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February 22, 2008



It was an awesomely miserable morning. I arrived in Los Olivos (the half-way point of the TT course) and parked. It started RAINING again almost as soon as I took my bike out of the car. I put it back in and sat for awhile sipping the last of my morning coffee. By 9:15 it had slowed to a misting, so I prepped for the road. I took off on Ballard Canyon, and smoothly made my way into Solvang. The place was just waking up, some of the schwag-tents were still not open. The city was alive with an army of workers setting up barricades and getting the start/finish ready for action. I wandered around some, then finally cruised out of town doing the first-half of the route (I came into town on the last-half of the course asI parked at the half-way point), and the misting had turned into in a near driving rain. It eased up after just a few miles, but the damage was done: the road was soaked and so was I! (I had a rain jacket on, but the water coming UP from the tires is what gets you). Didn't see any bikes on this half, as I guess they were getting the course ready for the paying amateurs to ride soon. And it seems everybody else was hanging out back in Solvang or already out lining the course. I had to hurry a bit and beat the amateur racers back and get into my spot before they came thru, or I'd be stranded. I got back into Los Olivos just before 11am, picked up my gear and headed back up Ballard Canyon to my earlier reconnoitered spot spot. It was a doozy too! I was above a switchback, so I could see the riders coming towards me from down below, me giving me ample time to get the shot and log the rider (for correlation to my photos). I had a nice clear opening for photos as they wound their way up the climb. I had the camera on a tripod, my folding chair in the ready, my GC start list w/ rider #'s out and ready for business, my backpack w/ cell phone, binoculars, food, drink, rain shell, AND tennis shoes so I could ditch the cleated road-shoes for the duration (they were soaking wet anyway). And yes, I carried all this crap UP the canyon on the climb ON MY BIKE). Finally the pros started coming thru about 12:20 or so, and I had an easy time getting EACH riders picture from just a few feet away as they headed towards me around a slight turn. Big Hair Super Fan (the wild-afro-man who has the Elvis costume thing going) ran alongside SUPER MARIO, and he was GRINNING and trying not to laugh as he pushed the climb. My final action shot was Levi of course, and he had quite the grimace on his face, knowing what was at stake. One of the guys near me had a blackberry operating all day, so we were getting race updates throughout. We had already heard that Levi was up on Fabian (and, it was obvious after they both had passed that he had gained back some of the 2 minutes that he started behind). I haven't yet seen the VS coverage, but the course was alive with fans and cowbells (as I rode the pre-race loop in the rain, most of the roadside fans gave ME a good cowbelling...which is really pretty cool btw!). And if by chance in the coverage you see any shots just past the half-way point of the loop, working the way up the climb, with a chalked in "Let Levi Ride" on the road, and some really good looking (albeit still damp and cold) guy in an old orange Team SAECO jersey and tights...THAT WAS ME! GRIN!!!!! Woo-HOO! What a great day! (I mean, cough cough...I think I'm feeling much better now boss...I guess I'll be back in on Monday)


Levi with a slow, steady cadence ... he rode a 55x11 combination.


Matt, I wish I'd read about your day, before watching VS! I might have seen you! I didn't want to know who won, til I watched. What an awesome TT!! Levi couldn't have ridden any more perfectly. He has just blossomed in the last 2 yrs!
I think Dave's changing his riding style to more of an all-rounder, is affecting his TT's. To see him climb and pull at the front anymore is just great! He no longer performs only in a straight line.

And recovery from yesterday, was vital. I would still be in the hospital!!


Oh, and how about Christian VV 's ride? Pretty awesome, he beat DZ's time!!


Pommi, please tell me what the 55 x 11 means exactly. I know it's gearing...but that's about all I know!


Matt-color me green - with envy! I would have LOVED to have your day. Cold and wet and all! Thanks for sharing and where do we see your photos!?


LindaLoo, you must give us your secret email address, then you can be added to the Inane Asylum email group. Then you receive all pictures and some silly jokes!! What a bargain!!!


Okay, I have to speak up about Rock Racing, in semi-hostile territory...:)
Is that commercial not the coolest thing you've seen!!??? I'm sorry I'm so easily impressed, but I love it!


For Theresa -- 55x11 is indeed the gearing: a 55 tooth chainring and 11 tooth cog, which is an insanely huge gear.

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