Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tour of California Stage 2

Well, I definitely had a sunnier day on tap than they did in northern California. The video feed from the race start showed lots of riders in arm warmers, knee warmers, and jackets, pedaling in the rain. Not a great way to begin one of the longer days of the Tour of California. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much better by the end either. Oh, well.

Route: Santa Rosa - Sacramento
Riders remaining: 132
Distance: 115.8 miles
- Trinity Grade (category 2)
- Highway 128 (category 4)

The Tour website had a good route description for the first climb:
The Trinity road climb and technical descent leading into Napa Valley wineries proved to be one of the most difficult sections in last year’s race so the racers will have to be attentive or risk getting gapped.
And for the trek into Sacramento:
The pack will roll east past Lake Berryessa and spin through the cities of Winters and Davis, the latter of which was recently named the best cycling town by Bicycling Magazine. After turning north, the route will float adjacent to the Sacramento River and across the Tower Bridge before arriving at the Capitol Mall in Sacramento. There the cyclists will whip up the speed when they engage in the final three-lap showdown through downtown before drag racing to the finish line in front of the state’s Capitol building, a monumental location to catch the action.
After reading that, I was wondering if Governor Schwarzenegger would be at the finish line. Apparently, he was.

Once again, the race saw an early breakaway by Team BMC, only this time it was Scott Nydam. Gaining about four kilometers and six minutes on the pack, he was the first to hit the Trinity Grade climb and the first to descend it safely. Like teammate Jackson Stewart in Stage 1, Nydam managed to maintain his lead for most of the day, staying ahead for some 90 miles and at one point reaching fifteen minutes gap over the rest of the peloton. For while there, I thought maybe the group was saving their energy for the climbs on Stage 3 (three category fours, a category one, and an HC). Not so; the pack caught Nydam within ten kilometers of the destination.

And speaking of the finish, the rain that dogged the riders throughout most of the day impacted the closing action as well. With three two-mile circuits through town before reaching the Capitol building, the course offered plenty of opportunities for weather-related mayhem, none of which materialized. The challenges started with S├ębastien Turgot (Bouygues Telecom) launching off the front and flatting…and still managing to keep a lead until just after the peloton entered the finishing circuits. Most every team took a turn at the front, all trying to set up their sprinters for a win. In the end, it was Team Quick Step that prevailed with none other than Tom Boonen taking his first accolades of the race.

My favorite race moment: the fact that no one crashed on the rain-wet roads.

Stage 2 Standings
- Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
- Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner)
- Mario Cipollini (Rock Racing)
- Mark Cavendish (High Road)
- Juan Jose Haedo (CSC)

General Classification
- Tyler Farrar (Slipstream-Chipotle)
- Fabian Cancellara (CSC)
- Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
- Bradley Wiggins (High Road)
- Gerald Ciolek (High Road)
- Levi Leipheimer (Astana)
- David Millar (Slipstream-Chipotle)

Tense ending on the day for me. I couldn’t get the play-by-play from the video feed to display on my Mac. I had no idea what was happening for the last three kilometers! Maybe I will start watching on my husband’s PC so I can use Adobe TourTracker.

Until tomorrow.

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