Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Racing to Catch Up Again

Ah,yes I remembered this weekend the old saw about "the best laid plans of mice and men"...

BajaBabe and I headed up the hill Saturday to spectate atop Donner Summit as some of the World's Greatest Bicycle Racers contend Monday's Stage 2 of the AMGEN Tour of California.

Winter weather also headed up the hill Saturday, though it didn't arrive until almost midnight Sunday morning. I watched a little of the AMGEN Press Conference online Saturday afternoon the gist of which was..."stay tuned, we'll announce our "Plan B" for Stage 1 Sunday morning.

The AMGEN's website wasn't moving fast enough to keep up Sunday morning, but Twitter was reliably feeding all the info that told the story as it unfolded minute by minute...

First, the start was delayed and the route shortened. The race was supposed to begin in South Lake Tahoe and run clockwise around Lake Tahoe one and a half times before climing Brockway Summit and finishing at Northstar Resort near Truckee. Mother Nature had other plans...Ditching the circumnavigation of the lake and just racing over the Emerald Bay climb and on to Northstar was the fall-back plan, and the riders made their case to call the whole thing off when the skies really opened up and the weather turned to near white-out conditions minutes before the new start time...Good call as far as I'm concerned!

Sunday night I set my alarm for 0530 and went to sleep. When the alarm roused me, I logged onto the internet and looked for the about 0630, I received an email from Mr Landlord...with three photos attached.

Approach to Old Hwy 40's Donner Summit ~6:30AM Monday 5/16
The pix were of the last half mile of the climb to the Donner Summit on Old Highway 40 past the spot BajaBabe and I intended to view/film/photograph later in the morning, showing plenty of ice on the pavement...a little later, I caught the announcement on the Train Wreck News: the start is moved west to Nevada City...the route from Squaw Valley USA over Donner Summit and down Highway 20 was correctly deemed unsafe...hence the move.

We lollygagged around all morning, then shoveled out 5-6 inches of new snow, and hit the road around noon with cameras in hand. We drove up Old Highway 40 to our chosen spot about an hour later than the peloton would have crested the Summit. I snapped photos from the same vantage points as Mr Landlord's photos for comparison purposes...with slush still on the pavement, the change was the correct call.

Approach to Old Hwy 40's Donner Summit ~ 1hr after the peloton would have past
Spectacular roads and vistas atop Old Hwy 40! Donner Lake, Rainbow Bridge
Doing the tourist thing, we stopped by my mountain, snapped some more photos, and headed back to Truckee to pick up some groceries. I made Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwiches for dinner, and we watched the Giants lose to the Colorado Rockies.

Our "Plan B" was to head down the hill Tuesday and stop by the Stage 3 start town of Auburn and browse the "lifestyle faire" for some AMGEN swag (I fancy one of those Rabobank foam fingers, some AMGEN cowbells, and whatever looks good from Team Garmin/Cervello, Team Leopard/Trek, and Team HTC/Highroad...again Mother Nature had other was raining cats and dogs when we arrived in Auburn, our "New Plan B" was now lunch at TacoBell.

After our harrowing trip over Donner Summit and out of the High Sierra (Near white-out over the Summit, and difficult visibility all the way down the Foothills) we weren't filled with much ambition anymore. We fought fierce winds crossing the Big Valley, and gassed up and re-provisioned in Vacaville, before making the final push back to the Ancestral Digs.

Once we put the groceries away and schlepped the rest of the stuff into the house, I logged onto the internet and researched Stage 4 so I could formulate a Game Plan.

OK here's our plan...we hunt swag at 10AM in Livermore the Start City. Then we head out on the Stage 4 route to Mt Hamilton, the summit of the hors catégorie climb that's the toughest of the day's five King Of the Mountain climbs.

We'll be well below the snow line at 4130ft (knock wood), but the NWS is forecasting scattered showers in the morning and isolated showers in the afternoon, so we're not out of the woods yet...Allez all! (Cue the Woodstock Cheer: NoRain-NoRain-NoRain...

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