Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Tour of Alberta 2014

It is a real treat to watch the pros ride by at 50 km/h or more.  I stood at the curb and felt the wind blow by as these pros fought through wind and rain and grim.  They climbed the hills of Edmonton with tons of ferocity and descended fearlessly.  

For those of you who have watched the pros on TV, you need to see them in person.  It is amazing to see how fast you can make a bike go with your tires only centimeters from the rider in front of you.  I have done this many times, but it still gives me a bit of sphincter lock.  It doesn't matter to these guys if it's going uphill at 30 km/h or downhill at 70 km/h.  On TV, it is great, especially with the commentary from Phil and Paul.  But in person, the energy is pretty incredible.  The determination in their faces to keep racing is beyond compare and the level of professionalism is inspiring.  It must take a huge amount of professionalism to ride through the crap conditions day after day, get up off the tarmac after a fall and catch back up to the peloton when you're bleeding everywhere, or even when you have to answer really dumb questions after you just came in 2nd place by 1 second.  

A few notes about this year's tour.  Dumoulin was awesome here in Alberta and should have won the tour title; his amazing performance was only exceeded by the way he handled winning the white jersey instead of the yellow jersey.  Also, hats off to Tim Johnson, not only is he a cycling star, but he has a bright future in TV broadcasting.  Great job on colour commentary!  Ryan Anderson, the Red Jersey winner for best Canadian, was amazing.  He looks like a future winner.  The dirt sections referred to as Canadian Pave are nothing more than an interesting twist to the terrain.  If it was truly dangerous, the pros would slow down ... just like they do if a descent in the mountains is slick.  The brave will prevail!

Climbing at the Tour Of Alberta

Overall, the Tour was a huge success from my viewpoint.  The stages were interesting and challenging - the pros can handle anything including "Canadian Pave." The field was talented with lots of young, up-and-coming riders and diverse teams.  The events were family and fan friendly.  

Belkin Procycling Team has a  new fan.

Not much could be improved.  If we can somehow manage to get a tour stage to traverse one or several of our mountains, that would be perfect.  I would suggest a few climbs in Jasper National Park (more on that soon).  We have some huge mountains here in Alberta ... we should include them.  I know the National Parks are always a touchy subject, but it would be awesome for a professional bike race and have very little impact on the Parks.  It might even attract some of the best climbers, increase the clout of the race, attract more teams, and bring bigger sponsors to make it an economic super success. 

I hope to see you next year Tour of Alberta!


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