Allez, Allez . . .

The site build of BikeCrave feels like a stage race.

There are the flat stages where you sprint, the mountains where you suffer, and the TTs where you reveal the truth.

Today’s a mountain stage, but it’s a sweet pain.

bikecrave_final colors

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Doing, not saying . . .

Kicked off the build of http://www.bikecrave.com today. Official site launch is June 15. 

BikeCrave is an idea that has been in my brain for over a year now. It’s become a labor of love and shared project (with cyclists around the world) as a place to celebrate all things cycling, and the cycling lifestyle. I’m providing blog updates here (and DMs and emails) as a way to share the “process” and demystify the “social media” thing. Too many buzzwords and not enough reality. Let’s strip it down to the pure essence. 

BikeCrave? It’s real. URL secured. Host secured. Design direction and architecture complete. Brand guidelines done. WP template for customization complete. Plug-ins chosen. Designer and coder hired. Chief content producer (me) hired.

One thing I enjoy about cycling is the near-zero tolerance for fakery. You either climb the mountain, or you go back and reach a fitness level that will power you up the mountain. Or you pick a smaller mountain, also known as a “hill.” The point is, you’ve got to start somewhere. It doesn’t really matter where as long as you reach the goal, and you enjoy the journey. You may only want to ride flats in Tuscany and sip wine. Or work on your glove tan lines along Highway 101. Way cool, each.   

But no faking. 

We can’t talk ourselves up the mountain or down the coast in a 20 mph headwind. We can’t slog through a cold rainstorm without something deep inside. I’ve been there, digging about in an empty suitcase of courage, harkening back to times when the legs were stronger and the heart more capable of carrying red blood cells to hungry muscles. 

Doing, not saying.

That’s top of mind this afternoon before I kit up and do my ride.

A tad cliche? Yep.

The best route? Always.

Hope you’re having a great weekend and doing what you love, which may even include two wheels.

Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup all rolled up…

Tomorrow’s the day. It was so damn obvious.

Typical Saturday in February? About 10 serious riders ascend South Grade up the face of Palomar.

Today?

Had to be 200.

I’ve never seen so many bikes on the mountain — ever. They came from everywhere. And more are amassing for Sunday. I met a father-and-son combo from St. Louis. Highest “mountain” in Missouri, according to the Dad? Something like 480 feet. Ouch.

The son was forced to walk up to the summit after blowing up around 4,000 foot elevation, due to gearing more suitable for the flats. The mountain shows no mercy. 

Sunday should be fun at the summit’s 5,120 feet. By 3 p.m. today, campers and tents were positioning on the inside shoulder of the KOM. Front-row seats to witness the strong men.

Cole Grade Road, the final KOM, isn’t getting quite the same hype as Palomar. But most pundits are predicting it will decide the stage winner.

Here’s the tricky part: The initial incline is a false 6%. By that I mean it looks like 6%, but it checks in at more than 10% on the Garmin. The eyes tell you one thing. The legs scream another.

Whoever is in the breakaway group for Stage 8 can take the win if they pound Cole Grade Road and time trial through Valley Center before BOMBING down Lake Wohlford Road. And they will BOMB. I caught a headwind on El Norte Parkway in Escondido after the descent of Lake Wohlford.

Just another wild card in what should be a day of great racing.

My viewing spot? At the highest point, hands down.

Amgen Tour of California Stage 8 KOM: Palomar Mountain Summit 5,200+ Feet

The pro peloton will easily wind it up on this last section. Keep an eye on the gear selection here. It’s very possible that a strong man uses the 53 big ring and 24 or 21 tooth cog. Most exciting for fans: Will the strongest be strewn across the mountain due to an audacious attack, and can anyone stay away before sealing the deal on Cole Grade Road before bombing back down Lake Wohlford Road into Escondido for the last few miles of Stage 8?

Amgen Tour of California: Stage 8 KOM: Palomar Mountain @ 5,000 Feet

Little panorama just past 5,000-foot mark. Riders have a few more switchbacks past here to reach summit. Predicting that tempo will be lifted between the 4,000 and 5,000-foot markers. A fun place to play cat-and-mouse since the switchbacks are short and you can disappear from those less fortunate if you have great legs on this day.