All posts by Mike

A Sunday without a ride? Drove to see the final Tour of California stage in Sacramento

The Tour of California riding across the Tower Bridge in Sacramento
The Tour of California riding across the Tower Bridge in Sacramento
A Sunday evening without that feeling like you earned what you ate… it’s not something I want to repeat again anytime soon! Or the drive home in heavy traffic either. But since the Tour of California didn’t pass by anywhere close to us this year, we had to travel to see it. Tempting to give it a pass entirely, but needed to test out the camera gear (ok, more like test out my ability to use a camera), and my son’s girlfriend had never seen a bike race in person.

Got there early enough to see the pre-start roll across the Tower Bridge (seen in the photo above), spend some time at the Sacramento Rail Museum and grab a nice lunch in Old Town while the race was doing a 70 mile spin out in no-man’s land, and then take photos of the finishing circuit around the capitol.

I decided to try using my “Africa” 150-600mm (super-telephoto) lens for the first time at a bike race, with mixed results. Truthfully, it turned out to be the wrong lens for the day, for an odd reason. There was way too much atmospheric distortion on long shots… the lens could “get” shots way the heck down the road, but depending where you pointed it, particularly well-lit areas, you’d get fuzzy results. When atmospheric heating wasn’t an issue, the shots were incredibly sharp, but anything about asphalt was suspect. And that’s the problem with most bike racing shots. They’re riding on asphalt. The good news is that it means I don’t have to think about bringing that huge lens with me to France (even though I did figure a way to stuff it into my camera bag).

As for what happened in the race, well, not exactly sure! We couldn’t get too close to the finish line (about 500 meters out) so most of what we saw were the riders setting up for the sprint. Mark Cavendish won, but I can’t even find him in the photos I took. Sagan’s there, along with Kristoff (2nd & 3rd places) but Cavendish was pretty well hidden at 500 meters to go.

The old guys rode away

IMG_9980oldguysNot talking about myself; there are actually a few guys out there older than me. This morning it was Scotty and JR; also riding were Eric, Kevin (pilot), Karl, Karen, MarkP… seems like there were more.

rattlesnake_wolhSince it’s Thursday we ride up through the park, but somebody forgot to wake up the park ranger to open the lower gate! That didn’t seem to slow people down much though. I might be having just a bit more trouble than normal since I’m just three days into switching from Qvar to Singulair (for my breathing issues), but as the ride went on, I felt increasingly stronger. By the time we got to West Old LaHonda, I was feeling pretty darned good! Good enough to be following Karen’s wheel, ahead of the others, until I spotted a snake in the road and turned back to see if it was alive and needed to be moved off the road. Closer inspection showed it to be a rattlesnake and, unfortunately, dead. On the positive side, first rattlesnake sighting of the year; summer is near. On the negative, I didn’t get to it soon enough to prevent it from being run over.