Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cascade Memories

The Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Oregon ended on July 13, but I've been promising a little recap, so here it finally is. Since you can read all my daily articles on (see links in righthand column under "My Work for"), I thought I'd just post some of my pics. The best pics here were taken by my "host mom," Paige, as she's quite the photog -- I'll give her credit, but you'll know them when you see them!

I rode all week with Chuck in the media car -- he is the CCC media relations director, drove last year, too, and is a super guy. This was just one of the amazing views during the week, and is kind of the trademark view that people think of when they think of CCC, I think. The blurry cyclists are a break in the men's race on the first day.And this is Mark Schwab (pony tail and Excel kit)! If you've been an avid reader of my blog, you'll remember him from my MS Global entries, as he's one of the ride leaders and a friend from Boulder. It was fun visiting with him at the race, and he gave Levi, Chris, Tom, and Santiago a run for their money all week.
Aaron's Kristin Sanders won her first NRC race when she won the second stage. She was rightfully ecstatic, and even better ... podium winners received microbrew each day!
I stayed with the same great folks who hosted me last year -- Paige, Erich, Kendall, and Grant -- and they also hosted the ValueAct Capital women (the rockin' team I stayed with at Redlands -- they may think I'm stalking them!). Teams basically take over the kitchens of their host houses and this is just one view of all the healthy food that was sitting around all week.
And this is a typical host house morning scene ... VAC's Sharon Allpress and Emily Zell at the kitchen counter on their laptops, while Kendall and Paige have some breakfast in the background.
Paige snapped this shot of me chatting with the VAC gals at their warm-up area prior to the time trial.
Paige also got this shot of Sharon out on the TT course -- beautiful, aye?
The Downtown Crit is a fave of the locals, and the streets are three- and four-deep with excited fans each year. Kristin Armstrong -- who's in Beijing readying to go for gold! -- rode the front of the peloton much of the night since she was in yellow, and here she's followed closely by Felicia Gomez of Aaron's, as well as the women of Webcor and VAC. Another of Paige's shots.
And Paige also captured this shot of Astana's Chris Horner out front in the men's crit, protecting the body and lead of teammate Levi Leipheimer. It can't be said enough ... they should have been at the Tour!
The men's crit podium from a unique angle ... yah, like you wouldn't have snapped it had you had the chance!
Levi moved into yellow after the time trial, and first donned the jersey after the crit that night.
The last morning, Erich made his famous waffles for the VAC women. He first made them for Martina Patella when she stayed at their house two years ago -- she was on another team at the time -- and so now he is happily obligated.
And Martina was happily digging in while Sharon looked on.
Paige got this shot of the final morning, too.
This is Garmin-Chipotle's Tom Danielson and 18-year-old filmmaker, Evan Schmitt, prior to the final stage. Evan rode in the media car with us a few days, as he was filming for a new documentary he's doing. He's from the little Washington town where "Northern Exposure" was filmed, and his company is called "Dirty Moose Productions." You can find his website here, and you'll see that he's already produced some great cycling films. His big bro is on Bissell.
Levi hails from Montana, though he lives in Santa Rosa, Cali, now, and he obviously had some fans along the route.
Remember the overzealous Speedo-clad fan I put in an earlier posting? The racers definitely noticed him during the last stage, and this is a shot that Paige got of Kristin and Amber Rais riding past him -- hard to see here, but Kristin's cracking up.
The final men's podium -- Jeff Louder (2nd, BMC), Levi Leipheimer (yellow), and South Africa's Darren Lill (third, BMC). Didn't get the women's final podium, as I was too busy interviewing them for the day's article.
And Paige got this final shot of me zooming by in the media car on the final day. She was unhappy with it, as the exposure's not great (she just had cataract surgery and hasn't adjusted her camera yet), but I thought it was fun.
Sorry for taking so long to post these, but I'm kinda busy at stage races ... great fun, though.

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