Saturday, February 23, 2008

Santa Clarita

If there's one good thing about my participation in the Tour of Calif, it's the fact that I get to drop in for a few hours on my sister, my parents, and my nephews. Yesterday after the Solvang TT I drove to Santa Barbara and took my sister's two sons, Christo and Tyler, both of whom are students at Cal Santa Barbara, out to dinner. It was a quick but fun visit. I also did laundry at Christo's apartment, which helped both my logistics and my state of mind.

Today is, in my opinion, the best stage of the ATOC. We stay at the Hyatt Valancia, which is the nicest hotel of the tour, and the finish area is literally 10 meters from the hotel's parking lot. So last night I got some decent sleep in a decent bed, and was able to wake up leisurely, since the hotel is right at the finish line and the race started at 11 instead of 10.

Today the riders are racing from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita through the mountains. It's a murderous climbing stage and the weather is deteriorating, but right now we're an hour from the finish and the rain hasn't started, so the finish may look decent on TV. The forecast for tomorrow's final stage is terrible. Windy with heavy rains.

Word among the worker bees is that the event is going no further North than Santa Clarita next year. Due to atrocious weather ruining several stages this year, there will be stages in the San Diego and Palm Springs areas next year instead of the San Francisco area. I'm sure Levi will be disappointed that he can't ride into his hometown, Santa Rosa, next year, but the Santa Rosa stage has logistical and design problems and has been a lousy stage every year anyway.

Solvang has been a nice time trial every year, so I'll be sorry to see that one go. But the hotels in Solvang blow, so my aching back will perhaps be happy if it winds up in a hotel with better beds at a more Southern TT next year.

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