Tour of California LiveBlog: Stage 7: Santa Clarita – Pasadena

02.21.2009 | 4:00 pm

Susan’s sitting here by me, making bracelets — I’ll show some photos soon. I’m sitting here, eating a turkey and avocado sandwich (with, of course, Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard).

Seems like a good opportunity to do a liveblog.

3:05 While Phil and Paul talk about today’s stage, here’s a photo of Fat Cyclist reader Karyn at the Pasadena finish line:

Karyn says she “Met another Fatty who saw my jersey and said hello.” Yes, we are just one or two steps away from world domination.

3:08 It looks like the broadcast begins pretty much right as the peloton crests the summit of the big climb. Which means they’re getting into the broadcast right after the part that I care about.


3:11 The “Breakaway from Cancer” commercial just aired again, making Susan cry — and not in a “how touching” way, but more in a really crappy lousy way. When this woman perkily talks about how she’s “not a survivor, [she's] a THRIVER,” does the Breakaway from Cancer foundation consider that there might be some cancer patients out there who AREN’T thriving, and who might NOT get to go outside and play basketball with their children?

Seriously, Breakaway from Cancer people, shame on you for not thinking about how PEOPLE WHO HAVE CANCER might feel about your unrealistic, idealistic ads and how they portray what life with cancer looks like.

3:12 OK, I’m calm again.

3:18 Looks like there’s a breakaway with quite a few people in it, including George Hincapie. As a rule, anytime George does anything, I root for him.

That said, a two minute gap with a mostly downhill road doesn’t sound super promising to me. Am I missing something?

3:19 You know, if there were one thing I’d change about this race — not the coverage, but the course itself — it would be to add a mountaintop finish. I love mountaintop finishes, where the the strongest climber wins the stage. With stages like this, the climbers get to the top, only to be overtaiken by the peloton by the end.

It makes me sad.

So here’s my big question for the day: what is your favorite kind of way for a stage to end? Mountaintop? Bunch sprint?

3:26 Armstrong has flatted. He uses his heat vision to seal the puncture, then inflates the tire with his super breath. He never slows down.

Wow, I’m beginning to think there’s something different about this guy.

3:29 Tim comments that his favorite kind of a stage finish is:

With a breakaway powering away and holding the peleton off. Especially if it is a solo all day suicide break, a la Jacky Durand. Jacky Durand is my hero.

Yeah, I love those suicide breaks, too. And if it’s a suicide break up with a mountaintop finish, I’m in heaven.

3:30 Here’s something I think longtime Fat Cyclist readers will be excited about: in tomorrow’s stage, AL MAVIVA will be joining me for liveblogging duties.

It’ll be interesting to see if I can get a word in edgewise.

3:32 Bob Roll is is talking about the Shimano electronic groupo. I love the fact that we can now easily tell which pieces he filmes a while ago, because he still has hair.

I’m not alone in thinking that Bob looks much, much better without that scruffy tuft of fluff, right?

3:33 Seriously, already at ads?

3:34 A “No Fear” energy drink is followed by an ad for 5-Hour Energy, which talks about how bad all the sugar in those energy drinks is. I’m sure the No Fear energy drink people don’t have any problem with that, though.

As an aside, during the one summer I worked as a midnight – 6am DJ, the only time I ever got into trouble was when I ran Coors and Budweiser commercials back to back.

3:36 Mancebo is down. He’s crashed into the loose scree on the downhill.

3:37 Everytime I see a crash like that, it screws up my descending for years.

Yeah, I just made Mancebo’s crash about me. Can’t help myself.

3:38 Paul’s doing a “Breakaway 101″ bit. It’s really good and informative — something I think someone new to the sport would really understand. This underscores my belief that Versus DOES NOT NEED non-cyclist types — Hummer, Mathur — to appeal to the people new to the sport.

Phil and Paul do an excellent job describing the mechanics of the race, whether you’re new to cycling, or a huge cycling nerd.

3:41 My Monday post, by the way, will be a post about Rasika Mathur, the improv comedienne who’s been doing those bits we’ve all been enjoying so much.

I expect Rasika will not be ordering a Fat Cyclist jersey once she reads what I have to say.

3:44 Lotsa people in the back of the peloton crashed on the downhill.

3:45 The lead group is staying away pretty darned well. 4:20.

I would like to go on record as endorsing the likelihood of a Hincapie stage win.

3:46 I’m thinking about those big crashes happening on the downhill. Man, I hate having anyone even remotely close to me when I’m doing a fast road downhill. A fast downhill road crash is much scarier to me than a mountain bike crash.

3:49 Hummer pronounces palmares as “palm-airs.” I love this guy.

3:54 Gap’s down to 3:25. Team Astana doesn’t care about the chase group. Why should they? I’d guess, in fact, that they’re kinda excited about the idea of George taking a stage.

4:03 Vaughters is going to be talking with Phil, Paul, and the other guy after this break. My guess is that Vaughters will be nattily dressed.

4:06 The break has split up. Vand De Velde didn’t make it into the lead group.

4:07 Vaughters says that he wishes Zabriskie would have won yesterday’s TT.


4:08 Lead group is doing a lot of mini-attacks. Seems to me this plays into Hincapie’s favor. That dude’s seen it all.

4:09 For those of you who like actual information in your liveblogs, well first of all: what are you doing here? Second, here’s who’s in the front breakaway group, copy/pasted from CyclingNews: Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Markus Zberg (BMC Racing Team), George Hincapie (Team Columbia – Highroad), Fränk Schleck (Team Saxo Bank) and Hayden Roulston (Cervélo TestTeam).

4:11 Vaughters agrees with Paul that the breakaway will succeed. of course High Road (Hincapie’s team) wants it to work, and Astana doesn’t care as long as it doesn’t get to far ahead (right now it’s right at 3:15).

4:12 Vaughters points out that as long as Van de Velde stays close to the front breakaway, Garmin/Slipstream has a shot at the team classification.

I’m disappointed that they didn’t show Vaughters, because I would have really liked to have gotten some outfit ideas.

4:15 You people have no idea how disappointed I am that nobody has, in two days, commented on the change in my banner.

4:15 Hummer called palmares “palm-airs” again. I wonder if Phil and Paul have a headache at the end of the day from rolling their eyes so often.

Or maybe Hummer asked Bob Roll how to pronounce the word.

4:17 Nice attack off the front! Zberg, George, Schleck stick.

4:19 And Schleck is off the front!

4:20 I know I’m on-record as being pro-George, but that was a hardcore move by Schleck. If he can make that stick, I’m all for him winning.

4:21 Oh, don’t go to ads! C’mon Versus.

If the stage ends during ads, I am going to write a very sternly-worded open letter.

4:23 Versus, when you do stuff like this, you lose me to the Web.

4:24 The breakaway has caught Schleck. ‘Course, we didn’t see it, because we were watching ads.

4:25 This is the last lap for the lead riders. So one of the lead group will definitely win.

1 KM to go!

4:26 Roulston (CTT) and Weening (Rabobank) are up front. Uh, George? You’re running out of time.

4:27 Boonen, Weening, Elmiger, Zbero lead.

4:28 Why are they showing Leipheimer!?!

4:29 Attack by Vandevelde and Schleck. Hincapie bridges.

4:30 Paul says Hincapie has a diesel engine. I thought that Jan had patented that.

4:31 Weening goes. Looks good.

Nocentini chases.

4:32 Nocentinie, Weening, Roulston up front. They look pretty cooked, tho.

4:33 Chase group trying to catch up. All 7 together.

15 seconds back.

4:34 Evidently I was way wrong about 1Km to go a while back. I should avoid smoking crack when liveblogging.

4:35 1K for real now. Seriously.

4:36 Weening, Nocentine, Roulston.

4:37 I cannot tell who won. Nocentine thinks it was him.

4:38 Nocentini was right. He did win, by like a quarter inch.

That was a really terrific 3-way battle in the straightaway. Those 3 duked it out old-school.

Big ol’ drag race finish.

4:39 And the peloton comes in.

And I’m just happy Versus didn’t go to ads as the led group battled it out for the win.

4:48 Check out some of the bracelets Susan’s been working on.


We’ll be sending out about 35 of these bracelets on Monday.

4:51 Podium presentations. Bob Roll talks with Levi. I would hesitate to call it a news-packed interview.

4:53 That’s it for me. Join me and Al Maviva tomorrow for the final stage. And, oddly enough, for my final LiveBlog.


  1. Comment by Tim | 02.21.2009 | 4:27 pm

    With a breakaway powering away and holding the peleton off. Especially if it is a solo all day suicide break, a la Jacky Durand. Jacky Durand is my hero.

  2. Comment by Uphillbattle | 02.21.2009 | 4:29 pm

    As my name suggests, I prefer mountain top finishes! Let’s separate the men from the boys!

  3. Comment by Tim | 02.21.2009 | 4:31 pm

    Mancebo down! Mancebo down!

    What will Michael Ball do now?

  4. Comment by Tim | 02.21.2009 | 4:40 pm

    on, they have a guest in the booth. He’s never watched bike racing. HIs first name is Greg, but they haven’t told us his last name.


  5. Comment by Tim | 02.21.2009 | 4:44 pm

    That crash in the field, I think, pretty much guarantees that the break will stay away.

    Your Hincapie bet is looking a bit stronger, methinks.

  6. Comment by Norman & Janet | 02.21.2009 | 4:53 pm

    I hope it amuses you as much as it does us that team “Norman & Janet” crossed the finish line today more than 24 hours ahead of the pack, locking up first place in the Local Residents of Escondido One Of Whom Is Wearing A Fat Cyclist Jersey” category.

    A record was set, 3 hours for the 7 mile course, which included a large breakfast at the finish line where preparations for the rest of the race were underway. Cheers resounded as we crossed the finish line (well, one guy directing traffic commented on it).

  7. Comment by Hamish A | 02.21.2009 | 4:56 pm

    I really don’t get the whole Paul & Phil thing. I’ve been subjected to them wittering during the UK coverage of the TdF for years now and it’s at the point where I mute the sound rather than listen to the wibble / Cav’ adulation. Oooh, there’s potential for a new word there…

    Give me someone who knows they know nothing but doesn’t mind us having a chuckle at them anyway. Much more fun.

    If anyone needs me I’ll be over in the Grouchy corner.

    Yay for Susan and the bracelet making! I hope she’s enjoying it, looking forward to the pics :-)

    Oh, and GO GEORGE!!!

  8. Comment by Tim | 02.21.2009 | 4:59 pm

    George looks very comfortable on that climb in the back. None of the sprinters teams (Quick step, Columbia, Cervelo) will chase, since they all have riders in the break.

    I’m thinking Hincapie or Zberg.

  9. Comment by Mel | 02.21.2009 | 4:59 pm

    Much as I love a good climb, being a mad Cav fan a fast bunch sprint is what really does it for me.

    Mel (who chooses to believe that you posted this screenshot – – just for me!)

  10. Comment by Tim | 02.21.2009 | 5:10 pm

    “The sprinters taking the day off, perhaps tired from the last few days.”

    NO!!! They are on teams that have riders in the break. You don’t chase your teammate under most circumstances.

    Frankie Andreu is an idiot.

  11. Comment by Bill | 02.21.2009 | 5:14 pm

    There’s a comedienne on the Versus coverage?

    I haven’t missed a moment of coverage, but have yet to see a comedienne.

    Are you sure?

  12. Comment by Barbara | 02.21.2009 | 5:15 pm

    Hummer just said, “The great thing about cycling is there is always a goal out on the road.” Ah, so that’s what distinguishes cycling from… ALL OTHER SPORTS.

  13. Comment by Barbara | 02.21.2009 | 5:17 pm

    Fatty, I SWEAR… I just hit refresh and when it came back up, I saw the new banner and was just about to comment when I saw your last comment. I NOTICED! I LOVE IT!

  14. Comment by Byrdbth | 02.21.2009 | 5:17 pm

    I do enjoy the fat cycles..

  15. Comment by Tim | 02.21.2009 | 5:18 pm

    I saw it, but it just redirects here. SO, that really isn’t all that exciting.


  16. Comment by Barbara | 02.21.2009 | 5:20 pm

    Does anyone know how Californians pronounce Paso Robles? I have always said Paso Robe-lays, being a person who knows how to pronounce Spanish. On Thursday Craig kept saying Paso Robe-uls.

  17. Comment by Byrdbth | 02.21.2009 | 5:20 pm

    The more I listen to Hummer, the better the job I think I can do..

  18. Comment by Laura | 02.21.2009 | 5:26 pm

    Hummer was right, it’s Paso Ro-bulls to the locals.

  19. Comment by uncadan8 | 02.21.2009 | 5:29 pm

    I predict CVV for the win…just because he’s really nice. I like George for the win too, though.

  20. Comment by Tim | 02.21.2009 | 5:30 pm

    You;re 1k to go was a lap too soon, Fatty.

  21. Comment by uncadan8 | 02.21.2009 | 5:30 pm

    Also, CVV deserves it after that rough chase back after the flat!

  22. Comment by Bill | 02.21.2009 | 5:36 pm

    An “international sandwich”.

    That costs lots of money in some places.

  23. Comment by Jamieson | 02.21.2009 | 5:37 pm

    The Climb Finish is the best.

    Congrats to ag2r on the stage.

  24. Comment by Noose and Goose | 02.21.2009 | 5:38 pm

    Sorry Fatty stopped reading the blog when I reached your comment and Susan. I have felt that way with all the commercials – they make cancer seem “perky”. I am a survivor and holding my own – but so many aren’t. But I will read the rest of your blog when everyone goes to bed and I have watched the “live: segment of VS on TV.

  25. Comment by Co | 02.21.2009 | 5:51 pm

    Too bad Big George didn’t win, but hey. *Great* that Al Maviva will be helping tomorrow! Location and ID thoroughly obfuscated, I trust.

  26. Comment by Brandy | 02.21.2009 | 5:54 pm

    Nice Bling Susan!!

  27. Comment by Juls | 02.21.2009 | 6:05 pm

    Joe Silva is worse than Frankie. He called Trent Lowe “Trent Wilson”. How’d he get that gig anyway?

  28. Comment by danielle | 02.21.2009 | 6:34 pm

    I like to read the “live blog” after I’ve watched the stage on tv, it keeps me from having to run back and forth to the computer. I can’t wait to read the critique on Mathur. Comedienne? Really? Hard to believe. Another observation: I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the majority of Fatty readers are men, and you wonder why they haven’t noticed the new blog header? Really?

  29. Comment by bobbieh | 02.21.2009 | 6:46 pm

    When I lived in the area, we just called it “Paso”…

  30. Comment by mateo | 02.21.2009 | 7:06 pm

    Yes, its known as Paso. And I hate that Hummer got it right with Paso Ro-bulls, but that’s the pronunciation. A mountain top finish is always the best, especially if its a long break. But, I will admit that I loved the Eros Poli attack that made it over the alps to the finish on the flats…holding off all comers over the mountains to finish alone. So, am I schizo, well, yeah. gimmie a hard earned finish and I’m a happy boy. Anytime George or Jens attack, I’m rooting for them. Susan’s bracelets are kick ass, wish I’d had the money to throw in to “earn” one.

  31. Comment by Long deKlein | 02.21.2009 | 7:24 pm

    I think Vs. could greatly increase their viewership on any cycling event they’ve contracted Hummer for by having him do a Criss Angel/David Blaine style public escape–truss him up, put him in a mail sack, and suspend him over the broadcast booth. Then they could cut to shots of this to show his current progress, eliminating the need for the “comedy stylings” of Ms. Mathur, and leaving the commentary to Paul, Phil and Bobke. (And Hamish, don’t you feel better about Paul and Phil after being subjected to the Big Hummer?)

  32. Comment by bikemike | 02.21.2009 | 8:06 pm

    you had a banner?

  33. Comment by BikeCopVT | 02.21.2009 | 9:35 pm


    I noticed the new banner last night. It is a nice homage to Bobke but I like the old banner better. Speaking of Bobke check out the photo below courtesy of Johan, looks like Bobke had the dome polished.

    Win Susan
    Elden Won!


  34. Comment by Pinkbike | 02.21.2009 | 9:37 pm

    So there we were, waiting for the riders at the finish, when whose freshly-shaved noggin pops up in front of us but Bob Roll’s! He very happily agreed to some photos – here they are. He loves Team Fatty. It was his idea, by the way, to show off his head. Part of the magic, right?! What a great guy.

    Here also is a photo just for Susan.

    Oh, and one of me licking Lance’s TT bike. As Tom says, it’s the closest I’ll ever come to licking Lance in any meaning of the word.

    Win Susan! Go Team Fatty!

    Sue and Tom who are getting psyched for Austin

  35. Comment by BikeCopVT | 02.21.2009 | 9:38 pm

    Can’t seem to get the picture to move but it’s on Johan’s twitter page if you want to see for yourself.

  36. Comment by Pinkbike | 02.21.2009 | 9:40 pm

    Whoops. Photos to follow.

  37. Comment by Clericeric | 02.21.2009 | 9:56 pm

    Hi Fatty,
    I’m with BikeCop. Funny because Bobke goofed your name, but the other one looked better.
    Win Susan!!!
    Rock on Fat Rider Dude!

  38. Comment by Miles Archer | 02.21.2009 | 10:12 pm

    I don’t live in the immediate area, being in the Bay Area, but I drink their Rhones and I think it’s called Paso Robe-less. I could be an idiot, though, especially since I’m about a bottle into some nice Aussie GSM.

    Anyway, I’m enjoying the coverage and looking forward to the last stage tomorrow and the San Jose Livestrong Challenge

  39. Comment by Anonymous | 02.21.2009 | 10:20 pm

    I am trying to watch the tour on Versus from 8-9 pm but they are showing bull riding instead. Maybe they will show the last part of the stage of something once this bull riding stuff is over.

  40. Comment by Accident Prone | 02.21.2009 | 10:53 pm

    So I’m a little late here, but not seeing a new banner.

    I’ll be waiting at the finish in San Diego tomorrow, but I’m really excited for 2 things:

    -reading live blog with Al Maviva and Fatty afterwards
    -Monday’s post… you go Fatty! Will it be an open letter style post?

  41. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 02.21.2009 | 11:47 pm

    Yay! Al Mavia! :) Can’t wait.

    Oh, and sorry, been reading the blog on iGoogle w/an RSS feed, missed the banner. Which brings us to the question, are you changing your name?…… To Hmmmm

    Or is it a temporary inside joke w/Bobke?

    Oh, and, as you listed the breakaway group today, I just realized that Hincapie is NOT on the same team as Armstrong (yeah I’ve been a bit out of it this season)

    I’m having a hard time imagining Armstrong in the TDF w/out Hincapie as his right hand man.

  42. Comment by vXhanz | 02.22.2009 | 6:30 am

    Fatty cycles just redirects here… unless there is a future in fat cyclist branded bikes… that would be cool :)


  43. Comment by RachelGio | 02.22.2009 | 9:00 am

    I HEARD Phil and Paul’s eyes roll when Hummer said Nocentini won by less that half a bike length. uh, like less than half the width of a wheel! and this is hummer 100% better than when the tour started last year! eekk!!

  44. Comment by Don Scott | 02.22.2009 | 9:59 am

    Nice job Fatty. I literally followed your liveblog as the race happened …. it was just like reading the TdF at work…only at home and funny. (I saved my DVR copy for this am.) You are spot on: Phil and Paul do an awesome job…they are for me what Joe Morgan is to baseball coverage…someone who gives you insight into THE SPORT, not just stupid fluff.

    Oh, and I can’t wait for your rant on that annoying woman insulting all of our intelligence.

    Love Susan’s work…very cool !!!

  45. Comment by buckythedonkey | 02.22.2009 | 11:18 am

    Love the bracelets and the fact that Susan was able to make them. I also love the new banner – what’s the story behind it? Was it on the ToC course?


  46. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 11:44 am

    LOVE the new banner; you’re a prince for putting it up.

  47. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 11:44 am

    Hit the trigger too fast on that last post….meant to join buckythedonkey in adding:


  48. Comment by Hamish A | 02.22.2009 | 1:54 pm

    That is the coolest banner EVER.

  49. Comment by donbiker | 02.22.2009 | 2:27 pm

    Finally got your new banner today. It looks great. As another breast cancer survivor who is not exactly thriving, I wonder if those folks have ever dealt with the disease?

  50. Comment by Julie | 02.22.2009 | 3:17 pm

    Love the banner!!

  51. Comment by MTB W | 02.22.2009 | 3:27 pm

    Great Banner – where is it? At the Tour of California?

  52. Comment by Mehera | 02.22.2009 | 4:02 pm

    How does Susan get so many bracelets made?! Wow–it’s amazing to have 30 done so quickly. And they are beautiful, too.

    Love ya Susan!

  53. Comment by sharon | 02.22.2009 | 4:09 pm

    the bracelets are beautiful! I’m so sad I didn’t get in on the 1st order- hopefully she will be well enough to get more made- and I will be in for sure :)

  54. Comment by goldengirls | 02.23.2009 | 11:57 am

    I love the bracelts. How can I order one? Thanks


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