My New Favorite Saying
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SCWVA
April 21, 2006
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
Quote:

"Welcome to the mountains - Yeeha."




Taken from Cyclingnews.com's live coverage of the Tour De Georgia as the peloton went by some guys holding a sign in the back of a pickup truck.
SCWVA
April 25, 2006
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
Did anyone else out there follow this race? The last climb during 5th stage climbs a mountain called Brasstown Bald Mountain. The stage profile says they climb a little over 2,700' vertical feet. The write up says that the peak of this mountain is over 4,700'. With that kind of elevation, they must get some snow there during the winter. Does anyone know if there is a ski area anywhere close to this mountain? During last years race, it was snowing on the final climb. Wonder what kind of snowfall totals they get that far south.

Maybe they have some BC skiing down there also.
Murphy
April 25, 2006
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
Quote:

The write up says that the peak of this mountain is over 4,700'. With that kind of elevation, they must get some snow there during the winter. Does anyone know if there is a ski area anywhere close to this mountain? During last years race, it was snowing on the final climb. Wonder what kind of snowfall totals they get that far south.

Maybe they have some BC skiing down there also.




I think Sky Valley is in that area although I'm not sure if they are still in business. Some of the resorts in southern NC aren't too far away either. Cataloochee (sp?) is one and they had one of the longest ski season's in the MA this past year.
KevR
April 25, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
I followed it... no idea on the skiing.

There's a wonderful pic in this month's issue of Procycling of some training ride in the Alps, and ski run clearly in the background. Nowhere near Brasstown Bald unfortunately!

Go Floyd Landis!

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JimK - DCSki Columnist
April 25, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,696 posts
Quote:

Did anyone else out there follow this race? The last climb during 5th stage climbs a mountain called Brasstown Bald Mountain. The stage profile says they climb a little over 2,700' vertical feet. The write up says that the peak of this mountain is over 4,700'. With that kind of elevation, they must get some snow there during the winter. Does anyone know if there is a ski area anywhere close to this mountain? During last years race, it was snowing on the final climb. Wonder what kind of snowfall totals they get that far south.

Maybe they have some BC skiing down there also.




You got the elevation correct on Brasstown Bald. It's the highest mtn in GA and not far from many 5000 and 6000 footers in the Great Smokey Mtns of NC. Sapphire Valley and Cataloochee ski areas in NC look to be about the closest to Brasstown Bald, about 25 and 50 miles away, respectively. Here's a rough map of area, Brasstown is a little to the left of #4 Sapphire Valley:
http://www.ski-guide.com/statemap.cfm/nc.htm
Here's a little info on Brasstown Bald and surrounding area: http://roadsidegeorgia.com/site/brasstown_bald.html
A number of major mtns down there (also Mt. Washington NH) have roads right to the summit, with rest stops or even restaurants on top. Not exactly conveying a feeling of natural wilderness, but handy for tourism.
tgd
April 26, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Great race. I'd like to go down and check it out in person - maybe next year? Brasstown Bald - an American L'Alpe Duez? Floyd's looking awful strong this year. Early though? No glory in being Mr April when the prize is in July. Also, though I can't stand his Jolly Green Giant kit - gotta dig the big sunglasses and the scruffy goat.
http://floydlandis.com/gallery/album02/ABC_0087?full=1
KevR
April 28, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
I dunno, but Chris Horner is doing good in the Tour de Romandi -- http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2006/apr06/romandie06/?id=/features/2006/romandie_horner

They SKI in Switerszerland don't they? I bet there's some tie into skiing on this topic somehow! :0)
SCWVA
May 8, 2006
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
tgd,

Floyd Landis is from PA. He use to race the PA & WV Mtn. Biking race series before turning to road racing. The guy loves the mountains. Maybe Floyd should train for Le Tour in the WV Alps.
KevR
May 9, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
There was a long article on him in this months Procycling. He's also the son of a mennonites and had an interesting childhood growing up, and getting into riding.

He looks good this year -- better than ever, no idea if he could really win the tour but he should certainly be up there with the others -- Basso, Ullrich, etc...

The Giro is on now -- they have an interesting mountain top finish on stage 17 to a ski station in the Alps I think. The last several Ks are on dirt/gravel with high grades!

The name of the SKI AREA is -- Plan de Corones -- anyone ever skied it?

The stage profile is here for those that have interest -- http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2006//giro06/?id=stages/giro0617

It's stage 4 today, so a ways to go until they hit this monster!

Floyd isn't in this race but another up & coming American of note -- Tom Danielson, lives in Colorado -- Boulder I think.
tgd
May 9, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Danielson holds the record for the Mount Washington Hill Climb - 49:24 minutes over 7.6 miles - a blistering 9.2 mph pace. Steep? 12% average grade with 22% kick just before the finish line. They actually keep a list of vehicles that are not permitted on the Mt Washington Auto Road because the cars don't have enough power to make it up the steep pitches! Danielson, Landis, Leipheimer, Horner, Hincapie, Julich - lots a great American cyclists still burning up the roads in Europe. I like Landis in the Tour (but not as much as Basso).
KevR
May 11, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
I kinda favor Ullrich because he's a better time-trialist, and the tour is often won by the great TTer and only GOOD climber.

Basso *seems* to be a better climber than TTer and I think may find it hard to make up the the time if the gaps are high enough in the TTs.

But, you never know really and its something of a wide open field this year. Floyd should do well, and perhaps he has the right combination -- he's never been in the top-top league of mountain finishers - but then he was usually working for someone else. His time trialing seems to be making some dramatic improvements!

Last year he had some good climbs but never was in the front group by the very top at the end in a mountain-top finish stage -- at least I don't think so.

BUT one can chalk that up a bit to experience perhaps, as a fresh team leader -- a new position to be in.

Ullrich of course has never been truly inspirational in the mountains but even though people get gaps on him, he seems to manage the damage to less than a minute, even down to 10s of seconds. Of course there have been some bad days.

If given the two individual time trials in the tour, Ullrich could be taking 1+ to 2+ minutes out of his closest rivals -- why then that's just going to be truly hard to make up in the mountains for most of those in for the overall. So Basso must get closer in the TTs to his rivals.

Not that it can't be done of course. Ullrich lost to Pantani -- a true mountain goat if ever there was one, due to a bad day in the mountains in the YEAR BEFORE Lance started his Tour trounces... BUT I think he was vastly overconfident that year & didn't train well.

He's had to live with 2nd, 3rd and even off the podium during Lance's reign -- He's probably near the end of his career -- he's got nothing to lose except to give more than his all, which in the last 7 yrs he's always come up just shy of.
tgd
May 11, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
KevR: I have to agree with you regarding the Jan. His TT skills are unmatched (particularly since Armstrong retired), but frankly his climbing is only average. In the mountains he will lose 30-50 seconds or more per stage (only for the mountaintop finishes though). What is astonishing is how poor his form is this Spring. Granted he is targetting his peak condition for July, but he is sucking hind t*t to the likes of plenty of unknowns in the Giro now and came close to dead last in Romandie 2 weeks ago. He has a long way to go to be ready for the tour.

My take on Jan Ullirch is that he just doesn't have the killer instinct and motivation to get the job done in July. He is the man who always has an excuse for not winning. True champions always find a way to win - regardless of adversity. In 2003 Lance won the tour by under a minute - he put the decisive move on in a mountain stage where he crashed, broke the frame on his bike, and still managed to put serious time into Ullrich on the finish. In other sports, I remember Aryton Senna, the great F1 driver finding a way to win races with MacLaren against a clearly superior Williams car. I saw Michael Schumacher lap the field in a car stuck in 2nd gear!

I just don't see Ullrich pulling it off this year. He will find some excuse for sub par performance early in the race and rest on that to rationalize another 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place finish in the tour. His team will fall apart after wasting an entire season to focus on the Tour, only to have Jan come in unprepared. Could be different this year - I just don't think so.
SCWVA
May 12, 2006
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
tgd & KevR,

Do you know who Andy Hampsten is? He won the Giro in 88. This is one of my favorite pictures:

http://store.velogear.com/anhagapapo.html

Click on the picture. No Goretex for Andy. Just some goggles and some biking shorts.

BTW - Jan is way too fat to do well in Le Tour. He spends his off season in the discos sucking down beers and chasing leg, when he should be on his bike training.
tgd
May 12, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
SCWVA: I have heard of Andy's ride through the blizzard to win the Giro that year - he is the first and only American to win the Giro. I read a book by Greg LeMond, where he noted how Andy had trained through similar conditions that year in the Rockies - training which gave him the edge to win the Giro. I'd like to find a tape of that stage just to check it out. Totally unreal riding through a blizzard in the Alps (or Dolomites?) on 2 skinny treadless tires.
KevR
May 12, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
I know of Andy Hampsten - i was just BARELY following the sport while he still racing professionally. His GIRO ride is famous, another perhaps somewhat similar exploit is the famous Liege Baston Liege ride of Bernard Hinault, in sub-freezing snowy conditions..

Anyway -- Ullrich! Yes, perhaps you are correct. I just think every year everyone has said he's far too out of shape to be ready for the tour, he's turned out to be pretty danged ready each year. I admit that in general he seems to get better as the tour goes on, so that in fact he's not really really where he should be...
BUT he's the best of the rest in terms of time trialing, I think in fact he did win a time trial or two during lance's reign in the tour, and he did beat 'ole lance AFTER the tour was over a few times in some races...
Still we have some new talent coming thru and Jan is nearly of the 'older' generation -- perhaps he will miss it entirely and retire with his one tour win.

BTW here's an almost interesting story related to Andy Hampsten -- I was sent to Paris for work a few years back. I took the train from Charles De Gaulle into the city, I had no idea what I was doing.

I jumped on the train as it was leaving the station - following some couple who were running for it. (it seemd the right thing to do)

We sat down across from each other, and they were Americans...

Somehow the topic of cycling came up -- they said "oh we are great fans, have you ever heard of Andy Hampsten? We used to 'keep' him at our place when he was a junior when he came thru for 'such and such' race..."

Ok -- so not that interesting but sort of!

comprex
May 12, 2006
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
I like Bob Roll's telling of the story, esp. when he stops and tries to run uphill on the descent trying to stay warm, then gets knocked to his senses by almost being T-boned.
tgd
May 16, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Check out these photos on Velonews of the mountaintop "road" for Stage 17 of the Giro.

http://www.velonews.com/race/int/articles/9884.0.html

Whoooa! That is going to be some death race up to the finish. Jan's going to need to pack a couple extra doughnuts to make it over the top of that climb. Maybe they should switch to mountain bikes for the last couple miles?
KevR
May 17, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
They semi-pave it with a soft aggregate -- 3% cement or something like that (check out cyclingnews and procycling websites, both have more info)

They had a similar stage last year in the Giro and no one seemed to have any problems on the road bikes...

Just have to have the right gears on back -- that is they had normal going up steep hill problem but did not have to resort to running...

Of course in the older days of the sport, few of the high mountain roads were paved -- the old race pics show people trundling up little more than rutted paths covered in mud!

Fascinating stuff!

TIE in to skiing -- notice the LIFT in the background of some shots?
tgd
May 17, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
I remember following last year's stage with the climb over the Finestre. What a classic. Simoni and DiLuca hammering away off the front while Salvodelli riding within himself to limit his losses and keep his overall lead. A classic case of a true champion not panicking when under extreme pressure.
KevR
May 17, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
I followed it online, never have seen the vid of it - dang it. A true classic showdown I'd say... I think in fact Salvo lost the jersey on the road briefly.

anyway -- this year, who knows. I read that he feels his strengths come through on the truly long distance days in the mountains. He isn't a great climber but has on balance great stamina - at least according to him. Well we shall see.

I know in the Tour, the typical winners of the Giro are often left in the dust on the big climbs. I think, well my personal theory is, that they are big fish in their Giro sized pond but perhaps slightly second fiddle to the Tour contenders.

So, by that reasoning, a Basso should be the better of them -- but can he go the distance?

The longest stages in the high mountains this year in the Giro are: stage 13 (216k), stage 14 (224k), stage 19 (220k), and stage 20 (212k) ... roughly 100k = 65 miles.

So that's just brutal in my book, not only do have the relatively short/steep/muddy climb on 17 ... But they have these monsters to go through as well.

Can Basso hang on through that? Let's say he outclimbs on several, can he hold the reigns till the end, or will he crack spectacularly near the end?

Also, on Saturday there's the 50k time-trial... who's the better time trialist among the favorites?

I think Ullrich will make something of a showing here, he's just in the whole thing not so much to race but to train. Still its nice to show good form when you can. He won't do that in the mountains! But he's not going to win this thing, that's not even on the plate.

So who is it? Basso or Salvodelli? I don't think we can expect a huge amount out of Simoni in the TT, and I don't know much about Cunego as far TTs go, or DiLuca.
tgd
May 17, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
I like Basso. He's a real monster out there. Strong on the climbs (really the only guy who could stay with Armstrong in the mountains during the Tour) and much improved in the TT this year. He also has the best team CSC working for him.

Simoni will try to play the role of spoiler and will go on the attack to try and blow up the race once they get to the big climbs during the last week. Cunega could take it if Basso crashes or gets sick like last year. I also think Salvodelli will make the podium, and could position himself to win if Basso falters.

In the past the Giro riders really didn't make a big splash come tour time. I think the Pro Tour may be changing that though. Last year's Giro was much faster and more competitive than in previous years simply because the calibre of the teams was much higher due to the mandatory participation of 20 some Pro Tour teams.

As for the Jan, I would expect that he has to make a good show in the time trial. He says he will take it easy during the mountain stages to avoid going into the red zone. I think that may be a big mistake. The tour is only 6 weeks away. If Jan does not try to race in the mountains of the Giro, and test himself against the accelerations and attacks on the steep climbs - he will not be prepared come tour time to stay in the front group and limit his losses in the mountain stages. There are 3 mountain top finishes during this year's tour. Look for Basso, Vinoukorev, and Landis to try and stick it to Jan on these stages. The TTs will favor Jan, but if he gets soundly whipped in the Alps he will lose heart and be content to race for another 2nd place. Well, that's my opinion, and I'm sticking with it (for now).
KevR
May 18, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
My feeling is Basso can't "double peak" for the Giro and Tour -- its one or the other. You may be on to something on Der Kaiser -- although he's just wooped up on the TT, with Basso putting in a really good result too -- that maybe he should go on the hunt in the mountains. Perhaps that would be something he's been missing -- you know he's more old school. he has the idea that you win the TTs and defend in the mountains. Lance didn't really go that route, he mostly won all the TTs and ate people for breakfast on at least one big mountain stage! That's not the way Indurain won his five TdFs!
As for the GIRO -- Basso is firmly in control, but there's a lot of brutal climbing left. He's certainly the fastest climber this year in Giro, or at least that's what been shown so far -- but does he have the strength to hold this till the end?
I'm hoping for a little more fireworks myself ... the one problem with the tours, is sometimes the results seem to be known too soon...
Here let me ask you a theoricaly question -- if Ullrich and Basso showed up at one of the Spring Classics (roubaix?) -- which one would you pick as the favorite among them? I mean showed up stating they wanted win?
tgd
May 18, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
First - Jan did kick some booty today. I was surprised how much he outclassed the field given how he is still "getting in shape" for the Tour. I hold though that to be a complete cyclist, you have to work on your weak spots - and Jan is weak in the mountains (something everyone knows). He doesn't seem too interested in improving over his status quo climbing performance from the last several Tours.

Those Giro mountain stages next week are going to be great. Too bad OLN no longer has live coverage and they'll terminate me at work if I get caught streaming live video from cycling.tv to my desktop! Just have to be content with following the live text narrative on the web.

Your question regarding the classics is a good one. I think Jan (provided he focused on a race like Roubaix) would have the edge over Basso. Did you see the tour stage a couple years ago that went over the cobbles in Belgium? Jan was right up front with Armstrong and the strongmen from Discovery (or were they Postal then?) - Hincapie and Ekimov. Seems to me that the classics favor the big strong guys like Ulrich over Basso. However, Basso's team CSC is one of the best classics teams right now. T-mobile these days seems to be content with focusing the Tour and just showing up at the remaining races. I still think Jan could be a great classics rider.

I agree, double peaking for the Giro and Tour seems impossible these days. Pantani was the last guy to win both in the same year - and I think he probably had a little of something else to help him along the way. I think the competition in the Tour is a lot stronger now too. But Basso was super strong last year for the Giro (before he got sick) and second to Armstrong in the Tour - so I think he is confident he has a shot. Seems a little greedy though if you ask me, and he may be overreaching. I'm sure if he does win the Giro, then he will be a marked man in the Tour. That would definately play to Ulrich's advantage.
KevR
May 19, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
I was most impressed with Basso -- that's a good to nearly great ride for the lad -- 20 seconds off of Ullrich, with a course more suited to the power rider, which I think Ullrich falls into.

Well for Ullrich to win the Tour he's going to need a bigger gap than that on the TWO time trials in this years race.

Also there are no TTTs this year, that probably slightly favors Ullrich.

BUT the mountains do not -- so if Ullrich is going to win, he's going to need several minutes total in the TTs, and then hold his own in the mountains, lossing 10s of seconds, not minutes on the bigger mountain top finishes.

Is it possible?

It is. But Basso too has his work cut out for him to do both a great Giro and Tour...

The rest are mostly unknown quanties -- even our buddy Floyd Landis. Be great to see him stomp it up, but he's coming in from relatively obscurity, at least in my opinion!

David Zabriskie, Rasmussen, Mancebo, the list goes on...
tgd
May 21, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
I agree. This Tour is wide open. Should be great. Basso and Ullrich are the frontrunners (Basso stomped everyone again on the first real mountain stage yesterday). But there are wildcards as you mention - plus Valverde, Leipheimer. I think there are a number of "contenders" who's only chance to put time into anyone will be in the mountains. Also, I believe they are racing one less mountain stage this year (only 2 days in the Pyrennees). My guess is that mountain goats like Valverde, Rasmussen, and Mancebo will be super agressive. Basso will also be agressive. So I expect Jan and Floyd will have to have their game on to avoid losing big time in the Alps. Two TTs might not be enough to offset a couple beatings on the slopes.

Tom
KevR
May 22, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
man, i'd love to see landis up there with them!

go floyd!

hmm -- he must be taking the more traditional (recent) spool up to the tour...

A quick search of the web yielded nothing... dang it
tgd
May 22, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
two epic days coming up in the Alps. BTW, Velonews has updated shots of the "ski slope" road in Wednesday's stage - looks pretty well paved now - shucks...

Speaking of disappearing acts - I have not heard anything of Levi Leipheimer since the Tour de California.
KevR
May 23, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Simoni, Simoni, Simoni!

Maybe Simoni will make this a bit of a race, instead of a romp...

Well, two "short" days in the dolomites, one more to go -- then a bit of respite until the what seems like on paper to be -- the TRULY challenging mountain stages as we head into tail of race.

Perhaps its not over, and stamina will fall on someone else's shoulders, shifting away from pure athleticism.

It could happen!

BTW if Basso is not more or less at his true peak, he will crush in the Tour, just walk away with it. I think in fact he is and will be down a bit farther in the tour in terms of overall performance.

I could be wrong of course!
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