them cook corners well-done, but to see how engaged the audience was and a majority of the passionate fans were women AND it was mother’s day.
There was a lot of love for the women going around, so I reciprocated that by turning my lens to them.
Stage 01 ended with a phenomenal sprint by Cavendish and everyone’s appetite was whet for Stage 02′s time trail in Folsom…
Yesterday (in California), I arrived at the host town for the first stage of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. Most of the teams had been pouring into the parking lots for the days prior. Their mobile mechanics areas were glistening with overspray from bike washing, their rags hanging in the sun to dry and all the bikes were being prepped for the first stage.
Part of the reason I’m here is to check out what the guys at Skratch Labs are doing for the tour, which I’ll elaborate on this week. Their task yesterday – Saturday afternoon – was to fill 150 water bottles – bidons – for the first stage.
Skratch is doing a “Neutral Human Support” car. A vehicle that will offer up free bottles, moral support and other forms of encouragement to the racers, regardless of their livery. 150 bottles, stuffed into coolers, covered with ice and ready to be handed off to racers… it was going to be a warm day on Sunday – which it was!
Dogriver Super D
Words and photos by Kyle Von Hoetzendorff
I have my rituals you see, and they must be respected. Coffee, breakfast burritos, a Porta-John in that order, my body demands it, directs me. As long as I have been racing in the Pacific NW it has always been the same. I expect it, settles the nerves. Forget about going to bed early, having a protein shake, or sitting in a bath of ice cubes while there is perfectly good hot water pulsing just beyond the walls. Take the shower, have some pizza, stay up all night. I know who I want to beat and we were out drinking last night.
This is amateur racing in your 30s, this is beer at the starting line, long-range intimidation practices, strategic heckles, head games. Fitness at this stage isn’t just about VO2 Max or lactic thresholds, its about the rest of it, throwing life’s little chosen challenges into the mix, try whiskey soaked sleep deprivation giving you the shakes in the starting gate. Not that everything requires a debauched approach; it’s just that it also doesn’t, so why not?
Super D racing, like all types of racing, fits this program perfectly. In this particular case, the Mountain Man Challenge Dogriver Super D, the extended descent is punctuated mid race with a ball buster climb. This would be the decisive section, whoever could make it through the climb the fastest with a modicum of energy in reserve would rule the day. Alex “KrunkShox” McGuiness would take first place in just over 22 minutes, followed closely by all-pro Matt Slaven and Team Robots very own “Chaz” Sponsel. I would finish in just over 25 minutes, mid-pack, I would be tired, I would want sleep.
Take a survey and the vast majority of cyclists who haven’t spent a day descending don’t have any idea who strenuous it can be. It’s “cheating” they say as if descending is the unfortunate outcome of so many arduous minutes spent slowly suffering on the cranks while climbing the nearest crucible. In fact, as our frozen water cousins found out years ago, the descent presents its own unique challenge that once appreciated can be developed and refined. Time passes differently here, we don’t chat, life, outside life, must be put on hold, clear your schedule, erase the board, we are talking undivided attention. Your nerves not to mention your legs, butt, back, arms, neck, chest, and abs are constantly on high alert, think Gorbachev and Regan white knuckling their red phones. This race is after all an act that is antithetical to our biological imperative, you are challenging gravity, and gravity has, and will, ALWAYS win.
Why do it then? Take away the wolves, the lions, the tribal warfare and your left with an egregious surplus of need-to-survive. Chemicals man, chemicals bend reason, chemicals create their own logic, and this is how I find myself hurtling down the side of a mountain, oxygen deprived, on the edge of control, in a race for no money and no fame. Chemicals.
I am not saying that this is better than that, than something, anything else. If you are reading this lovely site then you probably like bikes, and if you like bikes, have the time to like bikes, then your life is pretty good. Sometimes it’s nice to know that it’s good for someone else too. Its chemical man.
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