La Voix, Summer 2010

Page 1

La Voix

Summer 2010

A publication of Velo Club La Grange

Pro Racing in Our Backyard:

Tales from the 2010 Amgen Tour of California

Global Travels and Epic Journeys: Two wheels, gears and passion.

1// Racing 2// Community 3// Adventures 4// Lifestyle 5// Tactics

Raymond Fouquet, Founder Board of Directors Marco Fantone, President Jay Slater, Secretary Claude Innocenti, Treasurer Duncan Lemmon Stu Press Tom Byrnes Richard Kim Marc Thomas Dan Weinberg La Voix Editor: Seanne Biggs Design: Alex Amerri Summer, 2010 Contributors: Stu Press Amy Hutner Jay Slater Susan Gans Linda Seltzer Tom Hill Cover images: Italy and the Dolomites by Joe Pugliese,



Herbalife-La Grange Elite Men’s & Women’s Teams: A Mid-Season Report _ Stu Press & Amy Hutner Coming into the 2010 season the goal for our elite category 1 & 2 men’s and women’s teams was to maintain the level of both teams, which have established themselves among the top amateur cycling teams in the United States. While several key team members from previous years remained on the team, this year was particularly high in terms of turnover, which provided us the opportunity to bring in fresh faces to both teams. As part of our addition of new riders were several riders from UCLA’s cycling team, including Joe Patterson, Courtney O’Donnell and Sara Painter. Their addition has helped us to re-establish a link with a program that, like LaGrange, has helped to develop numerous professional cyclists over the years. Also returning to the women’s team after a few years of racing solo is former LaGrange racer, Cathy Keeley, who has

won numerous masters national track championships. The men’s team has also added a mix of heavy veteran talent and fresh young talent. Jason “JB” Bausch, who is one of the most experienced professional cyclists in the U.S., came out of retirement to ride with us, while Armin Rahm, who is a veteran trackie originally from Germany joins us with a focus on masters racing, and Mike Herdman, another ex-pro, comes back from several years out of racing. Our tradition of having talented young Mexican riders on the team continues with the addition of U.S. and Mexican National Junior Champion Freddy Cruz, the immensely talented climber Eder Frayre, and strong sprinter in Jose Blanco, who has previously raced for LaGrange as a junior. We also added a powerful sprinter and trackie from Las

Vegas in Danny Kam, who was once performed as a unicyclist for Circuq du Soleil. Returning to the team this year on the women’s side are captain Amy Hutner, Melinda Weiner, Morgan Kapp, Anna Drakulich and Erika Graves. Our leadership on the men’s side remains with long-time road captain Victor Ayala and myself as racer/director/manager returning along with Army veteran Jeremy Dixon. Long-time club members Mike Garrett and Matias Mendigochea, who are living out of the region, are also making appearances at selected races. As always, our we strive to develop the younger riders on our elite men’s and women’s teams into future professional and Olympic cyclists, which is why the club maintains its charitable organization status. While winning races and championships is the whole point of racing, our first priority is to develop racers who reflect well on both our sponsors and our general club membership. Both the men’s and women’s elite cat 1 & 2 teams have been targeting all of the SCNCA masters and elite road and criterium championships, as well as all of the National Racing Calendar (NRC) events in our region, including the Redlands

Classic Pro Stage Race, the Dana Point Grand Prix, and the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. These squads are also traveling to selected out-of-region NRC and national level events including Tulsa Tough, Tour of America’s Dairyland, Nature Valley Grand Prix, Superweek and Cascade Classic Stage Race. In the local SCNCA races our goal is to consistently place our men and women on the podium, and to win the overall elite team SoCalCup for the second year in a row, with help from our men’s elite cat 3 and 4 racers as well. When competing in national and NRC events we

hope to place our riders in the top 10, and to be major prognosticators of these races Thus far we have largely succeeded in our goals, with our highlights to date including podium placings at both the men’s and women’s elite SCNCA criterium and road race championships by Morgan Kapp, Courtney O’Donnell, Jason Bausch and Freddy Cruz.

Racers from the Men’s 4/5 Team eye the course ahead.

Men’s Cat 4/5 Team: Getting Results and Moving Up _ Joe Pugliese The 2010 race season has been and exciting and rewarding journey for the many La Grangers that make up the Men’s Cat 4 and 5 race teams. Starting with our winter training camp in Solvang last November, the team set out to experience racing the way it was meant to be, as a team event with everyone pitching in to help the team achieve better results.

Circuit Race and going on to be a force in road races as well, Jorge Palamara who upgraded to Cat 4 and soon got a top 5, and strong racers like Chad Tuttle and James Chao who have shown great skill and promise and represent the future of the Cat 4 squad. Bert Whitson is a brand new 5 and has already had a podium and two top ten finishes in three races.

We have had a slew of new strong racers, many starting in Cat 5 in January and quickly moving up to be competitive in Cat 4 right off the bat. Standouts have included Jeff Tuttle, winning at the LAX

Returning Cat 4s have had many strong finishes as well, including Skylar Nelson with great finishes at San Dimas Stage Race and Devil’s Punchbowl. Nick Gillock showed great form at the State Champ TT race

“With all of those results, the real highlight has been the camaraderie and teamwork that every racer has so willfully contributed to this season”

A post-race debriefing helps the team develop and build upon race experience.

and Luis Acosta has been one of the most consistent finishers on the team, racking up a 2nd place finish and a string of top tens. Another goal for the team was to build up the Cat 3 squad for La Grange, and to that effect we have already upgraded two of our Cat 4s on race points, Skylar Nelson and team captain Joe Pugliese. They will be joining existing Cat 3 members of La Grange and will look to pull more riders in from within the team structure to have a presence at all Southern California races this season and next.

With all of those results, the real highlight has been the camaraderie and teamwork that every racer has so willfully contributed to this season. With the depth of talent the team has now, look for more great results from the La Grange men’s Cat 3/4/5 squad in 2011!

“The physical shape they are in is remarkable and their competitive spirit is a match for any racer in the sport.”

La Grange sprinting for the win.

La Grange Conquers the Senior Games _ Jay Slater On June 8-9 the La Grange Grand Masters travelled to Long Beach for the Senior Games. The Senior Games give our Grand Masters a chance to race in age groups that are not available to them in traditional race formats.

The racers included; Sheridan Benston, Debbie Betts, Lou Bon, Tom Byrnes, David Cranston, Buddy Enright, Fred Haim, Duncan Lemmon, Trent McLean, Skip Nevell, Moshe Ovadya, Bob Rasner and John Velez.

A group of 13 racers lead by Bob Rasner competed this year. The results of all the tough training really paid off as every one of the 13 qualified for the national games in Houston, Texas. No other group even came close to the La Grange performance.

The races are set up in age groups from 50+ though 80+ in five year increments. There are two races each day including a 5K Time Trial and 40K Road Race on the first day and a 10K TT and 20K Road Race the second day.

La Grange racers earned 9 gold medals, 5 silver and 4 bronze. The gold medal winners were Sheridan Bentson, Tom Byrnes, David Cranston, Buddy Enright, Duncan Lemmon and John Velez. Just check out the form and strength of folks in their 70’s and 80’s. The dedication of these folks to their sport is so inspiring. The physical shape they are in is remarkable and their competitive spirit is a match for any racer in the sport.

Racing Against the Big Boys in the Tour of California ... (sort of) _ Stu Press As some of those on the club know, a few weeks ago four of our elite 1/2 men’s and women’s team members had the honor of racing on the Tour of California Stage 8 time trial in downtown L.A. in a special event just before the professional time trials. While the race, for us, didn’t count for anything, it was one of the most awesome experiences I have ever had on a bike.

Our title sponsor Herbalife is also one of the major sponsors of the Tour of California, and was the title sponsor of that particular stage. Michael Johnson, Herbalife CEO asked four of our riders to do the special event. At the time some of our top men’s time trialists were out of commission or at the Mexican National Championships, I was able to take one of the men’s slots. Courtney O’Donnell, Morgan

Kapp and Mike Herdman rounded out the rest of La Grange representation. As the pros normally get to do, we were able to ride a lap or two on the course to check it out and warm up before our start times. We did the exact same time trial, over two laps of a 16km course, including the same start-house, same announcer, and even motorcycle escorts. (International TV cov-

1. Courtney O’Donnell at the start house. 2. Stu Press on course.

erage and a team car with our name on the front was about all that was missing.) The route’s start house was next to Staples Center on Figueroa. The course ran straight down Figueroa, past USC, and then turned right onto Exposition, which had some particularly horrible pavement while they build the new rail line down the middle. The course then turned into Exposition Park, and ran around the main access road of the L.A.Colosseum before coming back out onto Exposition, and heading back up Figueroa. The course then worked its way over onto Olive for the more technical and hilly part of the

race. It went through downtown, and up the short steep hill at the end of Olive before turning down 1st St, where you get a huge run up of speed before zipping past City Hall, and then climb back up Temple. A left on Flower is then followed by a very quick, downhill left/right combination past the Disney Music Hall before descending down Olive at 40+ mph. You scream past the 1km to go banner, take a tight right onto 11th St, and come flying into the finish area in the shadow of Staples Center and AEG Live. To start the 2nd lap, we had to

make a very sharp U-turn to get back out onto Figueroa. While some of the 30 people doing the special event time trial had simply paid a lot of money, there were several Ironman world champions there as well, sent by their sponsors, including Chris Lieto, Chris “Macca” McCormak, and Chrissie Wellington. With the course already well packed to watch the pros, there were people everywhere cheering us on. The course was 100% shut down just for us to race on, and getting to do that in an area normally clogged with cars was just awesome. Scoping the course

The running Pickle chases down the lead group on the Rock Store Climb, Stage 8.

was a good idea as I was able to take several technical turns in my aerobars (turns that guys like Leipheimer take on their drops), and blast through some tight turns. As I expected, Macca, who started 2 minutes behind me, passed me about 1/3 of the way through, and posted the best time of the “civilians” at 46:15 (27.1 mph), well ahead of all the others. Mike Herdman rode quite well, with a 50:06 (25.5mph) for the 4th fastest time, while I was in a tight grouping just behind with a 50:26 (24.8mph) in 7th. Courtney was 10th and Morgan was 14th. For comparison, the current world champion, Fabian Cancellara, was about 7 minutes faster than I was, and that was still a minute off the winning time of the day. My time would have made the time cut, but was just slower than the slowest pro. The pros are the real deal, for sure!

I had ridden one of the best time trials I think I ever have, and had an awesome time doing it. This was an experience we will all remember.

“While the race, for us, didn’t count for anything, it was one of the most awesome experiences I have ever had on a bike.”

On the Road with the 2010 Amgen Tour of California _ Susan Gans This was my second time volunteering as a Traveling Course Marshal (TCM) for the ATOC. The first time was the inaugural ATOC in 2006. Much has changed since then, but it was and still is a blast to follow the Tour in this manner. Since I seem to get asked the same questions repeatedly, here they are along with my answers . . . .

WHAT DOES A TCM DO? We travel with the Tour for all of the stages, from city to city (unlike the LOC [ Local Organizing Committee] volunteers, who work on a single stage). Our primary function is to keep the riders on course (i.e., not make any wrong turns) and out of harm’s way. We are stationed at all turns, intersections, and areas where large crowds are anticipated, such as the KOMs. Each TCM will typi-

cally have 2 to 4 “drops” each day (a “drop” being the location on the course for which you are responsible). As soon as we get to our drop, we survey the situation, try to figure out the problems that might arise at the particular location (and how to solve them), and look for and remove debris from the roadway. A typical day starts with loading your luggage on the baggage vans at 5:45 AM (sometimes a little later) and

ends with arrival at your hotel around 5:30 PM - - a long but fun day! Each TCM is part of a team of 10 marshals. There are 8 teams, and each team is assigned to a van and has an experienced team captain and a designated driver and navigator (who is usually the captain). It is a serious job, and it is not for someone who is simply out to have a fun time watching the race. In fact, it’s pretty much forbidden to take photos, unless you happen to be stationed at a drop that isn’t very busy and isn’t at a turn. We usually work in tandem with local law enforcement and provide support, especially with calming down motorists who haven’t watched or read the news all week and are annoyed to find themselves stuck behind a barricade. As a secondary role, we are am-

bassadors of the ATOC, and I especially enjoy talking to the spectators, answering their questions, handing out whatever SWAG I’ve been able to collect, and pumping the crowd up to cheer for the racers - - especially the ones at the tail end who are fighting to catch up to the peloton. DO YOU GET TO MEET ANY OF THE RIDERS? It was much easier the first year of the ATOC, since we stayed at many of the same hotels as the teams. Now the ATOC is much larger, and there are 900 people who move from city to city, requiring 600 hotel rooms each night, utilizing 50 different hotels over the 8 stages. On the 2010 ATOC, the course marshals and other staff stayed in one group of hotels, and the AEG executives and teams stayed at other hotels. However, since we were at every start and finish, the odds

of meeting several of the racers during the week were substantially increased, depending on how lucky and aggressive you were. I was able to get autographs from Dave Zabriskie, Jens Voigt and Mark Cavendish (I was both lucky and aggressive!!). DO YOU GET ANYTHING FOR BEING A TCM? There is no compensation per se, although as the commercial says, the experience is priceless. The ATOC provides hotel accommodations (double occupancy [they assign you a roommate], mostly at very nice Best Western / Doubletree / Hampton Inn hotels), airfare, a stipend (on a gift/debit card) intended to cover meals and ancillary expenses, and your “uniform” (usually 4 or 5 ATOC t-shirts, an ATOC baseball cap, and a fleece jacket with the ATOC logo). We are asked to bring black or khaki shorts or

1. A Pickle and Banana offer support for a stuggling Garmin rider. 2. George Hincapie sporting the National Champion kit.

pants; blue jeans cannot be worn while “on the job.” WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT FROM THE 2010 ATOC? Meeting the oldest spectator I have ever come across during either Tour - - 104 year old Winifred and her daughter Deane, who were both very excited to experience their first bike race, just outside the small town of Exeter. Winnie is now blind, but she had her air horn all set to go as she heard the racers swoosh by. A close second would be working the turn in front of the Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A. during the time trial - - the complete incongruity of watching a world-class bicycle race at that very familiar location, while also being able to partake of the great snacks provided by Trek Travel at the tents they set up at that corner!

HOW DOES SOMEONE GET TO BE A TRAVELING COURSE MARSHAL? At this point, it’s pretty difficult. There were about 600 applications for the 80 spots this year, and almost everyone had been a TCM on a previous ATOC or on another stage race (either the Tour of Georgia or the Tour of Missouri) run by Medalist Sports (which oversees the race logistics). In fact, many of the TCMs had worked on all four previous ATOCs! I’m sure it helped me in 2006 that I had been in charge of all the course marshals for the club’s annual Grand Prix for several years. Indeed, some course marshaling experience is definitely going to give you “a leg up” if you want to apply to work on the 2011 ATOC -- so when that call goes out to volunteer for the Brentwood Grand Prix this year, PLEASE SIGN UP!



Quotes from the 2010 Amgen Tour of California

Marco Fantone: “Big Bear, Stage 7. Rode with group that included Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson. 108.1 miles, 6 hours 41 minutes, 12640 feet of climbing, 16.1 mph/avg, 7556 calories burned (Garmin’s enthusiastic numbers!)” “Just shout made climb

wanted to throw a big out to everyone who it out to the Rock Store today. It’s probably safe



1. Herbalife’s VIP Buffet , “The Penthouse above” 2. “The Apartment Below”, La Grange + LACBC BBQ 3. Marc Thomas working the grill 4. Costumes, Photographers and Racing. 5. LACBC Bike Valet kept watch over an elite stable of bikes. 6. Marco Fantone, Michael Johnson and company finish off an epic ride.


to say this was a day none of us will ever forget. From the amazing spread Herbalife provided us to the crazed atmosphere down at our second tent manned by Marc Thomas and the rest of the 3/4/5 crew, this was just plain awesome!” “I’ve never seen such a display of club enthusiasm and we easily had more of our members on the hill than just about all other clubs combined.”


Marc Thomas: “Great fun .... No contest “pickle guy” wins best costume!” Lee Ziff: “We have the classiest sponsor in bicycle racing. Michael Johnson created the best setup anyone could imagine for enjoying a pro road race. He got the best location on the course, set up an amazing buffet (sushi, fruits & pro road racing!), provided big screen TV’s, comfy

outdoor furniture and even air conditioned port-a-potties! “


An Interview with Michael Johnson, CEO of Herbalife _ Seanne Biggs Q. Everyone has a story, so... when or why did you start cycling? I started cycling because it was part of my ski team regimen in the 70s – coach had us ride bikes. I came to love cycling. Skiing and cycling are still two great favorites.

Q. We are so thankful for Herbalife’s commitment to cycling, and its sponsorship of Velo Club La Grange. How would you like to see cycling grow in our local communities? LA is the perfect place for practically year-round cycling but we’ve got a lot of work to do to make it bike-friendly in most places. We’re working with city officials downtown to make the area more attractive for cyclists. We need people city-wide to realize that cycling is good for their health, good for the environment, and good for this city. It’s also good business – as business leaders we need to encourage our employees to improve their health and I believe cycling is a great way to do it.

Q. Of course, we all have favorite rides around Los Angeles. What is yours? Latigo Canyon and Puerco Canyon are great rides with beautiful scenery. I do my best thinking on a bike. To quote Henry David Thoreau - Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.

Michael Johnson awarding the Green Jersey at the 2010 Amgen Tour of California.


Cycling, Charity, and a Lot of Fun! _ Linda Seltzer Rob has been doing charity bike rides for more than 10 years! He started with the CA AIDS ride in ’98 from San Francisco To LA, and got hooked. The Montana, Alaska and the European AIDS Vaccine rides followed. This cause took him to many fascinating places. The current ride with Charity Treks is 450 miles, from Burlington, VT to Portland Maine. Rob and I met through LaGrange on the very first Ojai Valley Century ride. I’ve been cycling for many years, and I’ve done many Century rides, I had never trained for something like this… I thought, great, a goal to train for, time to spend

with Rob, and cycling through some beautiful countryside where everything is green, and, oh, yeah, a great cause. This ride includes 3 Century rides in 4 days, what a challenge! Oh yeah and there’s humidity. The ride is absolutely beautiful It is truly a grass roots operation that doesn’t require tons of fundraising. There is no minimum required! Every bit appreciated for sure! I don’t know of any other event where 100% of everything raised goes directly to the charity. Half of the funds raised go to the UCLA AIDS Institute, and the other half to Emory, in

Atlanta. Rob and I were honored recently to present UCLA with a check for over $30,000. We are the only cyclists from the Los Angeles area that do this ride, and we’d love more company. Anyone interested? More information can be found at . What we love about the ride, aside from the beautiful cycling, is that it is a little bit like summer camp for adults. It feels like a family reunion for many, as so many get hooked, and make this trip part of their annual vacations. This will be


my 4th ride and Rob’s 7th with this organization. It is difficult to raise money in these tough economic times, and though we wanted to share a little bit about our experience, we sure would appreciate any donation possible. Donations can be made via:

“I don’t know of any other event where 100% of everything raised goes directly to the charity.”

1. The path around Lake Annecy, total serenity. 2. Medieval canals in Annecy 3. The Jura Mountain Range




Lake Annecy and the Col du Forclaz, France _ Jay Slater


I’m not sure this is my favorite ride I have ever done but it ranks very high on the list of most beautiful. Lake Annecy is just 35 miles from Geneva, Switzerland. It sits between two mountain ranges of the Alps. In the 2009 edition of the Tour de France, the loop around the lake was used for the ITT. What makes this ride so wonderful is that the government in this area has constructed a fabulous bike path that circles the lake. It is 45 km to complete the circuit if you just ride around the lake. As you can see in the pictures I took as I rode

the scenery is magnificent. Most of the ride is flat with the exception of one climb on the far side of the lake where you are off the bike path but in a really nice bike lane. The folks where I rented my bike suggested I do a little climb called Col du Forclaz. It is a two mile plus climb at about 6-8% and there are some really pretty views at the top. I ended up missing a turn to head back around the far side of the lake and by the time I realized I had gone too far on the bike path I turned the ride into about 60km including going most of the way up the Col.

“It was just a beautiful day and one I won’t soon forget.”

1. Tom Hill tackles the Tourmalet. 2. The Devil says hello. 3. At the top of the Tourmalet. 4. The circus of sponsors features a giant Maillot Jaune cyclist.

Inside the Tour de France: Etapes, Devils, and Riders


_ Tom Hill

We arrived to our hotel in Bagneres-de-Luchon just 10 minutes before the finish of Stage 15. Our selected route had been closed down for the Tour to come through so we took a longer route to arrive. Luchon is a very small town built into the mountainside of the Pyrenees and just 10 kilometers to the boarder of Spain. Our hotel, the Majestic, was just one block from the finish line and we had a great view of all the activities from our top floor room. I ran down to see the finish and watched as Contador became the new leader of the race and take the yellow jersey from Andy Schleck. The fans

were not happy as they booed Contador as he raised his arms in glory after attacking Schleck after he dropped his chain on the final climb of the day. Many looked down upon this move as poor sportsmanship.

was the gearing he was putting on the bikes. They were all to be equipped with a cassette of 11-28 since they would be climbing all four of the most famous passes in the Pyrenees tomorrow.

Two of the pro teams were staying in our hotel, Caisse D’ Epargne and Team Milram. The fans gathered around waiting for the riders to finish dinner and get autographs. Many people were taking photos of the riders and watching as the mechanics worked late into the evening preparing the bikes for Stage 16. I spoke to one of the German mechanics for Team Milram and asked him what

The following day we awoke early. Today was a special day, Andrea and I were to be VIP guests of LCL Bank, the main sponsor of the Tour. As we walked to the central village we passed many floats all in line set up for the parade through town. The crowds were forming throughout the town and the riders were warming up getting ready for the start of the race. We received our VIP passes and



entered the gated area where all the sponsors were located. There were lots of activities, food and entertainment before the race began. As we entered the LCL tent there were many people taking pictures and having their picture taken with Raymond Poulidor. He is a cycling legend in France and the most celebrated ex-pro from the country. Next we were introduced to Maurice Le Guilloux. Maurice is another ex-pro, tour rider and was teammates of Poulidor. He was to be our driver for the day in a lead car, a position he has held for the past 20 years driving VIP clients on a thrilling

ride through the mountains. There are only 15 cars that are allowed to be lead vehicles of the Tour, each car is numbered and has the drivers name painted on the drivers side panel. We were car number 13. As we approached our car Maurice told us who each person was in each car, car number 5 was that of Bernard Hinault. He was standing next to his car waiting to go. We were introduced to the Mayor of Luchon and then entered the car for a life changing experience, one that I will never forget! Maurice put himself in the last possible position in the caravan of lead cars which


made for excellent viewing of the racers as they headed up the climbs. The only thing separating us from the leaders of the race were 8 to 10 motorcycles consisting of police and Tour photographers and live filming. A break away formed on the first climb of 9 riders including two Radio Shack riders, Lance Armstrong and Chris Horner. It would be a long day and an early break would probably not stay away, though on the race radio the constant updates went from two minutes, to three minutes and continued to build. At one point the break had a lead of nine in a half


minutes with only two climbs left, Col d’ Soulor and Col d’ Aubisque. At this point it appeared the breakaway may hold off the peloton which rarely happens. As we approached the one kilometer to the summit mark of the Peyresourde, the first climb of the day Maurice started driving really fast. He said we must get ahead so that the riders do not catch us on the descent. The horn was honking and spectators jumped back to avoid being hit by our car as we rounded the summit. I wish I could have filmed the crowds from the car, it looked

like a Martdi Gras parade of costumes. The speed at which we descended was the most frightening experiences of my life. My palms were sweating and I honestly thought we were going to slide off the road and drop off a cliff. Spectators would jump as we slide around the turns at breakneck speeds. We did stay ahead of the riders until the bottom of the mountain, but not by much. I was not mentally prepared to descend three more mountain passes at that high speed again. I now understand why Phil Leggett says he counts down the days until the mountain stages are over because he is scared to be

in the cars as they descend the mountain passes, either chasing down the racers or trying to stay ahead of them. Maurice does not speak English, so I am trying to have Andrea explain to him in French that I can not handle this speed on the descent. Narrow roads without guardrails is really not my idea of fun at high speeds. Maurice proudly tells Andrea that every year there is usually one person who asks to get out of the car and somehow finds another way back. The second descend down the Col d’ Aspin was the same story another high speed descent.

1. Yes, Lance Armstrong on a an extended break. 2. Andrea and Tom prepare to board a helicopter for a ride over the Tourmalet.


Maurice told Andrea he had an appointment and we could not be late. We came to watch the race. What kind of appointment could he have? An appointment with death I thought to myself. Sure enough he did have an appointment, as we reached the bottom of the pass we pulled over and he pointed to five helicopters in a big hillside meadow. He told us that we would now be flying by helicopter over the Tourmalet and he would meet us on the other side. What an amazing experience viewing the Tour hovering over the pack as they ascend-

“The only thing separating us from the leaders of the race were 8 to 10 motorcycles consisting of police and Tour photographers and live filming.�

1. Tom getting ready to leave Luchon at the start of a stage. 2. Contador, Menchov, Sanchez and company descent the Col d’Aspin.

ed the east side of the famous Tourmalet. The Tour only allows five official helicopters in the sky to follow the race so this was a very special unexpected treat. As we descended the west side of the Tourmalet I was able to appreciate the beauty of the mountain and difficulty of the climb I had suffered up in L’Etape just two days prior. We landed in another huge meadow at the base of the Tourmalet and continued our car ride to a viewing point and gourmet lunch to watch the racers go by.

After lunch we drove past the riders and next to the lead break with Armstrong and Horner. I would never have a chance to see this again and Lance was giving it his all out effort knowing it was his last Tour. The lead of nine minutes had begun to shrink, but not by much. With 30 kilometers to go we raced away to the finish in Pau. Upon our arrival We were given a Champagne reception on the third floor of an eighteen wheeler truck that turns into a viewing stand as we watched the lead break hold off the pack and finish six in a half minutes ahead.

Prior to entering a tour bus for a return ride back to Luchon we were given a beautiful tote bag full of goodies including a stylish watch, pen set and many other gifts. Our next destination was Paris for the final stage finish. Once again as VIP guests we enjoyed front row seats on the finish line. When I thought it could not get any better our host informed us we were taking another ride in a lead car down the Champs Elysses. We experienced one lap around the final course that the riders completed eight laps on. The spectators were four to six rows deep all around the course trying to get


a view of the race and hopefully a picture or two. After watching Cavendish-the Torpedo launch himself to another victory it was a great ending to an exciting Tour. We were then invited to the Presidents Party where more Champagne and food was served, then more gifts before we headed back to our hotel. Seeing the Tour from this vantage point was an amazing experience I will never forget and fond memories I will always cherish. Until next year, VIVE LE TOUR! 2


Never Too Many Bikes: A Sampling of Storage Methods from Velo ClubLa Grange _Seanne Biggs






1. Dave Leieberman 2. Marco Fantone 3. Neil Leventhal 4,5. Mimi Sheean

5// TACTICS Got a question about riding in LA County, style, gear, training, recovery from injury or any related subject to cycling? Drop a line to Velo Club La Grange’s elusive guru of all that is in motion at Please include as much information about yourself as possible, including your age, sex, and type of riding or racing, as applicable to your question.

“I want my carbon road bike to be as light as possible, and was wondering what color paint would be the lightest? HELP!” -WWW

Dear WWW, A wise man once said, the best presence is the absence of a presence. If you can wrap your head around that, I owe you a beer. Truly, if you want your carbon road bike to be as light as possible you may want to consider going with no paint at all, but in fact just the raw carbon embedded resin. Now, you will definitely need a top coat that protects those carbon fibers from UV rays, so there is a necessary layer of lacquer/polyurethane that will need to be present. Glossy coatings tend to be marginally heavier than matte variations, although they take less maintenance and loving care. When you sleep with your frame at night, be sure to only use satin sheets, as they are less abrasive than cotton. If you really must use paint, do so sparingly. Keep in mind that white paint tends to be heavier than any other color of paint -

Dear Unattached Rider, Can you recommend a ride to take my guests from out-of-town on? I’ve got the following folks heading my way, and I want to take them for a ride they would enjoy: my cousins with little kids, my 12 year old nephew, some nice normal people from the Midwest (notrelated, unfortunately), and a crotchety old grumpster who thinks nothing is fun? Regretting that extended invitation, A. Normale

and a typical road frame will be 100g heavier in white than bare. Finally, if your size 53 frame weighs more than 800g, it’s too heavy and you will never be able to climb to the street you live on.

Dear Normal Person, Sure thing. I’m guessing that your out of town guests are visiting you for the weather, which must mean you live in either hell or Southern California. What’s the difference, really?

Lighten up, -Unattached Rider

A. For your cousins with little kids, I would recommend picking up a few rental bikes with trailers and going for a nice ride along the beach path. Every time the kids ask to go play in the water, remind them of the Toxic Avenger. Afterwards, you can help encourage the kids to pursue a dream of working on the Sea Shepherd or for Greenpeace. B. Your 12 year old nephew is probably hitting puberty right about now, or possibly already more sexually experienced than you would imagine. Kids these days, eh? For him, I’d recommend a short ride on

the Sunset strip on a Saturday night and Sunday morning, around 1:30am. Having scarred him for life, you can then be sure that he will do all he can to succeed in his studies in order to avoid a lifestyle of stupidity, shallow beauty and empty relationships. C. Your nice normal people from the Midwest should go for a ride in the Sierras. Markleeville is an excellent starting point for numerous rides where you can help your Midwest friends learn what trees are, what bears, deer, and mountain lions look like, and what it feels like to climb a real mountain. Should they complain that they are running a standard double with an 11-21 cassette, tell them to stop thinking they’re pros. Afterwards, you can buy them some locally brewed beer and scour the local real estate adverts for houses together because who would want to go

“What’s it going to take to inspire people to start riding a bike who haven’t biked for a long time?” Cheers, Ron

back to the Midwest after seeing California? D. Your Crotchety Old Grumpster will truly know what fun is when you send him down Tuna Canyon on a track pursuit frame with no brakes and handlebars chopped to a width of seven inches. Tell him the local kids do it all the time, only in tight jeans and with frames that are too large for them. Accidentally leave the helmet at home and bring a camera. Just think of the years worth of slideshows you can share with the family! You can thank me later, -Unattached Rider

Dear R to the M, Probably a good look in the mirror. Now, before we go into a hand-holding séance into invoking the long lost Michael Jackson of 1988, let’s think about what this means. Looking in the mirror is more than just admiring your own ego (or, in my case, crying myself into a fetal position) - looking in the mirror is a metaphorical one. It’s more than just realizing that the people riding bikes tend to be in far better health than those who don’t. It’s more than just seeing people on bikes smiling, interacting with their neighbors, virtually eating whatever they want, having rock-star like parking wherever they go, going on group dates or social events without logistic issues of getting around, looking sexy, laughing at everyone stuck in traffic, feeling better about life, having more energy and stamina, being better lov-

ers, and finding a better connection with humanity. Those are given. It’s the more subtle things that may need to be highlighted in order to inspire someone to ride their bike: the actual motion of your body, moving you forward with each pedal stroke is a grossly underestimated source of serotonin release for your brain. With that, I offer to methods to inspire someone to get back on their bicycle. If the conversation comes up and someone says to you “Yeah, I used to ride as a kid, but you know I really can’t now, with work n’all” you can reply with: a) “So you’re saying that sitting on your ass all day, at work, in traffic and in front of a screen is a great way to get in shape, get to know your community, reduce your carbon footprint, reduce our dependency on oil and subsequent warfare, feel energized and positive,

and feel like you’ve accomplished something great everyday?” b) Start singing the lyrics of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” while riding circles around this person, smiling. Good Luck, -Unattached Rider

A new public space coming to Los Angeles Save the date. 10/10/10