Archive for the ‘cycling’ Category

Rage against the machine…and it’s driver

Another Monday morning commute. At least I thought it was going to be. 1 km from work I see a blue Audi come tearing across the lane (a bike and bus lane I might add!) and then wham!

Normally the next part of the story is about how the driver stops and feverishly apologizes to me. Not this time.

I’ve been out for around 2500 km this year. Far less the I would like but you have to take it where you can get it. With these hours comes a certain amount of bike handling. So this is how it went on that day.

I feel the thud of his rear quarter panel and it clips my wheel. Luckily I don’t go down. Who would do this? What kind of absolute moron would hit a bike and keep driving? I was going to find out.

This is where it the story twists. Alright, I know I didn’t have to catch him or approach him, but this guy had nearly ended my day on the road at 8 am. So I caught up and road to the outside and gave a forceful knock on his window.

At this point he begins screaming at me that I need to F off, get off the road and few other things that I can’t rightfully print. I let him know that he hit me and needs to learn how to drive. Well…I might have been a little more colorful than that.

At this point I was seeing that this guy had no remorse about what he did and was probably would do it again. Then, he did.

I didn’t even register that he was turning his wheel until I saw the car surge right towards me. He hit the gas like it was the start line at a quarter mile track and plowed right into me.

I went down. My bike was on me. Luckily I had bounced and deflected. It wasn’t too direct of an impact. Then as I began to get up and try to process what had just happened I hear this lunatic driver yelling “you broke my mirror…that’s it!” and now this 250 pound maniac runs at me and does a mid-tackle on me.

Now we are on the ground. This monster is on top of me holding my legs. I’m close to giving him a cleat in the face but I know better. People are now out of their cars and yelling at this lunatic to stop and back off. I say the only thing that seems right to say. Almost in a whisper.

“You lay another finger on me and I’ll own your car”

With that he backs up, picks my speedometer off the ground (probably a trophy) and goes to his car. Someone comes over to check if I’m ok and then the lunatic does what he knows best, and he flees the scene.

Nobody can believe it. But with all the chaos going on, nobody gets a license plate. Lovely.

In the end…I’m ok. I’m now a transit rider. I can’t have my family worrying about me every day so I’ll hve to accept defeat and move on.

Car versus bike: Car 1, Bike 0

To you fine driver…I hope I did break your mirror. And I hope it costs a lot to fix.

To everyone out there. Take care out on the roads.

http://www.yieldtolife.org

Olympics and Canadian Cycling

Olympic spirit struck without notice. I didn’t plan to watch a lot of the olympics. I haven’t been shy about my opinions against hosting the event in China for many reasons. Plus, I’m Canadian so we’re not known for having a great showing at the summer games.

Having come off of a great Tour de France I was pretty sure that the TV would be off for a year except for the occasional CSI and watching stuff with the family. Then I realized that there was a chance for some quality cycling to hit the airwaves again. That being said, I know that these games are mostly about gymnasts, sprinters and swimmers (OK…we get it…Michael Phelps is a good swimmer. Enough already).

So I setup the NBC alert to tell me when the races were on, which was great. Except of course for the fact that none of it was on TV…grrrr. It’s all swimming and gymnastics in the opening days so sports like cycling get bumped to the highlight reel. I decide that I’ll have to get the news the old fashioned way by seeing the results and then catching the replay later to confirm what I already know.

Canadians do many things well. One of those things is ride bikes. Alright, we may not do it as well as the US, Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium and a few other European countries. Even Luxembourg. We do however hold up pretty well in North American pro-category racing and in triathlon. We may not have many riders out there, but the few that we have are there on pure guts. Canada doesn’t spend a lot of money on sports compared to other countries. That’s another subject altogether.

So let me get to my point. Svein Tuft. 4 time National Time Trial champion. He’s a powerhouse who wins most of the events he enters. Svein is not known as the “sit in the pack” guy who has an explosive sprint. He gets things done in the way of another of my favourite riders – Jens Voigt. Svein rides above and beyond with one simple goal, break away and put the hurt on everyone in the pack until they can’t catch up.

On the world level though, I had some doubt about our Canadians being able to hold off a strong field of European Pro Tour riders. Svein Tuft is a local phenom, but these guys (including Canadian Ryder Hesjedal) ride bigger races with 6 figure salaries and support vehicles, massive sponsorships and training programs. Svein rides like hell in some amazing races, but as an armchair athlete I found it hard to imagine comparing our local hero against the best in the world.

The time trial came and went, and I caught the whole thing in the highlights and online results. And then I saw it:

1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)    1.02.11.43 (45.350 km/h)
2 Gustav Erik Larsson (Sweden)          0.33.36
3 Levi Leipheimer (United States)       1.09.68
4 Alberto Contador (Spain)              1.18.08
5 Cadel Evans (Australia)               1.23.54
6 Samuel Sánchez (Spain)                2.25.81
7 Svein Tuft (Canada)                   2.28.01
8 Michael Rogers (Australia)            2.35.42
9 Stef Clement (Netherlands)            2.47.99
10 Robert Gesink (Netherlands)          2.51.45
11 Stephen Cummings (Great Britain)     2.56.48
12 David Zabriskie (United States)      3.06.39
13 Stefan Schumacher (Germany)          3.13.95

That’s 7th in the world! And not just that, but 38 seconds ahead of US National Time Trial champion (and known as “the most aerodynamic rider in the pro peloton”) Dave Zabriskie. Then I saw number Stefan Schumacher at number 13 another 7 seconds adrift. Schumacher won both of the time trials in the 2008 Tour de France.

All I can say is Go Svein Go. Awesome work and much respect.

Read about his start in cycing here: http://www.bcsportsbeat.ca/More/olympian_svein_tuft_story_719.htm