It's good to see cycling going the way of all the overhyped commercial sports. Soon we'll have the Muur de Poulan Weedeater or the Alpe de'Tostitos. "Here we are...On Cobblestone Section Farmers Insurance followed by the real bad section-the Cobblestone Section Fed Ex."
IMO the best race is Paris Roublex when it is wet. When it is dry the Tour of Flanders, aka de Ronde van Vlaanderen is the best. Unlike the stage races of multiple days of short lengths interrupted by days of cycling parades like the Tour de France, the one day balls out high intensity races are great. And the Tour of Flanders, with its repeatedly short but steep climbs (many cobbled) climaxes on the penultimate climb, the feared cobbled Muur van Geraardsbergen/Mur de Grammont. The Muur is 1075 meters at 9.3%, with a maximum grade of close to 20%, everyone waits for the winning move to be made on it. The Muur is the place where an old Johan Museeuw tried in desperation to attack the group in 2002--fell off badly-- and had a resurrection ("he never gives UP--EVER!"--Phil Liggett) and made the podium. More recently the place where Fabian Cancellara said bye bye to Tom Boonen, both who were involved in their own two man race with everyone a few levels below them.
2009 Tour of Flanders
Announcer Paul Sherwin-"With 20km to go Stijn Devolder has shown that got some strong legs today and he'll start to think of the Mur de Grammont that is coming up in 6km time.
Announcer Paul Sherwin-It's 2.2 km to the start of THE CLIMB and if you have never been there it is a beast of a climb--the Mur de Grammont.
Annoncer Phi Liggett-The chapel at the top seen through the trees. Its where cyclists go in Belgium-to a mecca to see what the rides go through...Life is about to change as the rides go up the wall of Geraardsbergen
So in 2012 the sacred place--the Mur de Grammont--The Muur van Geraardsbegen-- has been tossed from the Tour of Flanders.
|Diablo Cyclists watch the Tour of Flanders Mt Diablo Route (added for $$$ payment)--Ward Industries|
|FUCK YOU Dr. Earl, the insurance expert, who said I did't need any corrective surgery as "i'm not an athlete." Insurance attorney (who was actually OK--unlike swarmy insurance adjuster) thought it was amusing that my accident was on April Fools Day.|
(April 1, 2012) Walnut Creek to Mt Hamilton via Mines Road. 160 miles with Cisco Dave and Jack. @8,100' climbing. 7:00-7:30, 15.1 mph.
I proposed this and Captain Jack and Cisco Dave were takers. Our usual 7am start for "opening day" (which had been rained out) where we just go half way toward Mt Hamilton and stop at the Junction. (Damn-Jack is supposed to be sensible and talk me out of things like this.) Cisco started politicking for an 8:00 start where Jack responded "toughen up--if you want to do DMD it starts at 5:00" Truth be told Cisco could have started at 9:00 and eventually caught up with us.
For self supported ride loaded up handlebar bag with container (Hammergel grenade) of Heed and container of Perpetuem--2 Z Bars, 2 Cliff Bars, and a Peanut Butter Sandwich. Will be great on organized ride--I'll quickly lose 2 pounds. Figured my bag would gradually empty out and then could put my rain jacket in it. It had stopped raining 2 hours before and everything was drenched; the day promised to be dry but it was damp and cold outside. Jack rode in at 6:55 and we discovered that all the bathrooms at Heather Farms were locked. We wondered if Cisco was going to join us en route and off we went.
Cisco Dave met us on the road outside Walnut Creek and we quietly made our way through tony suburbia. Not many cars out but some early morning runners and cyclists. In 15 miles of Central County we saw more cyclists than my 150 miles in East County the last few weeks. First stop--15 miles at gas station outside Blackhawk, 15 miles after Jack and I needed one. Cisco just turned 50 so he joined in the old person conversation regarding constipation and how Hammar needs to have dried prune fiber bars.
|Jack and I on Collier Canyon Road--part of the gentle 30 mile ride out to Livermore (Cisco Dave I-PHONE XXXVII with Nikon App Photo)|
30 miles--in Livermore at 9:10. Sports park--bathrooms LOCKED. Doen't anything open up on Sunday morning. We see some guys wearing Bikes 4 Life kits, my local bike shop, start up towards Mines Road. At least water fountain was working so we could mix sports drink. Maybe Jack was trying to talk sense into me--he asked a few times "So you really want to go up Mt Hamilton??" Unfortunately he asked when I felt great and was full of enthusiasm.
|(above) One of the traditional Mines Roads scentic water crossing (below) Closeup of Dave and I (Cisco Dave photo)|
Dave and I Jack on the initial climb--but Dave loves fn around with his I-Phone (he thinks its a camera) so we're making movies and taking photos. After the road flattened off to a 1% uphill at mile 8, we stop and wait for Jack. Jack joined us and we all pacelined for the next 20 miles. Well, we pacelined until we had to ride through the two traditional puddles that are on the road--then we gingerly rolled through those washouts one by one.
Sun is out but cool. Surprisingly not to many cyclists out--nor motorcycles. This is a big motorcycle route--with many motorcycles usually taking the curves at speed where we can almost reach out and pat them on the helmet as they lean in and come by. I guess last night rains had motorcyclist starting out later today.
Dave riding great--he was fn around with the camera and still setting a great pace. We went over the first sharp climb--he waited for me on the downhill--then we went over the next sharp climb together. But far down the road you could see the Bikes 4 Life guys so he started to chase. I would have also but I can't add speed on a downhill.
I saw Dave catch them at the end of the downhill where the road suddenly straightens out and leads into a short steep climb--and I saw the Bike 4 Life guys try to get on his wheel but they couldn't. I then put in a dig to try to catch Dave if he slacked which had me whip around these guys also.
|Cisco Dave at the Junction--20 Miles to the top of Mt Hamilton on the way to San Jose. Other option is to go down into Patterson in the Central Valley (Pumpkincycle photo)|
|I'm on one of the rollers before the serious climbing starts up Mt. Hamilton (Cisco Dave Photo)|
|(above) Jay & Jack riding up Mt Hamilton; Dave riding up Mt Hamilton.|
(below) Snow and Grizzly Peak Cyclists Mark on the top of Mt. Hamilton
|Cisco Dave, Captain Jack and The Pumpkin of Flanders at the top of Mt Hamilton--80 milex from where we started|
Heard Fabian Cancellara had a bad accident in today's race--hope a border collie didn't come off their front yard and undercut his wheel, like one did to me in 2001.