Monday, 6 August 2012

Non-Cycling fan turned fan…?

I always liked spinning classes. Instructors push you, yell at you and when the class is done, you leave the room exhausted and exhilarated all at once. But I was never that interested in cycling in the city or going for a bike ride. In fact, before I my job, I had only been riding mountain bikes down green level runs in Squamish and not very often! It’s a wonder my bosses let me take out groups of 14 with that limited practice!

I have a brother and sister-in-law who are both triathletes and accomplished cyclists. They can talk your ear off about cross bars, tire widths and proper handle bars depending on the type of cycling you do. I’m not going to lie, I enjoy listening to their stories, watching them race and even participating in a few training days while I visiting them. But, it wasn’t until I was surrounded by the cycling culture that I started to understand what made the sport so interesting.

In the past two weeks, I have witnessed world class cycling. I stood at the finish line of the Tour de France, cheering on the athletes with a few thousand fans and then went to the Olympics in London and, standing near Buckingham Palace, cheered athletes racing in both the men’s 75km and women’s 140km through the finish line. Let me tell you, they are FAST! Watching it on TV really doesn’t give you that perspective. I had absolutely NO idea just how quickly they could go. On my bike, as soon as I start to get some speed I get excited and immediately grip the breaks because I’m going so fast. My speed has nothing on these cyclists who are probably going double that speed UP hill. Sigh…

Europeans are much more interested in cycling it seems. I’ve definitely been swept up in the excitement! You won’t catch me talking about proper style and strategy any time soon but I can enjoy it.

While waiting for the athletes to come down the Champs Elysees, I was educated by a five year old boy on the racers! Allison and I were taught how the Tour de France works, and what type of bikes the cyclists are using depending on where they are in France. He them boasted proudly his bike was a [insert fancy bike name here] and said, “I am going to be just like Bradley Wiggins one day!” I swear I was looking at my nephew in a few years!

Standing in Hyde Park when team GB won silver in the women’s 140km race, was as though Canada just won the Olympic hockey gold medal all over again. It didn’t seem to matter we were all soaked to the skin from waiting in the rain; people celebrating throughout the city.

It looks like I’m going to have to invest in a road bike when I get home. This is just too fun!

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