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Archive: July 10, 2011

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TDF stage 7 / sprint - Cavendish wins, crashes knock out contenders

Sunday,  07/10/11  07:43 PM

the pack blasts toward the finishA long, wet, windy stage 7 from Le Mans to Châteauroux ended with Mark Cavendish winning another bunch sprint, his 17th overall (!), but the big news was crashes which took out Bradley Wiggins and cost Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer big time.  Alexander Vinokourov also hit the deck.  It was one of those stages where you could say the Tour cannot be won, but it certainly can be lost.  Tom Bonnen retired early on from injuries sustained in stage 6.

[Update: Chris Horner is out :(  could not start stage 8.  boo!  I guess now we root for Kloden!]

Stage 8 is rather interesting; with an uphill finish and lots of rollers, it doesn't look like a sprint stage, yet it isn't a pure mountain stage either.  Maybe a break will get away?  Stay tuned...

[ Tour de France 2011: all postsindex ]


TDF stage 8 / rollers - Da Costa wins from break, Gilbert takes green

Sunday,  07/10/11  07:56 PM

Philippe Gilbert blasts away from the peloton on the final climbRui Da Costa hung on from a break to take stage 8 of the Tour de France, while Philippe Gilbert blasted away from the peloton to take glory and the green jersey.  And interestingly Cadel Evans hung on to beat Alberto Contador, after he attacked on the final climb.  It is starting to look like Alberto doesn't quite have it this year, and/or Cadel does.  Meanwhile Gilbert animates everything; I really like him (even though he's Belgian :).  Also interesting Teejay Van Garderen attacked the break and looked great, taking the polka dots.  Onward!

TDF stage 9 features eight catagorized climbs; look for a break to succeedStage 9 is rather interesting; with eight categorized climbs it cannot be considered flat or easy (in fact it can be considered a leg-breaker), yet it isn't a mountain stage either.  With a rest day ahead I predict a successful breakaway for the first time this tour, as the GC contenders rest up and recuperate and the sprinters wait for next week.  Stay tuned...

[ Tour de France 2011: all postsindex ]


TDF stage 9 - Sanchez wins from break, Voeckler takes yellow; unbelievable crashes continue

Sunday,  07/10/11  08:02 PM

TV car swerves into break, hitting Flecha and knocking Hoogerland into fence :(Wow.  Stage 9 of the Tour had a little of everything; eight categorized climbs (some of those Cat 2s were pretty tough), a powerful breakaway destined to succeed, horrible crashes which took out several contenders and injured others, and a TV car running riders off the road, changing the results of the race.  If you missed it, go back and watch.  Wow.

Johnny Hoogerland is knocked into barbed-wire fence; he continued (!) and took the polka dot jerseyToday's break was not five guys out to get TV time for their teams, they knew they had a chance, and they rode like it.  Chasing behind the peloton had a number of horrible crashes, and Dave Zabriske, Alexander Vinokourov, and Jurgen van den Broeck were forced to retire.  With the finish in sight a TV car swerved into the five-man breakaway, hitting Juan Antonio Flecha and knocking him to the deck, and causing him to crash into Johnny Hoogerland who somersaulted into a barbed wire fence.  This enabled Luis-Leon Sanchez and Thomas Voeckler to escape, with Sanchez ultimately winning the stage but putting Voeckler solidly in Yellow, two minutes ahead of the GC contenders.

Luis-Leon Sanchez leads break; he ultimately won and sits second on GCWith a rest day tomorrow that leaves the GC at Voeckler in yellow, Sanchez (1:49), Cadel Evans (2:26), Frank Schleck (2:29), and Andy Schleck (2:37).  Other contenders include Andreas Kloden (2:32), Ivan Basso (3:36), Robert Gesink (4:01), and Alberto Contador (4:07).  You could have won money betting that Contador would be in 16th that far back after week one.  After the rest day there are a couple of days for the sprinters - 5 hours of touring followed by 5 minutes of racing - and then Thursday (ta da!) we go into the Pyrenees, with stage 12 featuring a Cat 1 and two HCs.  Yay.  Stay tuned!

[ Tour de France 2011: all postsindex ]


surviving the Death Ride

Sunday,  07/10/11  08:21 PM

Well I did it (again); rode the famous Markleeville Death Ride and lived to tell about it, 129 miles, 15,000 feet of climbing over 5 mountain passes in the High Sierras, and whew 1 big smile at the end of it.  This ride does not get any easier and in fact this year I was in worse shape than previous years, and really struggled in the second half.  I must get in more miles if I'm to be successful at the 508.  Oh well I have three months left and must use the time wisely.

This year the new wrinkle was snow; the Ebbett's pass had a lot of it everywhere, which cooled the air a bit and made for even more beautiful scenery.  All the rivers were flowing wildly and there were waterfalls everywhere.  I love it.  The Monitor Pass views were even more incredible than usual with snow on the surrounding mountain tops too.  And in a twist, the Carson Pass was hotter than usual; twice before I've been rained on during that final long climb, but this year I was broiled (or maybe I was toasted :).  Anyway whew I made it.

BTW must note, I have completely cut over to using my iPhone as my camera, and I am now running IOS 5 beta 2, which nearly saved my life several times as it is so much easier now to launch the camera app; no more futzing to enter access codes etc.  You pull out the camera, double click, click the camera icon, and use the "+" hardware button to take pictures.  Excellent.

Here are some pictures, you can find more in the gallery on my website:

the official route map (click to enbiggen)

the route: 129 miles and 15,000 feet,
out from Markleeville up and over Monitor Pass and down to Topaz,
then back up over Monitor and down into the valley,
then up and over Ebbett's Pass down to Bear Valley,
then back up over Ebbett's and down into the valley,
past Markleeville to Woodford's,
and then up to the top of Carson Pass (yay!),
and finally back down and over to Markleeville.

I still love the novelty of the Places map on the iPhone :)

early morning, up the first climb on Monitor Pass (yawn)

so far so good, climbing Monitor

emerging over the top into the valley with Checkpoint One

down to Topaz, a beautiful descent

traffic jam at the foot of the pass,
riders coming down and riders going back up

climbing back up Monitor, longest climb of the day

panoramic view down to Lake Topaz (click to enbiggen)

boy scouts help out at the checkpoints - excellent

incredible views from the top of Monitor looking West

climbing Ebbett's, Kinney Reservoir provides a beautiful vista (click to enbiggen)

after descending Ebbett's the meadows are amazing; note overflowing river

the town of Markleeville, our charming host

climbing Carson, the last bit is the worst but the end is in sight

checkpoint at the top of Carson, lots of happy death riders!

yay, made it; here posing with the official poster

descending back down the view of Red Lake is always amazing

Another year, another Death Ride in the books...  Cheers and onward!


long weekend

Sunday,  07/10/11  11:43 PM

incredible Dale Ford model wagon at the Lake Topaz LodgeWe're back!  After a long weekend; Friday Shirley and I drove up to Lake Topaz, Saturday I rode the Death Ride in Markleeville, and today we drove back.  It was great - seemed like we were gone forever - and I'll have more to say about the trip later, but for now a quick filter pass...

Another thoughtful post from Scott "Dilbert" Adams: Opinions vs Ideas.  Would it help to separate ideas from the people who espouse them?  Don't know.  It is certainly true that our reaction to an idea is spun by the context in which we hear it.  Interesting.

Stephen Green: the Bistromath economy.  "The numbers, they are awful."  I think there is a realization now that we're truly headed in the wrong direction, and furthermore, it will take time to turn ourselves around.  Sigh.

Powerline: Our excuser-in-chief.  "One wonders whether, when the history of this era is written, today might go down as a turning point."  Maybe.

Dave Winer (formerly an Obama supporter, then an Obama apologist): Maybe Obama will withdraw from the 2012 race.  "Obama is so deeply mired in this mess with the deficit. Perhaps the best thing to do is resign himself to being a one-term President and let the Democrats nominate someone else, who can run on a different platform."  I would be best for the country and the Democratic party, but don't count on it.

Shuttle Atlantis crew ready for launchPic of the weekend: Shuttle Atlantis crew ready for launch.  They will be the last...  I was never a fan of the Shuttle, but I'm sad that we don't have more manned space activity to replace it.  I guess having private companies take over makes sense, but it will take awhile; meanwhile the Shuttle blasts off into history.

Here's a cool history of the Space Shuttle in pictures.  Can you remember where you were when the Challenger blew up?  I can.  I think we all can.

Rand Simberg: six false lessons of the space shuttle.

Brad Feld: things I learned during my first week in Paris.  (e.g, "Lunch takes two hours here. That’s a good thing.")  Good to know.  My own trip to Paris is now less than two weeks away!

mysterious Pittsburgh protractorThis is most excellent: the mysterious protractors of Pittsburgh.  Sounds like something from a William Gibson novel, and who knows, maybe it is :)

Huh.  When women confuse being asked out with being raped at knifepoint.  In which "no means no" has become "no means you should not have asked".  Sigh.

boat + bike = ????Excellent!  Boat + Bike = ????

How to make text look interesting.  Interestingly, it is kind of boring :P

Out here in California, the imminent closing of the 405 freeway for two days is causing great angst.  It is being called Carmeggedon.  Predictably, Hitler reacts.

Longtime mobile device advocate Russell Beattie reviews the HP TouchPad.  "Anyone beyond the most fervent early adopter would be very disappointed with their experience after opening their new TouchPad."  Yikes.

ZooBorn: a Pygmy Slow LorisZooborn of the weekend: a Pygmy Slow Loris.

Dave Winer reacts to Google+: I'm still yawning.  Having received a number of invitations to join, I'm a little afraid of it; first, I don't want to mess up my Google experience when I use Gmail etc, and second, I don't need another place to post, as balancing my blog and my Facebook is already a challenge.  If someone can explain why I should use Google+ I would be most grateful.


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