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.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tour of California Stage 4

With a daughter recovering on the couch this afternoon (and setting her homeschool studies aside for the day), I took some time to work on a homeschooling article and watch yet another stage of the Tour of California. Truth be told, I also ate too many Andes mints, just to maintain that stereotypical image of a stay-at-home mom eating bonbons and watching TV. Sadly, some riders could have been sitting home with me, having dropped out of the race overnight and yesterday: Edvald Hagen (High Road) and Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom); they left the race on Stage 3. Non-starters at the beginning of today: Luciano Pagliarini (Saunier Duval-Scott) and Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner).

Route: Seaside - San Luis Obispo
Riders Remaining: 115
Distance: 135.3 miles
- Big Sur (category 4)
- Highway 1 (category 4)
- Highway 1 (category 3)

Rain at the start saw riders, once again, in jackets and warmers. Steady rain and stiff winds along the way made for an incredibly long and less-than-stellar day in the saddle as well. Then again, no one ever said the Tour of California would be a “walk in the park”, so to speak. At least the competitors got a few glimmers of sunshine around the halfway mark.

With Levi Leipheimer in the golden jersey, Astana spent the day in charge of the peloton, chasing down attacks that began immediately after the neutral zone. CSC and Quick Step were attentive at the front as well, protecting their men, Cancellara and Boonen respectively. A break of eleven men eventually escaped, managing to stay ahead for most of the day. Riders involved: Camaño (Saunier Duval-Scott), Hincapie (High Road), Mollema (Rabobank), Hivert (Credit Agricole), Belgy (Bouygues Telecom), Wyss (BMC), Kilun (Toyota-United Pro), Rollin (Toyota-United-Pro), King (Bissell), and Mead (Jelly Belly). The eleven eventually became ten when Julien Belgy abandoned the race. By the end of course, a few more competitors dropped behind, bringing the breakaway success count to six. Holding off the pack at an approximate two-minute gap for the duration, an admirable accomplishment given the wind and the weather, the closing sprint became a contest between Hincapie, Rollin, and Camaño. Rollin prevailed to take the prize. Hincapie was second, while Camaño took third.

My favorite race moment: Hincapie taking second after a day of hard riding and cruddy weather.

Stage 4 Standings
- Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United Pro)
- George Hincapie (High Road)
- Iker Camaño (Saunier Duval-Scott)
- Gerald Ciolek (High Road)
- Mark Cavendish (High Road)

General Classification
- Levi Leipheimer (Astana)
- Fabian Cancellara (CSC)
- Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
- David Millar (Slipstream-Chipotle)
- Gustav Larsson (CSC)

Withdrawals on course today
- Jonathan Sundt (Kelly Benefit),
- Dymtro Grabovskyy (Quick Step)
- Matt Crane (HealthNet)
- Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole)
- Julien Belgy (Bouygues Telecom)
- Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United Pro)
- Tom Danielson (Slipstream-Chipotle)
- Jackson Stewart (BMC)
- Burke Swindlehurst (Bissell)

Tomorrow is the individual time trial. With thirteen seconds between first place Levi Leipheimer and second place Fabian Cancellara, the action should be tense. I will definitely be tuning in. Hopefully, the sun will be shining. See you then!

A note about Scott Nydam from the race website:
His father was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks before the Amgen Tour of California began…

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