I’ve enjoyed the “tourtracker” feature that the Amgen Tour of California and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge have provided through their websites. You get streaming video as well as text updates and an updating graphic which shows a profile of the course and where the race is on the course. The feature is created and managed by a third party provider, Tour Tracker, which is contracted by the event.
Since they don’t do it for every race and I like the setup, it’s addicting having all that info on my screen, I’ve taken to creating my own version. It’s fairly simple to do with a Firefox browser.
I mentioned this towards the end of this year’s Giro. I’m bringing up again now that the Vuelta is under way.
First, I create the tiled web browser screen.
I can set the tiles I want in the dimensions and order I want, and save it. I started with the layout “4 Tabs – Horizontal Grid.” As I only want three tiles showing, Two at the top, one across the bottom, I drag one of the tiles all the way to the side of the screen so it is effectively gone.
Second, I put the video stream in the upper left hand tile.
I find video streams with Steephill.tv’s Vuelta dashboard. A similar site is Cyclingfans.com’s Vuelta a Espana Live page.
Third, I put the text updates in the upper right hand tile.
The Live Update Guy offers the best written play-by-play in the bike racing business. If you have a need to read live bike racing, LUG is your guy.
Part of the reason is practice. LUG is the nom de plume of one Charles Pelkey, who, in a time long ago and a place far away, was staffer at VeloNews, writing the live action at major stage races for them. Times change and he was out. Now he’s getting his bike racing on by live blogging for himself. He’s good at the action. And when the race gets slow, conversation begins–in our disconnected connected world, it makes being alone together more convivial.
Visit him for the the Giro, the Tour, the Vuelta, and many of the monuments. More importantly, leave something nice in his tip jar (upper right corner). He works on the public radio model and viewer support is what pays his way. Independent journalism depends on people showering the cheddar on those doing good works.
Fourth, I put the updating infographic in the bottom tile.
Another third-party platform provider, Infostrada, has been contracted by Sky (whether it is the team or the network I haven’t been able to figure out) to provide updating infographics for some big races. I don’t know why its hard to find in a web search, but it is. It is not easy to find on the Sky Procycling site nor the Sky Sports site. When I was searching around, I found Infostrada and wrote them directly. They quickly responded and directed me here.
When I close the tiled window at the end of the day, so long as I have the home pages saved for Infostrada and LUG, I can close the tiled window, reopen it the next day, click on the new stage on both sites, and I’m ready to go. The stream urls seem to update themselves.
After the Giro, I was considering adding a Twitter stream for the Tour. The stream I was watching for the Tour did it for me, but haven’t found it for the Vuelta. Still Not sure where to fit it in.