The Rapha Women Ambassadors recently tackled the route of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California, while the men’s teams readied themselves for race starting this Sunday. With Team Sky on the books and Bradley Wiggins in attendance, the race is living up to its name as the most hotly contested stage race in the US. Plus, we have a hard time staying away from California, so we will be back in full force with a new Rapha Mobile Cycle Club serving Stumptown Coffee, with a few surprises along the way.
The Mobile Cycle Club will be doing its thing at most of the stage starts. The team parking area is generally a good place to set up and gawk at the wafer-thin pros as they make their way from the team busses to the sign-in. We will post up and start pulling shots of Stumptown Hairbender espresso as early as we can. On stages 3, 6 and 8 we will be out on course, so there will be rides to meet the MCC on those days – if you happen to be in one of the start towns, keep an eye on the Rapha North America Instagram account, @Rapha_N_America, so that you can join us for some pedaling.
- Stage Three – Mt. Diablo
- Stage Six – Santa Clarita – Mt. High
- Stage Eight – Thousand Oaks
Before the race officially kicks into gear, one of our Rapha Women Ambassadors – Meredith Miller – will be announcing the pro women’s crit happening during Stage One. She will head straight from the Rapha Women’s Prestige in nearby Oakland to announce at the race.
Then, the next day, Team Sky’s Ian Boswell will be at the MCC, pulling shots of espresso and signing autographs at the start of Stage Two in Folsom. We did an interview with Ian last year for our US Pro Challenge booklet and found out that he has quite a good time with his home coffee machine, so we have challenged him to step behind the bar for a moment or two before his day gets underway. Follow along on Instagram and Twitter for exact time and location of the MCC. Check out Riviera Cowboy: an Interview with Ian Boswell for a better idea of who this young racer is. Or, better yet, take a lesson in descending with him in our Little Things series, Descending. It is going to be great to see the young American tackle the Tour of California.
In addition to our usual array of finery — the Mt. Diablo T-shirt for example — we have partnered up with Delaware based design shop House Industries to make something special for your cycling wardrobe. We put the design brief to them to produce a few limited edition caps for the week and they came back with one for each stage. Using their yet to be released House Velo font, they designed eight different caps that will be available only at the Mobile Cycle Club. Do not call the office, do not try to find them on our website, you must be live and direct to make this one happen. The cycling caps, not hats, look fantastic, with the colors of the leaders jerseys and the stage starts and finishes have been printed on them.
But, the fun doesn’t end there. We will be hanging out with our friends at Skratch Labs as much as possible. They like to keep us full of food, because they know we get grumpy otherwise (pro tip: ask for the “kitchen sink” if you ever see their food truck out there, it is everything they make in one bowl, with an egg on top). Plus, they have added another element to their already stunning race support, so we look forward to seeing how that unfolds. We’ll do our best to document all this, as will our photographer friend John Watson and his newly minted website, The Radavist.
All that, plus a bag of chips. This will be the first time that Team Sky returns to the Tour of California since 2010. Former Tour de France Champion Bradley Wiggins will be in the spotlight, and there are some returning riders that will have to be watched. Peter Sagan has thrived at this race, but word on the street is that Mr. Cavendish may give him a run for his money. But, it doesn’t stop there, anything could happen with riders like Tom Boonen, Matty Goss and Thor Hushovd in the bunch.
All in all this is going to be one exciting week of bicycle racing in the sun.