Thursday August 22, 2013: Steamboat Springs – Beaver Creek

START: STEAMBOAT – 11:00am
DISTANCE: 102.9 mi / 165.6 km
SPRINTS: Oak Creek
KOMs: CR 27, CO 131, Bachelor Gulch
FINISH: BEAVER CREEK
Estimate Finish Time: 3:50pm
Start: Mt. Werner Cir Finish: Elk Track

Weather: Cloudy all day, and but then the last hour of the race it was a little bit like Something Wicked This Way Comes crossed with the way prehistoric storms in educational dinosaur movies are depicted, through over saturated colors, surround sound and CGI.

Objectives: Photograph the start, interview Lachlan and Hayden, photograph the finish, conserve energy, avoid conflicts, photograph more photographers for a pending typology called: Typology of Cycling Photographers, Alphabetized.

Media Guide Glossary Term Of The Day: "Feeding." At some point during a long road race it is necessary for riders to replace expended energy. Riders are given a “musette,” a small cloth bag, containing food and water bottles. Riders grab the bag from the team support personnel, remove the contents and put them in the pockets of their jerseys to eat when most convenient. They generally prefer high-energy foods that break down quickly, e.g. Clif Bars because Clif Bars are made from Organic Ingredients and Magic-Science and because Clif Bar is co-sponsoring Manual for Speed’s 2013 USA Pro Cycling Challenge Coverage and that’s important to roughly 87% of the English speaking/reading Pro Peloton.

PRO TIP NUMBER ONE: Media Pass Management During Nature Breaks. When wearing your USA Pro Cycling Challenge Media Credentials Pass (hard plastic, 8”x3”), loop the 30” lanyard through the belt loops on your Outlier Three Way Shorts and the Pass itself (once between the lanyard straps) in a manner allowing your pass to be kept in two different but equally useful positions:

•Position A) The Pass is kept discretely in your back pocket, incognito-style with minimal-to-nonexistent flappage or snagging and but connected still to your person, eliminating the worry of leaving it behind, e.g. in your vehicle when in the field (see below); and

•Position B) The Pass is left to hang about your person for hassle-free presentation with Volunteers during any of the many daily spot-checks (of which there are many, sometimes 47 times a day)—and if your pass is left in position B (hanging about your person) throughout the course of your day, DO NOT forget to move the pass into Position A before urinating, especially when in the field and when wind is a concern. Otherwise, you may urinate onto both your lanyard and your pass. Which happened, which event led to a discovery, which discovery led to...

PRO TIP NUMBER TWOKnow Your Tool(s). It turns out, as in this whole time/week, an abbreviated but-super-handy version of the 2013 USA Pro Cycling Challenge Schedule is printed on the back of every USA Pro Cycling Challenge Media Credentials Pass.

PRO TIP NUMBER THREE: Sometimes No Exit Strategy Is An Exit Strategy. Media Parking at the Finish of the 2013 Stage Four of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Beaver Creek, Colorado was located in the Parking Garage of the Beaver Creek Lodge. There is only one road between the town of Avon/Highway 70 (which is ESCAPE! & our hotel) and the mid-mountain Beaver Creek Mega-Complex, in the middle of which is the Beaver Creek Lodge, under which is our car. We think about where the exit ramp is, we talk about where the door and elevator to the ground floor is located, we begin to strategize, then we stop because fuck-it. We’re stuck.


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9:50 AM: After Starbucks we drive into town (the real Steamboat Springs, see Stage 03 coverage) and but can’t find the START.

10:00 AM: Because the START, apparently, is not in town, it’s above town, half-way up the Ski Resort Mountain.

10:01 AM: The START is, it turns out, a SHIT SHOW. We’ve got some hotels and parking lots and a lodge or two built around a massive outdoor mini-mall or arcade or whatever, all of it on the side of a hill. We’ve got some roads, a key 4-way intersection, we’ve got Volunteers shouting at cars and people in cars and at anything really, we got a nonsensical network of dirt and gravel paths leading up hills and down hills in all kinds of directions to various parking lots and ancillary buildings. We got racers riding in every direction between hotel rooms, sign-in and Team Buses.


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10:35 AM: Jens Voigt is talking to two USA Pro Cycling Challenge Polo-wearing girls near the start, they’re all laughing together and having a good time. Side Note: Jens is often talking and laughing with girls, it’s like a thing.

“Ya what is the deal with Italian sizing because everybody is feeling fat. You are saying wait a minute, I’m not a 10 or an 11? I am an 8.”

10:45 AM: There is a rumor going around about the best way to get to the finish, and it’s different than the way we had planned to go. We were going to casually drive yesterday’s course instead of driving ahead of the race on today’s course. Apparently there is a problem with that plan.

10:46 PM: We make new plans which new plans require we leave immediately. On the way to the car we get seprated and as is turns out there is some confusion about when and where we are to meet. When I get to the car Emiliano is not there—by this time I’ve missed two of his calls and he’s missed two of mine. I get in the car and exit the garage onto the street which street is where the police are staging the Police Caravan.

Over the years, we’ve been stopped and barricaded and nearly turned around by Volunteers and Police several dozens of times. This much is clear: once the Police Caravan rolls out ahead of the start, which Police Caravan is typically 30-40 vehicles deep, you’re fucked.

By the time Emiliano makes his way back from the Team Bus Parking Lot to the Media Parking Garage and into the car, the Police Caravan is very much flashing and whooping and revving it’s way out of the staging and START area and onto the course. We have at this point no alternative but to pull into the middle of the Police Caravan.

Emiliano and are I shouting like drunk lovers about what just happened in the Team Bus Parking Lot and who’s to blame for us leaving late and for our current predicament which predicament looks like this:

  1. We are in a shit-box Kia Soul.
  2. We have the smallest Media Sticker in the world.
  3. Ahead of us are 15+ Colorado Highway Patrol motorcycles, 5 Colorado Sherriff Department SUVs, 5 Colorado State Police cars, and one USA Pro Cycling Challenge Marshal SUV.
  4. Behind us it’s more of the same (i.e., item #3 x2).
  5. We are driving 65mph through Main Street Steamboat Springs.
  6. A Colorado Sherriff Department SUV pulls up to us from behind until our vehicles are less than two feet apart. We are still traveling 65mph through barricaded intersections and red flashing traffic lights and 4-way stops. An officer in the passenger seat rolls down his window and shouts at us: WHO ARE WE?! WHY ARE WE ON THE COURSE?! PULL OVER! WHERE ARE OUR CREDENTIALS?!
  7. We point to the media sticker. Emiliano immediately presents his Media Pass. I struggle with my Media Pass (currently in Position A).
  8. We explain through wind and sirens and Race Announcements, and the sound of our KIA bottoming-out San Francisco car chase-style, that we are attempting to get beyond the Police Caravan, that we want to get ahead of all this and up the road to drive the course.
  9. At this point we are instructed to pass ALL of the Police and Marshall vehicles ahead of us. Basically, dude is like, "Go up the fucking road now and handle it. Or I will handle you."
  10. And so now we are driving 75mph through Steamboat Springs, zigzagging left to right through a Police Caravan that may or may not have been radioed about our presence and intentions, using both lanes, and when necessary buzzing the crowded sidewalk.
  11. In a corner on the outskirts of town we make it past the last vehicles.

11:30 AM: We pass an actual cattle drive with horses and cowboys and cows and everything.

11:31 AM: We pass a Course Marshal sweeping fresh mud and cow shit off the road.

12:14 PM: Dear Crowds, stop shouting at us to slow down, and stop doing the Jump Around dance with your arms when we pass too, the State of Colorado did not close half its Interstates so that you could safely draw on the road with colored chalk in a Speedo and a boa.

12:22 PM: We clean-out a Market in Oak Creek, Colorado of bottles of sparkling mineral water.

12:45 PM-1:12 PM: We pass through the towns of Phippsburg and Yampa.


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1:00 PM: TEAM UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING’s Medic—“A guy with a group of friends on vacation from France, on rented motorcycles, crashed. Apparently the guy in the front slowed down and the next guy behind him slowed down too, but the third guy didn't. The middle guy was hit, he was ejected and went into a ditch. He lost consciousness and he probably has a concussion, his helmet was pretty messed up. We were there so we stopped to provide them first aid. We stabilized his neck and made sure he was okay until the ambulance could come and take him to the hospital.”

1:30 PM: In unrelated news, we owe Bicycling Magazine some non-racing photographs of cyclists experiencing a “moment,” moments not unlike those we were currently driving past. And that’s when Emiliano climbed out of the passenger side window and sat on the edge of the door, and started to photograph—and art direct, as in telling them what to do and where to look—various cyclists climbing and descending the hills of Routt County, Colorado.

2:17 PM: In the Rapha RV at the top of CO 131 KOM (MOM), Jeremy Dunn discusses an interesting trespassing interlude during his ride this morning with some friends—“We took a left on a gravel road, over a sketchy bridge through the bottom of which you could see light and water below. And then this guy comes out of nowhere and says, ‘Hey, where are you from?’, which scared me because I had waved at him, and given him a couple of 'howdys.' He was wearing a mask, like a Breaking Bad mask, like he was making meth. So we told him Portland, Oregon…and he said, ‘Okay, but did it occur to you that you are on private property?’ We said, 'Yeah, we were just starting to figure that out when we saw you.' And then he says, ‘If you had said you were from Vail, I would have told you to get the fuck out of here,' and he went on to say that like three times. He'd been there for fifty years, and his neighbor had been there since 'we ran the Indians out of here, since the genocide.'"

4:45 PM: We learn that the Beaver Creek Starbucks is the most expensive Starbucks in America. Our barista actually said this:

We’re ten-percent more expensive than Times Square, we’re even more expensive than Aspen.


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INTERVIEWS

Manual For Speed Race Correspondents and 2013 USA Pro Cycling Challenge Podium Girls, Candice and Courtney

MFS stopped Candice and Courtney from getting to bed around 10:30 PM, instead having a casual chit-chat about their day via 3-way phone call.

"Our high point for the day is that we did well on the podium, things went smoothly, we had a good day. We were worried about the rain, but there was still a good turnout. The low point of the day was the mud on our feet, because of the rain. But really, we didn't have too much of a low point today actually. Things went well today. We drove ourselves in the van that you guys already talked about.

"We sounded so dumb in that interview we did with you guys. We sound like blondes. I mean, sorry Candice, but you know what I mean.

"Today we met some people who saw us on TV. They wanted to take pictures with us, which is good positive feedback. That happens every day from 2 to 2:30 PM—we are at the booth, taking pictures with people. It's a lot of cyclists, fans, some kids. After that, we go to the hospitality tent and take pictures with the trophy, it's pretty cool.

"We saw a motorcycle crash today, we almost cried. Then we got stuck because of a train in the middle of nowhere, which was craaaazy. But it was cool to drive the course before the race today. The fans wave at you and get excited, even though you are just staff.

We beep at them, and we do the pageant wave. Beep beep, wave, wave.

"For dinner, we got some good pizza in downtown Vail.

"For tomorrow, we are looking forward to the outfits they wear, especially the helmets. The special helmets, the pointy ones, and the skintight suits. Because it's a time trial, we won't do rider sign in, but we'll be there at the start, and then go do our appearances."

Race announcers Brad Sohner and Dave Towle

Brad: For us, this is the most enthusiastic audience of the year. We get to work together at the biggest races of the year in the US. I was fifteen when I started announcing, I was eighteen when I started announcing at the Tour of California. I used to work for an events company, and a guy heard my voice and said I should give it a try.

Dave: But the thing is, it's not just the voice. You have to know and understand the tactics and the sport, and Brad has picked it up really quickly. Oh, and I don't mean to brag, but this morning over coffee, we both picked Acevedo for the win today, and Tejay for the jersey. Part of that is that these guys are known quantities, they are just legitimate heavy hitters.

Most entertaining announcements overheard at the finish-line:

  1. This could be the most talented rider on most people's radar this week.
  2. They cannot react, the Colombians have them on the ropes right now!
  3. This will be an amazing win for the Colombian, the one guy who could stay with him was Tejay, and heeeere comes Teeeeejaaaay!
  4. Tejay is holding on like a pit bull with a steak in his mouth!
  5. He's gotta' feel like he just got smacked in the kidney right now!
  6. Tejay once dropped Levi on the downhill, he might be doing it again, this kid is a rockstar!
  7. Listen up, the Tour de France has NOTHING on you Colorado!
  8. When's the last time that you saw two similar body types on the front like this?
  9. These are the gladiators of the rooooaaaad!
  10. I think the Colombians shot their gun a bit early in the race.
  11. Ohhhhhh, yeeeaaaah, it's onnnn like Donkey Konnnnng!
"My name is Deborah, this is Tabitha and this is Tad. They’re here because they’re part of our family and the family is here. My husband wants Tejay Van Garderen to win."
“My name is Randy Revell and this is my son Remington, who we named after the gunsmiths.”
David Millar: “I get up in the morning, have coffee, and check-out the logistics regarding where I'm going to next.”
Jim Matlock: "We're in Bond, Colorado. I’m here in front of the fire truck, and we're stopping all the traffic. We might as well bring it out on a day like today. We have about five families here in Bond, and the town is owned by the Union Pacific Railroad. This is a changing point for railroad crews, so all of the people here are employed by the railroad. Most of them are signal maintenance people. They're all working now, they go up and down the track."
Bill Walton: "We're going all the way to the end today, to Beaver Creek. That's always our goal, to make it to the finish. I love my bike!"
As we stop in a random gravel turn-out next to the UHC Bus to say hello to J.Cod and to see what’s up with the motorcycle accident we just passed, Kiel steps down from the passenger side of the Team Bus, which was weird because he is a bicycle racer and there was a bicycle race going on, one that he was supposed to be in. We’re like, "Wait, why are you here?" and he’s like “I have a motorcycle and when I ride it faster than thirty miles an hour, I'm scared shitless. And I’m wearing a jacket and a full helmet and all this protection. But on a bicycle, when I'm in spandex, I’m not scared to go fast at all. I’m starting re-think that. I crashed in the final few kilometers yesterday, there was a lot of sketchiness in general. One of the crashes was because of a spectator, guy was standing too far in the road and it hooked a guy's bars."
Isabel Horne: “My mom is Fire Chief for the Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Department, but she's out taking my sister to college, so I had to step in on her behalf. I'm helping keep people off the road during the race, and putting cones up to block off this road. I've been out there for the last hour because they don't really know when the riders will be coming through. After the race I have to go to school, it's the first day of school today. I'm sixteen, I'll be a junior in high school. I told my school that I would be late today and my principal was totally okay with it, they wanted me to help to volunteer.”
Luis Lemus, Mexican National Road Champion, hit a painted white line on the rainy descent and went down.
Dan Chabanov, seeing Matt Cooke on MFS' Facebook, had only this to say: "Shortest shorts in the peloton."
Matt Cooke, Man Of The Mountain (MOM), said the highlight of his day was being MOM again. His secondary highlight came near the finish, when in the middle of a mountain thunderstorm, his teammate quoted Bill Murray in Caddyshack: “I don’t think the heavy stuff’s gonna come down for quite some time now.”