Mike and I took the less-traveled route from Palmdale up to Big Bear, Pearblossom Highway then Cal 18 through Victorville and Lucerne Valley, and up the backside of Big Bear. Steep, but shorter than the frontside. It worked because we were the first rig to make it to the Best Western in Big Bear, so we got the choice parking spots. And I had plenty of time to finish my tasks before the racers arrived, so I was able to get over to the race finish at the base of the Snow Summit ski lifts.
As I was waiting out the spin cycles at the local laundromat, there was a group of riders sitting in front of the cafe next door having a meal. They had ridden up from Redlands for the stage and brought along a folded up banner exclaiming their fondness for Phil, Paul and Bob. You’ll see it in the photo collection when I get that posted.
Today was a HUGE day, biggest of the tour. For UHC, we lost Karl Menzies who had to abandon due to injuries suffered in crashes, but on the final climb up to Big Bear, Marc de Maar took a flyer and got away with up to a 40 second gap. Unfortunately, the final 14 or so kilometers of the stage were not uphill, so he got chased down and caught just before 1K remaining. It was glorious while it lasted! Teammate Rory Sutherland was in the catch group and went for the sprint, edging out Michael Rogers for 2nd.
At dinner later in the evening I told Marc that he went to 11 today. Being that he is pretty young, and from Holland, I did not expect him to get the reference. So I explained the whole Spinal Tap movie concept and the scene where Christopher Guest is being interviewed about his amp and he shows the unique volume control, saying that “it goes to 11”.
Shall post more photos as soon as I get the wireless networking working on my laptap.
3 days later I finally get them posted: Big Bear pix