Saturday, September 28, 2013

Summer of the Hydrobike

Jesus walked on it. Mark Spitzed in it. Sponge Bob farted under it. Now I’ve cycled across it.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bicycletiquette: Shirtless Bib

Dear Jasper,

I saw this dude the other day in the park. It was smoking hot out, sure, but . . . really? Is this get-up—the bib shorts without a top—ever okay?


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cino Heroica 2013 Report

I’m 20 miles into the first day of the Cino Heroica, grinding along the dusty dirt and gravel back-roads of Montana on my 1983 Bianchi, when I see a cluster of bikes and riders gathered in an opening. Ah, a rest stop. And what am I to be offered at this break? Oreos and Gatorade, you think? No, for this is no regular bike race. Try bacon, cooked up on the spot on a Coleman stove. And Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Now that’s Cino!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Prologue Report

“Exquisite.” That’s the word Peter Sagan used to describe how he felt after winning the prologue of the inaugural Tour of Alberta last night. Sagan’s English may be a bit shaky, but his word choice on this occasion was perfect. He pretty much nailed how a lot of us who attended last night’s time trial felt when it was all over.

The weather was about as good as it gets in early September around here, a respectable crowd showed up (at least where my gang was, on the hill going up to the legislature), and there was a kind of electricity in the air, especially as the final riders (Sagan, Evans, and Hesjedal) zoomed past. It was a remarkable evening for Edmonton cycling fans, a rare chance to see these strong-men up close. (I could have touched several of the riders—they came that close to the curb I was standing on.) My sons got into the action too, snapping action photos and holding up a home-made sign (a reference to Cadel Evans's deadpan remark at Monday's press conference: "I notice you've got a few potholes here." The mayor was standing next to him. The crowd cracked up.)

And it was also a special evening for Edmonton. The crowd wasn’t spectacular, but it was spirited, lively, appreciative. I’m not sure how many people on the roadside knew what was really going on, but they clapped and cheered for everyone, in solid Canadian fashion. For a lovely few hours the city felt downright cosmopolitan—the kind of place you’d see on television. It was a promising start, not just to this year’s race, but perhaps to something bigger.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tour of Alberta: Q & A

The Tour of Alberta kicks off on Tuesday, September 3, with a prologue in Edmonton’s city centre. (Five stages follow, hopscotching south for the grand finish in Calgary.) This is a new event and a huge deal for both Canadian cycling and Alberta. Some elite professional teams will be here (Garmin-Sharp, Cannondale Pro, BMC Racing, for instance) as will some big names in the sport: Cadel Evans, Peter Sagan, and Canada’s own Ryder Hesjedal (complete with hipster sunglasses).  Around the Gates’ household, we’re pretty excited. We’ve watched these guys on television every July, but the prospect of seeing them live is a little thrilling. My youngest son is, for reasons I don’t entirely understand, crafting a “Go Evans!” placard, while I am thinking of dressing up as a giant Jelly Belly, in honor of the team with the coolest name in the race. 

But as the anticipation grows, several questions about the fledgling T of A linger. Here are a few, some of which I will attempt to answer/speculate on.