Thursday, June 26, 2008

ToPA - Carlisle to Bedford, live

This is an experiment to see if I can type, navigate, listen to the radios, and type stuff.

10:01 AM - race start. 4.9 miles neutral. Light rain, road is drying, we're looking at humid but allegedly drier conditions.

10:04 AM - Two KOMs at 66 and 82 miles. Two sprints at 16 and 46 mi.

10:07 AM - crash. Oh, a car crash. Not a race crash, it'll be on the course though.

10:22 AM - multiple issues, I think this is going to be a short experiment. Train crossing blocked race, riders flatting, etc. And now I have to focus on my tasks, sorry.

10:28 AM - okay now it's a bit calmer. Roads are dry, sun is out. Coming up on sprint 5 mi or so. 27 mph.

10:32 AM - flat rolling farmland. Field is winding up for the sprint. 28-29 mph.

10:34 AM - coming up on I-81, about 14 miles into the race. Meaning we're coming up on it, the race is behind. Race averaging 23.6, field is going about 28 mph. Very light traffic, and a strong wireless signal.

10:37 AM - almost hit a car head-on. I no longer wonder how a Secret Service motorcycle person can get hit.

10:39 AM - coming up on the sprint line. Roads are incredibly clear, tons of marshals. Field going 31 mph.

10:39 AM - we passed by the DA apparently. He's taking a break to spectate.

10:40 AM - Passed two elder couples setting up chairs on the side of the road. Field at 28 mph.

10:45 AM - Motorcycles passing to clear an intersection (Allen Road and Route 11). They're like the super mobile leadout men, clearing things so that the less maneuverable stuff (like a field of racers) can get through.

10:46 AM - someone on a cell phone makes a left turn in front of two police motos and a police car, close enough to be a bit of a worry.

10:49 AM - yesterday there were earth movers, dump trucks, garbage trucks, tractors, and all sorts of other DPW type vechicles. 24.5 mph for the field (average), 19.6 miles. Beautiful huskies in a kennel. I think we're 4 or 5 miles ahead, now taking a break. Great shoulder here, Route 11.

10:51 AM - A golf course. Lots of people playing, strong crosswind from the right (north).

10:52 AM - Two guinea hens on the road. Farmers keep them around to eat bugs and to act as a natural alarm because they chirp when they get flustered. We got them off the road.

10:53 AM - if you want any gleaming new tractors, head just past Cinda Lane, there are a bunch of them out there. Road is excellent here. 20 mph field. 24.3 mph avg. Taking it easy before the two big climbs.

10:57 AM - we're passing a lot of young corn things. Plants. With all the flooding elsewhere I think these farmers are looking forward to a good year. The field is taking it easy.

10:59 AM - I wonder if the field is in some echelon. The wind is pretty strong from the right.

11:07 AM - Field is at 15 miles, I think 2:33 behind the break. We're at mile 26 or so.

11:08 AM - 24.5 mph avg speed. 5 riders off the front. 63, 15, 36, 125, 22.

11:09 AM - #155 caught the break.

11:10 AM - field is chasing now.

11:11 AM - field is 15 seconds down from the break. This whole thing is harder than it seems, typing updates like this.

11:12 AM - rider dropping back, #5, for service. Passed a Mennonite family, the dad had a three wheel recumbent.

11:13 AM - leaders have a 10 second gap. Chase group, 31, 131, they're chasing. 123. 24. 61. 84. I don't have a start list so I don't know names and teams.

11:15 AM - there are about 30 young cows running away from us. Trotting, but they're moving a bit. Chase is 5 seconds up.

11:17 AM - Two guys go off the front.

11:18 AM - Notification there is some pavement work going on.

11:19 AM - Some riders go off, I got 83, 84, and two more riders. 5 seconds. We have battling radios, lots of stuff going on because of the pavement work.

11:20 AM - Riders are at 10 seconds. I should have gotten more of the numbers.

11:22 AM - The road is down to one lane with traffic alternating one direction and the other. So it'll have to be totally cleared for the race.

11:22 AM - Gap is increasing. 15 seconds. And there are lots for sale, 5 acres each, if anyone wants any land around here.

11:24 AM - Someone down the road bought some land because they're building a bunch of town houses and such. The construction folk offered 1/2 more lane but it's hot tar. I think we'll turn them down on that offer.

11:25 AM - Some busy stuff now. Intersection with 174, 11. Big truck.

11:26 AM - 15 second gap to the break, 1 chaser, and then the field. Little hill after the intersection, perfect for an attack.

11:29 AM - busy little town. The Chief himself was out doing traffic duty.

11:34 AM - Some unsecured intersections, the racers picked up the pace. Back on the wrong side of the road, pushing a bit. A bit hectic.

11:38 AM - Went through the one lane area. Lots of pebbles. Apparently is 1:20 ahead of the chasers and the field. But they are hammering.

11:40 AM - Gap is a bit big now. I think we're the ones 1:20 ahead, but I dunno.

11:42 AM - There is a break that is 1:40 ahead. Jeepers, where have I been.

11:46 AM - Team cars behind the break so it's serious. Coming up on a sprint.

11:50 AM - another close pass, the driver was simply intent on going somewhere and almost took the mirror off of the PSP car.

11:51 AM - Coming up on the sprint. Slight downhill, looks fast.

11:56 AM - Chambersburg Square, lots of people cheering, very cool.

11:57 AM - Field is entering the town, break was 1:35 ahead.

11:58 AM - another push, lots of traffic, more wrong side driving, sirens, radios, stuff.

12:00 PM - Mobile home on the side of the road.

12:08 PM - The road is rolling, big climbs, big descents, all visible. Demoralizing. Break is at 55 seconds.

12:10 PM - I think one of the motos had a flat tire.

12:13 PM - Break is at 40 seconds, pulling team cars. These hills are hard.

12:14 PM - Saint Thomas, this is the town. Seems pretty quiet.

12:15 PM - Someone's pulled everyone over. It was like we were already there.

12:16 PM - 30 seconds. The break is in its final throes.

12:17 PM - all new pavement here, coming out of Saint Thomas. It's like the Tour was coming here, it's freshly paved. Well, last summer, but we can pretend. The lane stripes are new though.

12:18 PM - We lost one moto, it won't start. I don't know what the driver will do.

12:19 PM - field is at 35 seconds. 4 miles to the base of the mountain.

12:21 PM - Over and over I'm reminded that the truck drivers immediately pull over, the cars look like they're going to plow into us before they swerve off. Many of the offending drivers are on cell phones, but in PA that's legal.

12:22 PM - Break is at 40 seconds. I don't know if they are the same ones.

12:23 PM - 45 seconds. I wonder if they can climb.

12:24 PM - Caddy almost drives off the road, flying past us and almost going head on into the car behind us.

12:25 PM - Gap is 40. Beautiful scenery, beautiful pavement, big hill in front of us. Looks like annihilation for some riders, if I was racing I'd be afraid.

12:30 PM - This is a hard climb. In a PSP cruiser it's pretty easy though. But man, it just goes on and on. Steep at the beginning, then not too bad, but relentless.

12:35 PM - People at the top, waiting with cameras, the inflatable stick things, all waiting. The racers will be a while though.

12:40 PM - We're waiting at the bottom of the hill. Beautiful clear roads. What an awesome descent. Curves hard enough to carve, easy enough so you barely have to brake. If I had a bike with me...

12:49 PM - radio dead zone, waiting for the racers to crest the climb. They are at 1 km to go.

1:17 PM12:52 PM - solo rider, chase at 20, and field at 30. So not too fragmented. So we started up.

12:53 PM - we're still flying down the hill

12:53 PM - field is broken apart.

12:54 PM - 36, 12, 11, 134, 123, the top 5.

1:00 PM - Some racers are having problems, but the barrage of radio was hard to understand. Flat tires, a chase group forming, I think someone fell. Someone flatted, but it might have been a caravan vehicle.

1:03 PM - Passing by Licking Creek Township sign.

1:04 PM - Field is at 3:30, chase at 1:45, another chase closer to the break, and the break.

1:12 PM - This whole road racing thing is tough. With the climb and descent, we rushed ahead, and now we're sort of moseying along. I feel like I'm just out for a drive now other than the blaring radios in the car. I actually have a headache and I never have them.

1:14 PM - dead mink on the road.

1:17 PM - we're driving through the feedzone but the racers won't see it for a while.

1:24 PM - solo leader. This guy is strong. We've hit the scond climb, it's a doozy too, not as long but steeper.

1:31 PM - narrow windy descent. Windy like it winds a lot, not like there's a lot of wind.

1:46 PM - Waiting a bit as we got ahead. Having some Giant Strawberries from the Giant Strawberry guy (the motos had some).

1:52 PM - stragglers got over the top of the second climb.

1:53 PM - racers in Breezewood. Normally busy but today it's locked down.

1;54 PM - Rider 123 caught by field. I don't know where he was, other than he was in front of it.

1:55 PM - 30+ riders are 4 miles behind. The race has blown apart on the two big climbs.

Posted a little late as we lost all cell signal right after the KOM.

2:13 PM - It's hot. I can't imagine racing this. Wide open highway, no shade, white pavement, reflecting heat back up at you.

2:23 PM - I guess we moved too far ahead. No chaos like yesterday. Sitting pretty.

2:26 PM - I guess the break is 40 seconds ahead. The field is a mile or two behind.

2:30 PM - oh 1 KM to go. Road is nicely controlled. Lemme see if I can watch the finish.

2:55 PM - unbelievable. A Fiordifrutta rider pips a Kelly rider and a Konica (South African) rider. Curt Davis, Director of Fiordifrutta, will be very happy!

4:51 PM - So, after speaking with a few people, including Curt Davis, it appears that Peter Stetina (VMG/Felt) was away for the two KOMs, he had up to a 4 minute lead, and then got caught at 250 meters to go. Ouch. I mean, I can't relate to it, but ouch. Fiordifrutta had three guys in the last group, one that formed when four smaller groups merged on the fast run in to the finish.

Overall this means that it proves I can type without looking at the keyboard very much, and I can post when there is a decent signal, my information is so inaccurate (since race stuff is third most important - first is the police, second is race ops), it's probably not worth it to try to do it.

Plus one of the stages is going to be a lot worse than today's milk run.

Now for a refreshing shower, some dinner, and perhaps some laundry or something.


Anonymous said...

Versus TV recaps the race at 6:00pm.

Anonymous said...

Eric Schilge - FiordiFrutta 20yrs old

Aki said...

I don't have Versus, either in the hotel rooms or at home. My only recaps are on CyclingNews and VeloNews.

And believe it or not I don't know who won. I thought the guy's name was Jaime.

Aki said...

Looks like it was James Driscoll, "Jamie" to the team.

Unbelievably he had worked for his teammates prior to the finish - he went back to the car on the last descent and loaded up on bottles for him and his teammates. Then he proceeded to win the race. A home run for Fiorifrutta, whose sponsor Cannondale asked them to go do a factory tour with the team after the stage.

From Head to Toe said...


I'd love to see point of view photos from the PSP car your riding in.

Aki said...

I took a couple phone cam shots but I have no "good" camera (I forgot my new camera/camcorder in the missus's car at the race in New Britain Saturday). Nothing too spectacular, although I did get a nice shot of my daily "office". I'll be uploading pics and doing a "recap" once I'm back.