Monday, May 18, 2009

Tour of California, April-May 2009

Here I am, finally writing and adding a few pictures of our Tour of California to this blog. "Ours" because I did the trip with Sandra. Without her this Tour wouldn't have taken off...

There is so much to write about and around 200 pictures that I would consider posting here but that's realistically too much. So, I will put together a slide show soon and put a link to it so anyone interested can have a look at it at some stage. Also, Sandra is putting together a cute little movie, it is going to be posted here soon.

This is my "Six-Stage Tour of California 2009".



Stage One - Los Angeles River Bikeway ITT, Long Beach to somewhere and back (35 km)

A flat ride along what I wouldn't call a river. A smell of concrete filled the cool air. Still, it was fast, had no signs of LA's crazy traffic and seemed to go forever.


... that's in miles


Long, long bikeway


The bikeway goes under many Highways


Not the nicest river I've seen...


Time: 1h 20min
Ascent: 92m
Temp: 23 C

Fantastic post-race meal of scrambled eggs,
vegetarian chorizo and spicy fries


Stage Two - Kelbaker Road ITT, Mojave National Park (36 km)

After a night at a truck/RV stop in the middle of nowhere, a ride into the desert. An amazing first ride in the desert.

Off on the Trek 1400
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Kelbaker Road, Mojave NP
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Searching for the Joshua Tree
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First sight...
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With a Joshua Tree
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Time: 1h 26min
Ascent: 816m
Temp.: 33 C

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Stage Three: Furnace Creek to Zabriskie Point and back, Death Valley (40 km)

Sandra rode into the village the day before and loved the ride. I felt I had to experience it as the the road looked so smooth, fast and the surrounds so... awesome.
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The road from Zabriskie Point
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Awesome landscape
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Getting greener when approaching the valley
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Very smooth road all the way in
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That's below sea level
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Time: 48min
Ascent: 428m
Temp: 28 C
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Post ride meal at 49ers, Furnace Creek

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Stage Four: Kern River ITT, Johnstone, Sequoia National Park (30 km)

An early start for another little discovery ride, this time along a river and surrounded by alpine trees and rocky mountains. Huge contrast from the previous day.
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Bike and the Kern River
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Generals Highway, Sequoia National Park
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Population: 1 1/2, Elevation: 4720 ft
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Almost at the turn around...
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Time: 1h 8min
Ascent: 516 m
Temp: 21 C
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Stage Five: Convict Flat ITT, Kings Canyon (26km)

Sandra did the morning ride into the valley. After a nice walk (cross-training), we decided to head towards the coast. To do that, we had to drive over 6,000 ft high mountains of the Sierra Nevada. Sandra insisted I did a portion of it by bike - best ride ever!
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Usual pre-race meal
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Kings River and the twisting road
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Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
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1,000 feet to go
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Time: 1h 10min
Ascent: 973 m
Temp: 22 to 31 C
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Stage Six: Solvang ITT, Solvang (29 + 4 km)
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The folks at Lonely Planet wrote it was kitschy but a friend said we should stop. I am glad we did! Firstly, we had a fantastic lunch in this Danish look alike town. Secondly, Sandra found a beautiful bracellet with a little road bike hanging of it. Lastly, I did part of the Tour of California ITT course... and was about to beat Levy's time when I missed a turn and kept riding on Hwy One for a few more miles.
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Shopping for a new bike... maybe!
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Perfect spot for a pre-race meal
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Best pre-race meal ever!!
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Tour of California TT course
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One of the chardonnay producers in Solvang
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Time: 1h 04min
Ascent: 231 m
Temp: 31 to 36 C
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As I mentioned before, there is so much to write and so many images... I might post a few, now and then, as memories of this great holiday reappear. I feel so lucky to have experienced all that with Sandra, the best travelling partner in the world, and hope to be able to go back one day to see a bit more and ride a few more miles of this vast country. As my friend Aaron said, we just got to the edge of where all the good places are... Of course, he is not from California.

I will finish with two of my best photos of this holiday.
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Sandra riding into a backdrop of colours, Death Valley

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At Elephant Seal Colony, San Simeon

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America, thank you!

6 comments:

jaman said...

Good stuff mate!
Love the pictures.
Can't wait to hear more stories.

Mike J said...

Great pictures. Glad you enjoyed the USA.

AMR said...

Thanks fellas!

We had a ball. I might put a little video of the rides together too. Ca is a great place for cycling.

Cheers.

Century Rider said...

looks like some awesome cycling country over there. i wonder if many europeans like me take cycling trips to cali?

maybe i should head over the pon next year?!

AMR said...

Century,

I would like to go back, there is so much to be explored...

Then... there is Europe.

Whitey said...

Great photos! Never seem to think about another place that is as dry as Aus.

 
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