Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tour de Victoria

The first Tour de Victoria took place today, and I had a great time without even getting on my bike. I was a volunteer marshal, one of over 400 volunteers for the bike event. In a perfect world, I would have ridden my bike to the spot I was assigned, but Bernie dropped me off as he took Karl & Stephanie's car to go bird-sitting.
It was a thrilling day! I got to see the host for the ride, Ryder Hesjedal as he rode past my location. I'm sure that one of those hard-bodied speed demons in the lead peloton was Ryder. They all looked muscular, and focused. Lemme tell ya, after a hundred and twenty klicks with a few hills along the way, fifty guys all wearing Lycra and a layer of sweat & road dust look a lot like Ryder. And that's the way it should be.
There's a reason I participated in the Tour as a volunteer rather than a rider. The route was 140 km long, and people were expected to complete it in less than six hours. There was an alternate route only 90 km long. And for those shrieking "ONLY?" there was also a Family Ride around Beacon Hill Park with Silken Laumann, which was a very inclusive alternative.
Out of the twelve hundred or so riders I applauded, there were three odd bikes on the course. One was a recumbent, another a tandem, and I spotted a folding bike's tiny wheels. One woman wore a helmet cover that looked like a yellow puffer fish -- very sporty! But my vote for Biker of the Day goes to the man riding next to a woman as their peloton of friends approached the hill on King George Terrace. He stretched out his arm and put one hand at the base of her spine, giving her a little boost as they took that first curving slope on the double-slope hill. Good man.

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