Alberta Spin fall `08 - Alberta Bicycle Association



Alberta Spin fall `08 - Alberta Bicycle Association
Alberta Spin fall '08
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Volume 38, Issue 2,
Autimn 2008
Canadian Cyclo-Cross
National Championships
Alberta Bound
Publication of the Alberta Bicycle Association
Alberta Spin fall '08
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Alberta Spin fall '08
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Fall 2008, Volume 38 No. 2
Executive Director’s Message
Road & Track Season Review
2008 MTB Season Review
BMX Season Review
The ABA Annual General Meeting
Where Masters Race
Commissaire Tips
2008 Beijing BMX
Canadian Cyclo-cross
The Better Way
Travel: Cape Town
Cover Photo - of who
Photo by ?????????
Publication Agreement Number: 1467549
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
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Alberta proud
elcome to our second issue of the year – we hope you enjoyed the first
one and we are hoping that this one will live up to all the hype. We
now completed all provincial championships with the exception of
Cyclo-Cross. So far, this has been a great season with more racers, riders and
great quality riding happening. But it is not over! In only a few weeks,
Edmonton will soon play host to the Cyclo-Cross Canadian National
Championships (article inside).
We will also play host to the our Annual General Meeting on November 9th in
Calgary. This will be your chance to be part of the inner workings of the ABA
and provide your feedback on the season. I encourage everyone to turn out and
find out more about the organization and participate in committees where our
members serve. We constantly strive to improve and this will be no exception.
We’ve recently added some new blood to the ABA office in Edmonton with
Cam McKnight joining the team as the Road, Track and Cyclo-Cross
Coordinator. Cam is a long-time cyclist and his accolades include winning a
Canada Games Gold, the Michael Almadal Scholarship and serving as president
of the Edmonton Road and Track Club.
The ABA membership was recently done proud with three members participating at the Olympic Games and two at the Paralympic Games. Samantha Cools
led the Canadian BMX charge into Beijing finishing 7th in the finals. Tanya
Dubnicoff and Ken Cools also led their contingents with Tanya as head coach of
Team Canada and Ken as the head coach to Team New Zealand. Brayden
McDougall (bicisport) and Shauna White and Devon Smibert (Synergy) also did
Alberta proud representing Canada at the Paralympic Games. On the road
Jessica Kissel (bicisport) and David Larson (Juventus) qualified and competed at
the Junior World Road and Track Championships. Dustin Andrews (CMC/Bow
Cycle) also made the Canadian Team and competed at the Nations Cup in
Québec finishing as the highest place Canadian.
Finally, we would like to thank all our members and supporters for all your
tireless work through the year – without you cycling in Alberta wouldn’t be
where it is today. Our hope is that we can always meet your expecations and we
look forward to hearing from you with new ideas, areas of improvement, or if
something is going well please feel free to call us on 1-877-646-BIKE or by email
[email protected]
Best of Luck and Great Riding!
Kipp Kaufmann
Executive Director
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
Executive Director
Kipp Kaufmann
[email protected]
Administrative Assistant
Monica Brooks
[email protected]
Sport Coordinator
(Road, Track & Cyclo-cross)
Scott Kelly
[email protected]
Sport Coordinator
Roddi Lega
[email protected]
Provincial Coach
Jayson Gillespie
[email protected]
Alan Schietzsch
VP Administration
Simon Richard
VP Racing
Jim Smith
Jim Negenmen
VP Recreation & Transportation
Natasha Kuzmak
Chief Commissaire
Bernie Fagnan
Members at Large
Mark Roberts
Lance Adamson
Glen Pratt
Jeff Davis
The Alberta Bicycle Association
office is open Monday through
Friday 9am to 5pm. The office is
located at 11759 Groat Road,
Edmonton, AB T5M 3K6.
Phone: 1-877-646-2453
Email: [email protected]
Alberta Spin is produced by
the Harris Media Group for the
Alberta Bicycle Association.
Yukio Yamada
[email protected]
The Alberta Bicycle Association is proudly
supported by:
Alberta Spin fall '08
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w w w. a l b e r t a b i c y c l e . a b . c a
Season Review
Photo courtesy of Alan Schietzsch
APRIL TO SEPTEMBER: six months of a road
season jam-packed with a plethora of racing
events catering to the full spectrum of age-andability categories of those involved in Alberta
cycling. A word that easily characterizes this
recently-ended season is “more” - more races
on the calendar; more “twists” added to the traditional favourites; more new organizers emerging
onto the scene; more competition and…more of
just everything cycling-related in general. Such
vast and diverse growth has, as is par for the
course, been accompanied by both pain and
gain; however the “gains” have certainly emerged
victorious. Take a moment to settle in as we
briefly recount some of the numerous highlights
(and a couple of low-lights!) that arose on the
“rolling hills and scenic landscapes” of the 2008
ABA’s events.
Cast your memory back to April, when the
Road and Track season launched in customary
fashion with the GP bici – and its equally-as-customary Race City Speedway cancellation, due to
Calgary’s inevitable “late spring” cold, ice, windchill, and snow. Despite one event being thwarted by weather-and-safety issues, the stage was
set for the bici TT to take place. The outcome
most memorable: the setting up of what would
become a year-long battle between Bruce
Copeland (Juventus) and Gideon Krishtalka
(Team H&R Block).
The “showers” (and snow-storms) of April heralded both the arrival of May (and perchance,
Ahhh, the
Memories of
“Rolling Hills
and Scenic
(By Carol Lastname?, and with immense
creative input, editing and all-around support
from Andy Lastname?…thank you!!)
summer) and the much anticipated Velocity Stage
Race. Though the skies remained clear, the unrelenting prairies winds once again hurled their
forces against the time-trialists and pelotons on
the roads of Josephburg. The crit proved to be
exciting, replete with riders antsy to show their
form after a winter’s hiatus. While a few had their
competition compromised by crashes and ensuing, lingering injuries, the event definitely
retained its status as being a most enjoyable,
challenging race, for riders and spectators alike.
Following Velocity, a contingent of cyclists – with
their sights set on gaining points to move up the
ability-category ladder - headed to Saskatoon’s
Bikes on Broadway for the May long weekend.
Many, indeed, achieved their goals. The May 2425 weekend was to see the first track meet of the
season; instead, with summer still not playing
fair, the Spring Clean-Up became the Spring
Rain-Out (at least it wasn’t snowing). The month
ended with Criterium Maximum, a welcome new
calendar event, where competitors hotly rallied for
position in a tightly cornered “arena-like course,”
looping around the parking lot of the Red Deer
Centrium. As its name suggests, the race
revealed maximum athletic efforts, to spectators
who delighted in the spectacle.
On the heels of Criterium Maximum, June
opened with the time-honoured Pigeon Lake
Road Race, complete with the well-received
Category 6, and the traditional post-race barbeque-and-social gathering. Just about the time
we were voicing concerns about weather playing
havoc with track meets, the winds, clouds and
rains did an about-turn, allowing the Velocity
Shish Ka Bob to actually happen. Banff Bike
Fest – demonstrating incredible flair and pizzazz
as a “first ever” race – proved to be “quite” the
new addition to the calendar. Predominately an
“invitational” event, the Fest drew an assortment
of elite Alberta and BC teams. While the highcalibre racing was more than enough to garner
the public’s attention, the antics of Banff’s own
Crazy Larry – balloon-artist, cheer-leader and
cycling-fan extraordinaire - added an extra
dimension to the festival-like atmosphere that
enveloped the mountain town for two days.
Based on the positive response received, we can
be assured the impressive Banff Bike Fest is
continued on page 6
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
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Season Review
Continued from page 5
scheduled for a repeat performance. From the mountains back to the
prairies – and there: the Devon Grand Prix, with its wild downtown
street sprints, a 39 km, buffeted-by-winds-and-cool-temperatures Time
Trial, and an exciting Road Race circumnavigating the middle of,
well…the rolly hills and scenic fields surrounding Devon. The
Cloverlawn ITT was the June wrap-up.
July 1st – and what better way to celebrate a mid-week day-off than
at Edmonton’s Legislative Grounds, host-site for the Canada Day
Criterium. The scenic, undulating circuit, with its trademark downhill
chicane (and array of varying depth potholes!), boasts a strong proud
presence, and a guarantee of exciting race strategy. For the next
while, many ABA’ers went west to race BC SuperWeek, while other folk
enjoyed the Stampede Road Race, at which the commissaires dressed
western and followed on horseback (just kidding – but given the
opportunity, they were game to do so!!). Also on the race menu was
the first run of the Speed Theory Time Trials, showcasing what is sure
to become its trademark “Killer Kilometer,” embedded into an alreadygrueling two time-trial, back-to-back competition. July finished off with
a welcome, much-needed reprieve from racing. At this point, everyone
preoccupied themselves by watching Tour de France and hyping up for
the upcoming challenges the next month would bring.
August – and the inaugural Calgary Bike Week. With its stellar reputation firmly entrenched in the cycling community, the Tour de
Bowness was first up. The signature hill climb and crit received
increased “add this to the competition” status this year, with the addition of a road race, which took riders along the rolly, scenic landscape
northwest of Cochrane. The signature crit – through downtown
Bowness – was as popular as always (even commissaries place the
crit on their “top three events to officiate” list!!) as were the usual
shenanigans involving Elvis, Pilsner, and several crazed Bownesians.
On the heels of the Bowness three-day event, was a terrific newcomer
to the racing series – the Bearspaw Open, sponsored by – and,
indeed, under the escort of - the RCMP. The 5.6km circuit race took
competitors around the challenging (and yes, rolling) terrain surrounding the Bearspaw Open golf course. Bike Week finished off with the
Provincial ITT at Canmore. The week also afforded championship
opportunities for the province’s slate of strong, competitive youth riders, with road events embedded within the Tour de Bowness (criterium), the Bearspaw Open (road race), and the Canmore ITT, as well as
a special Youth Championship Provincial Track Meet. We do have an
impressive cast of young up-and-coming cyclists, as was clearly evident through these competitions.
After a week’s break, racing resumed with Track Provincial
Championships in Edmonton, where both the temperatures and the
racing were hot. Next up was the Provincial Road Race, which followed a course similar to the Tour de Bowness RR route. What happened of note? The two lead women (Pepper and Nik) finished handin-hand, and Cyrus Kangarloo made up for a few missed races by
knackering himself to ride nearly 50km solo, finishing well ahead of
those in his category.
With August over, just a few events were left before the ABA peloton
turns into a bunch of uber-enthusiastic cyclo-cross fanatics. The final
Speed Theory Time Trial (those guys really like ITT’s) was contested, as
was the Masters’ Road Race during the first weekend in September.
Racing finished off with the traditional Norquay Hill Climb: results saw
Krishtalka set a strong overall finish time, as well as new records in
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
tourdebowness_crit. caption????
the Women’s and U17 Men’s categories (Danelle Kabush – Luna,
Samuel Beaudoin – Juventus, respectively).
So…where does the season leave us? With respect to ITTs Krishtalka 3, Copeland 3. Looks like we need a ride off – Anyone
(Speed Theory, perhaps?) up for organizing a November TT?
If not…it’s on to Cyclo-cross!!!
A few wrap-up “BRAVOS” from the season…
● Tara Whitten (Velocity) with impressive results in a number of
women’s events;
● Tim Heemskerk (United) winning the Banff Bike Fest Criterium;
● Team H&R Block obtaining Trade Team status, stepping up their
elite program great new races: Criterium Maximum, Bearspaw
Open, Tour de Bowness RR, Banff Bike Fest
● Banff Bike Fest – ready for the next level
● Bill Blonski (bicisport) – a real ambassador of the sport with his
enthusiasm and participation!
● The motivating, inspiring and heart-warming presence of the
paralympic cyclists at the Speed Theory ‘Last Chance” Itt:
JP Austring, Brian Martin, John Bereczki and especially, Courtney
Sarvis. Thank you for reminding us what can be accomplished
with positive attitudes, determination and perseverance.!!
● Midweek Cycling’s weekly crit races in Calgary; midweek racing
in Edmonton
And most important – bravo to all those who raced and, in so
doing, succeeded in reaching whatever goals they set for themselves!!
Good on you!
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Roddi’s Stimulating 2008 MOUNTAIN BIKE SEASON
The year of the rat,
2008 was a splendid move in the right direction for mountain biking as we had a majestic
17 races on the dirt in our glorious province of
The Alberta Down Hill Riders Association
(ADHRA) stepped up to the plate again this
year and hosted the entire gravity series with 4
low down on the DH, downhill races. If it wasn’t for el president Doug “No Name Needed”
Zeck of the ADHRA, we wouldn’t have had any
DH races in Alberta for the past few years. We
owe them a passionate kiss/hug combo for all
of their tireless efforts. The kickin’ it live events
were held at Edmonton’s Rabbit Hill, Golden
BC’s Kickinghorse resort, Blairmore’s Pass
Powderkeg was the Provincial Championships,
and Calgary’s COP. All events were well attended and colossal smiles were seen by riders all
around. Holler to Ty “Baron Von Skillz” Paksi of
ADHRA for taking home the “Leader” plate and
the series title, and to Nick “Awesome” Quinn
(Calgary Cycle) who laser raced the fastest
time at the Provincials.
The lonely yet powerful 1,300 rider strong,
24 Hours of Adrenaline (which was also the
World Solo Championships), was held in
Canmore on a handsome July weekend.
Alberta riders Cory “Magic Man” Wallace
(Freeskool) and Dallas “Shake ‘N Bake” Morris
(H & R Block) represented our motherland like
true strongmen lumberjacks with their
respectable 5th and 8th place finishes.
For the cross-country riders, we had 12
events. I can remember it like it was yesterday…It all started way back in April at the
Coulee Cruiser in Lethbridge, where riders raved
about the new course layout. Riders were
heard saying things like, “best Lethbridge
course ever!”, and, “The fight is
won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym
and out there on the dirt, long
before I dance on the pedals
under that sun.”, and “Anytime I
see something screech across a
room and latch onto someone's
neck, and the guy screams and
tries to get it off, I have to laugh,
because what is that thing.”
Next up was the first of 4 races
that were hosted by the honorable
Evan (Suffer Face) Sherman and Mike
(Wrecking Ball) Sarnecki, of Alberta MTB
Racing. Will Ferrell once said in a famous
Saturday Night Live skit, “We need more cow
bell”, and that’s what these guys did. They
bought 200 cow bells from a top secret cow
bell dealer that was located somewhere near
“area 51” in the Arizona desert, and handed
them out at the first 2 races. These guys
stepped up the level of fun and atmosphere at
all of their events which were the Perogy XC,
Bacon Buffett of Pain and Suffering, Nordegg
Life Checklist, and the XC Provincials. Great
hustle guys! No one will never again say, “we
need more cow bell”.
Returning XC races in ’08 were the Canmore
Iron Lung, Summer Solstice in Bragg Creek,
Canmore Canada Cup, Devon Dust Up of Lower
Devonshire, and the legendary Bow 80. Your
writers favorite mountain bike trails in the World
are part of 2 races. One is the Canmore
Canada Cup course, which was brought to you
by the Rundle Mountain Cycling Club. The
other was hosted by Cyclemiesters/Bow Cycle
and they were the ones with the sweet tasting
B-B-Q sausage that was handed out at the Iron
Lung, which took place on the Nordic Center’s
lower trails. Rave reviews came from the vast
majority of riders. I personally would like to
thank Canmore and all of the Canmore organizers for being excellent!
Alberta’s oldest XC race course is the Suffer
Springs Summer Solstice, and it is always good
for some muddin’. On some of the same trails
as the Summer Solstice is the famous Bow 80.
This grand event sold out 200 spots in less
three hours. That’s almost as much time as it
takes for Roddi “Hot Sauce” Lega to complete
the race course. Livin’ Lavida Loca that’s crazy!
The demand is there for the riders, which
proves that with a heck of an
event, comes a heck of a lot of
racers. Heck YEAH!
The Devon Dust up was hosted
by Hardcore of Edmonton. I
don’t know how a race on the
prairies could have so much
climbing, but it did. The guys
cooked up burgers and the rain
stayed away just long enough for
Hot Sauce to lock his keys in his
car. Doh! But the trials dudes
that were demoing their super
skills helped us break it open and the day
ended on a happy note with another burger
and another cool event.
Brand spanking new events in the year of
the rat were the Hinton Moustache Madness,
and the Giver-8-er which took place at
Calgary’s COP. Cory “Magic Man” Wallace and
Freewheel Cycle in Jasper kicked in to organize
the Moustache Madness. The new course got
spectacular reviews, and moustache madness
was had by all. The Giver-8-er was Alberta’s
sole 8 hr event and oh boy do people love to
sit on their bike seats for 8 hrs. This attractive
young go-getter of a race was hosted by
Deadgoat and it was part of the Western
National Marathon Series. Deagoat held a
wonderful event and Crazy Larry announced the
full 8 hrs with all his might. Good times!
The blissful winners of both the XC series
and the Provincial Championships were, Tim
“The Lean Mean Heemskerk’en Machine”
Heemskerk (United Cycle) and Pepper
“Crushfield” Harlton (Juventus). Lovable nicknames for Tim and Pepper, by some destroyer
bike riders. The Western National Marathon
Series winners were the
And that’s that. The super enjoyable ’08
mountain bike season all wrapped up in a nice
package! See you all in ’09.
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
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Season Review
2008 goes down in history as the year BMX
hit the big time (finally) with it’s inclusion
into the Olympics. Although our girl Sammy
didn’t medal we are all proud of how well
she did and hope for more Canadian content in 2012. By Darren Williams
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
On the local front BMX racing in Alberta continues to grow with
rider counts increasing with every Provincial. With BMX in the spotlight in the Olympics we’re all wondering what kind of a rider
increase we will see next season!
We saw a rise in the number of Junior and Elite racers at the
races this year too, which is a good sign for the 2012 Olympics.
This year also saw the resurrection of the CBA (Canadian BMX
Association) to help with the organization of the Western National
Series. This series challenges riders from both BC and Alberta (and
perhaps Saskatchewan soon!), in a series format similar to the
Provincial series.
Weather seemed to more of an issue this year with several rain
threatened races. In the end all the Provincials made it through
Mother Nature’s wrath but the Western National Series final in
Calgary which fell victim to the rains again!
We also experienced the BMX community come together for a
young boy who was hurt in a BMX accident this year in the form of
donations and even a track Provincial host switch.
The Provincial Cup Series began at the always awesome Morley
indoor facility in March and was followed next in June at the
Calgary track in a co-host situation between Calgary and Okotoks
BMX. Next the series returned to Stony Plain after a 2 year
absence and for the second race in a row the rain stayed away just
enough to get the race completed. Airdrie the track of Olympian
Sam Cools held Provincial #4 in July, followed by an unexpected
Provincial for Cochrane in August. The last in the series before the
finals was held in Lethbridge in August as well. The Grands and
Provincial Championships completed the Provincial season in Red
Deer this September and the weather was great for that weekend.
The newly managed Western National Series also started off at
the Morley Indoor in March followed by two Nationals in Abbotsford
in June. In the regular series format of two Nationals per weekend
the next two were back in Alberta at Red Deer in July, then off to
BC again for a pair at Ridge Meadows. The final national and
Grands were held in Calgary on August 30-31. Well, at least the
final National was as the Grands never made it through the rain.
The CCA Canadian National Championships were back out West
this year and the great Abbotsford track designed by the same guy
who built the World’s and Olympic tracks was host to the event in
This year also saw the bi-annual Alberta Summer Games come
to Medicine Hat with BMX on the agenda and everything was hot
Yes, it was a great year for BMX
Alberta Spin fall '08
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ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
In the past issue the Spin’s readers learned why Masters race. The
topic of this issue is the brief description / location of a few prominent Masters’ races.
In the Alberta racing calendar, there are two road races for
Masters – Stampede Classics and Provincial Championships. Both
races are organized by Crankmasters of Calgary. Additionally, the calendar of club races of Masters of Calgary and Edmonton is an extensive one.
Our Western neighbor – BC, has set up the Masters Cycling
Association with a wide-ranging racing calendar. Most of the races
are within a day’s driving distance from Alberta. Many Alberta
Masters participate in them.
Higher level races outside Alberta include; the National
Championship, the North American Cup and the Huntsman Games.
The Nationals consists of three independent events – ITT, RR and
CR. For 3 years, 2007 – 2009, the Nationals are being hosted by St.
George in Quebec. Alberta usually performs well there – 2007 and
2008 produced a number of podium and high placing.
But the North American Cup is a much more exciting event. It is a
25-year old annual race in Sutton, Quebec. The Cup is a 4-stage
challenge where athletes are awarded medals in the individual events
and general classification. In 2007, Alberta was represented by 5
riders and earned one each - gold, silver and bronze in one-day races
and one bronze in the overall competition. Unfortunately in 2008,
there was only one participant from Alberta who earned one silver
and bronze in individual races and 4th place overall.
The race is a big event for Sutton and to commemorate the 25th
anniversary of this race in 2008, the town built a special arch where
most of the races started and medals were awarded. To increase the
challenge, most of the finishes were in various uphill locations.
Generally, the races include a lot of long, steep hills. 4-6 km climbs
at 8-10 degree were a common occurrence in 2008. There are individual, team and nation competitions. Hopefully, in the future, the
ABA will consider fielding a team there. In the Canadian racing calendar the race complement the Nationals. So many Masters migrate
between these two events.
The Pinnacle of the Masters’ racing is the Worlds in St. Johann,
Austria. If in the Canadian races participants divided into 10-year
age groups, in the Worlds they are divided into 5-year groups. In
2007, Canada was represented by top Canadian Time Trial specialist
Carolyn Soules of Calgary. She earned a respectable 5th place. The
competition there is brutal. The RR usually ends up in a bunch sprint
and in TT the speeds are over 45 km/hr.
For riders over 50 years old, there is the Huntsman Games in St.
George, Utah. The Games akin to the Olympics with many sports
included. The athletes are divided into 5-year age groups from 50 to
90! Cyclists can compete in road racing, cross country and triathlon.
The Games are popular with Albertans. Presently, there are 4 Calgary
racers in training for 2008 Games.
In the past, we all raced as individuals wearing our respective club
colours. This year we are asking the ABA to combine us into the
Alberta team. We support this request with a promise to promote the
Alberta flag, ABA colours and bring home medals
Photo courtesy of ?????????
Where Do Masters Race?
Alberta Spin fall '08
10:47 AM
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Time Trial
on running an
● Make your way to the start line, with the other Commissaires in
tow, at least 5 minutes prior to the start, announcing along the way
to the throngs of riders who are within earshot that the race will be
starting fairly soon. Use the bullhorn as you walk away from the hall;
word should get around quickly.
● Give a starting list to your Whip so that he/she can start yelling
at the riders to get their sh*t together and get themselves and their
trusty steeds to the line.
● Give your speech about people shouldn't be wandering all over
the road, and spectators and coaches should not be talking in your
ear; they can babysit their riders from the one ditch only(cone side).
● Tell you Holder that it is permissible to 'assist' those riders who
appear to stumble out of the gate, only in keeping the rider from
falling over. They may not propel riders forward or hold them back if
they false-start.
● Ask your Holder to confirm each rider's number when they come
to the 'gate' for their countdown so you can check them off when
they depart.
● You and the other Commissaires start your stop-watches (you
should have two watches running - one is your back-up) when it
appears that the event is ready to go (on time, hopefully)and then
tell the first rider that he will be starting in one minute. The FinishLine Commissaires can make their way to the finish.(if it is a 40Km
TT they will have almost an hour to crawl to the finish before the first
riders appear).
● If it is a very short time trial, be sure to start your watches early
enough to allow the Commissaires to get to the finish line! (don't forget to subtract the difference)
● Inform each rider not to move until after you say "GO" and tell
them when they have 30 seconds, 15 seconds, and then give them
the ' five, four, three, two, one, GO ' countdown. If any rider starts
rolling before you say go and they are blatant and obvious about it,
make a note of it next to their name. Discuss with the other
Commissaires afterwards the amount of the penalty(5 or 6 seconds...) you will be assessing and make sure the results show the
penalties in a separate column and what the penalty is for.
● If it appears that a rider is going to miss his/her start time,
make sure that the next rider does not try to fill that spot. Tell that
rider to relax while you send off the Ghost rider, and that he/she still
has another minute. If the late rider shows up to the line within that
next minute, give the rider the choice to race with the clock running,
or that you(checking your start list) can start them at the end of their
category(if there is adequate space...if not, the very end, after
Bruce...)and tell them approximately how much time they have
before their 'new' start. You will have 45 seconds to explain this
before you have to completely concentrate on the next rider so stay
focused on the main task: a rider goes every minute - just hold up
your hand to whoever is talking to you, say "hold on a sec..." and
turn your attention to give the countdown or 30 second warning, get
the next rider going, then continue with organizing the late rider's new
start. If you notice any open spots (obvious no-shows) at that time,
slot the rider in the empty space and tell them when to be ready and
that they owe you a beer for being so nice. (This process gets really
fun if it is a short time-trial, especially hill-climbs, because riders are
sent off 30 seconds apart and you only have about 15 seconds of
explanation time)
● If a rider decides not to wait for another start time, he/she
must come to a complete stop at the line before proceeding (ie: a
rider shows up 20 seconds late for his start and tries to ride around
everyone to get on course. You must tell him to present himself to
the line and come to a complete stop before he can start his race.)
● After the last rider has departed, proceed to the finish line to
assist in getting times for the riders.
● Have someone positioned 20 or 30 metres before the finish
line to call out riders' numbers so that the officials have time to write
down the number and then get their times as they cross the line. In
the case of two or more riders, agree amongst yourselves as to which
rider to pay attention to so that all riders receive a time. It is a
bonus if you have radio communication between your caller and the
finish line officials - that way your caller can go even further down the
road to give the officials more time to prepare for the arrival of the
● It helps if you have radio contact between the Finish-Line
Commissaires and the people who are tabulating results at the hall.
This way you can inform your results-people of any changes you
made to the start list sooner so that the proper times can be calculated and the riders do not have to wait around as long afterwards.
Once again, if you have your own tips or tricks that help you do
your job, or if you think I have forgotten something(which is more
likely...) please share your ideas with the rest of us.
Please email your ideas to either [email protected] or
[email protected]
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
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ressure. By definition, pressure is the exertion of continuous
force upon something, or, a compelling or oppressive influence. I am not sure what compelled me to go to Beijing, but
in the middle of Alberta’s BMX racing season, I left my bikes at
home and followed through with the decision to travel halfway
across the world to be a spectator at one of the most significant
events in the 35 year-or-so history of BMX racing. The 2008 summer Olympics in China was a landmark event for many reasons.
Could a country behind a curtain of red tape for so long hold a
successful Olympic games? They most certainly did.
What about the pollution? It wasn’t as bad as I feared.
Would the Olympic debut of BMX racing put our little bikes on
the international sporting map, or would it be forever be banished
to backyards and shady lots? By all accounts, in dramatic fashion,
was home to a successful event.
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
Everyone I spoke with at the the Laoshan BMX venue in western
Beijing’s Shijingshan district thought the racing was entertaining.
All the folks at home watched their TVs in the living room, in airports, in sports bars, with their friends, and with their children and
they all exclaimed at the end “Wow- how exciting!”
Yes, BMX racing is an entertaining sport, enthralling if you will,
with all of its brightly colored bikes and jerseys, the sound of the
tires whizzing by on the track and the sound of wheels spinning as
the fearless helmeted riders soar over gaps many feet in the air,
going faster than rational reasoning would normally dictate. It is
also frightening in the way that the crashes, when they do enivitably happen, produce horrible sounds of metal on metal as bikes
and riders get tangled up in a pile of SPD pedals, spokes and handlebars, scraped knees and elbows and dusty mouthfuls of dirt.
In Beijing, Canada was fortunate enough to have entered two
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2008 BEIJING BMX BY ??????
athletes into the BMX competition, one male and one female.
Thanks to 20 year old Scott Erwood from Surrey, British Columbia,
Canada’s BMX boys just barely earned a spot in the inaugural event.
He beat out young James Brown of Airdrie, Alberta, the country’s top
male UCI points earner up to 2008, in a two rider race-off.
On the women’s side, the shoe-in was Samantha Cools, also of
Airdrie. Samantha is part of a family steeped in BMX tradition, and
her family has had a huge impact on the sport of BMX racing not
only in Alberta but in all of North America and other continents as
well. At 22 years old, Cools holds an unprecedented number of first
place finishes at UCI world events, is one of the CCA’s carded athletes, and the only BMXer to wear the rainbow jersey for the red and
white, awarded to the winning athelete in the elite class(es) at the
world championships.
Everyone in Canada had their gold medal hopes set on Sam
Cools, who finished fifth in a tough field at the 2008 world championships held just months before the Olympics. (Erwood had a good
showing, making it to the quarterfinal round of 32 riders before
being eliminated). While local riders gathered at Cools’ home track
in Airdrie to talk in front of CBC’s cameras to hype up the sport and
showcase one of Alberta’s many BMX racing facilities, Sam and
Scott were gearing up for the biggest race of their lives to date.
In Alberta the tracks are modest, some more challenging than
others, but rideable by 5 year old children and 50 year old men and
women alike. Somewhere in between, those that have put in the
effort to take their game to the top level, the elite riders, ride the
very same tracks.
This makes the one-of-a-kind Supercross tracks such as the one
at the 2008 Olympics Games that much more of a challenge to
conquer. Alberta, well, Canada, for that matter, has scarcely any
continued on page 14
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
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Continued from page 13
international level Supercross BMX tracks. The one that we do lay
claim to as Canadians, is the track built in Victoria, British
Columbia for the 2007 UCI BMX World Championships.
However, BMX racing tracks all over the country, including
Alberta, are gradually being upgraded to bigger and better courses
with wide, aggressive asphalt berms and larger, more menacing
doubles, triples, and rollers to accommodate the demand for more
of a challenge. This is allowing Canadian BMX riders more of an
opportunity to prepare themselves to take on the competition at
an international level. One such track that has pioneered this
change is Airdrie’s track, dubbed “The Track of Champions”
The scarcity of world class tracks coupled with sparse competition and Canada’s brutal winters has sent Canada’s best and
most dedicated BMX racers manualling south of the border or
overseas to ply their trade and hone their skills. It seemed that
Cools raced and trained just about everywhere except Alberta to
prepare for the event, including British Columbia, California,
Switzerland, China, and many points between. Once she did return
home from Beijing, the first place she went was her home track in
Airdrie, Alberta to meet with old friends and recount the tale of her
attempt at Olympic glory, glad to be able to relax and begin to
process her whole whirlwind experience to the pinnacle of athletic
The finals went down something like this: Erwood was sitting in
the stands after an early quarterfinal elimination, watching Latvia’s
Maris Strombergs spin his way to the front of the field and lead for
the majority of the race. A crash in the second turn which started
with a washed out front wheel from Sifiso Nhlapo from the republic of South Africa, took out more than half the field and the sec14
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
ond and third podium spots were nabbed by Mike Day and Donny
Robinson from the USA who both finished less than a second
behind Strombergs.
On the women’s side, Cools overcame some unexpected diversity during warm-up laps to qualify through the semi-finals to the
finals. A fellow rider commented to me once I was back on home
turf in Alberta, that seeing Cools make it to the final was just like
Canada winning the gold medal. It is a point that was
well taken, considering the level of competition Cools
and all the other riders were facing.
In anti-climactic fashion, Cools’ race was over before
it had barely started. Getting pulled out of the gate
and down the hill by the riders to the left and right of
her put her at the back of the pack before the riders
had reached the first obstacle on the track. All eight
took to the air when Cools and her bike were unceremoniously spit out from the aggressive pack of goldthirsty riders and she landed with a thud on top of the
first double. She did get back up and cross the finish
line, an official ranking of seventh by the accounts I
read. France doubled up on the podium with 31 year
old out-of-retirement Anne-Marie Chausson in first and
Laetitia le Corguille in second. USA’s Jill Kitner rounded
out the top three, taking the bronze.
After the race, I found Samantha, who had wandered
away from the restricted area for athletes to presumably look for her parents who were there supporting her.
She still managed to be all smiles, and in true professional fashion, posed for pictures with Chinese volunteers and talked to fans which came up to greet her
and offer their congratulations for accomplishing what
she had done. She said it just wasn’t her day, and perhaps it wasn’t.
Three weeks later, Samantha was in Okotoks with her brother,
Ken, helping him run a BMX skills camp for age groupers. She
must have signed a hundred autographs that day and stood for
just as many pictures with parents, fans, and riders alike. She
even took a couple of practice gates with some of the young
campers, who were thrilled to be riding beside an Olympic
athelete. I was part of that camp, the oldest rider by at least 15
years, having a blast honing my skills and trying to get better.
Samantha pulled me aside after one of my runs and gently commented “You can manual through that section- you’re going fast
enough- just try it next time.”
I gave it my all and I heard her let out a shout of approval as I
navigated through the rollers. I was all smiles for the rest of the
camp; like a kid again, pulling that first bunnyhop up and over
curb. It was a simple reminder how much joy bicycle riding brings
to the lives of people who have a passion for BMX riding and are
willing to let it be a part of their lives.
Cools says that her next goal is to qualify and compete in
London at the 2012 summer Olympic games. That race is a long
way off, and in the meantime, she will have a lot of time to think
about where she has already been and where she is going to end
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the BIGGEST Weekend
in Canadian
As the leaves fall from the trees and the air
cools, two things can be certain: it is fall, and it
is time to put away the skinny tires and bring out
the knobby tires. It is cyclo-cross season! And
this year Albertans will be treated to some truly
special cyclo-cross as Edmonton plays host to
the 2008 Canadian National Cyclo-cross
Championships and the UCI Jim Horner
Grand Prix.
On October 11th, the very best riders from across Canada will
compete for the title of national cyclo-cross champion. Event
organizers are expecting close to 200 athletes from all parts of
The reigning Canadian women’s champion, Wendy Simms
(Kona), has said that she will be in Edmonton to defend her title.
A possible contender to the crown is former world mountain bike
champion and Olympian, Alison Sydor (Rocky MountainHaywood). Alison has taken up cyclo-cross in recent years and
may be looking for a national title to add to her impressive
resume of achievements.
As Wendy stated in a recent interview, “[Alison] started racing
cyclo-cross last year and although I beat her at Nationals she was
a quick study. Now that she has more experience racing cyclocross, she will be a much more wiley competitor!”
Mike Garrigan, who took the men’s title last year, will also be
back to defend his status as national champion. Garrigan fought
a hard race last year to defeat the pre-race favorite, Greg Reain.
Organizers are anticipating an equally strong men’s field at the
2008 event.
Edmonton will also host the second running of the UCI Jim
Horner Grand Prix, one of very few UCI-sanctioned cyclo-cross
events in North America. The Grand Prix on October 12th will
round out the biggest weekend in Canadian cyclo-cross. Both
events will take place at Argyll Park in Edmonton, site of the City
of Edmonton Velodrome and the 2007 UCI Jim Horner Grand Prix.
The Juventus Cycling Club has teamed up with the Alberta
Bicycle Association to host the events. “We are delighted that the
Juventus Cycling Club has been selected to host the 2008 and
2009 Canadian National Cyclo-Cross Championships” said Don
Fox, Chair of the Championships Committee. ABA President Alan
Schietzsch stated “These championships offer outstanding opportunities for the community. They are exciting for spectators and
contribute to the development of Alberta’s best athletes, coaches,
officials and volunteers.”
Event organizers say that spectators will be treated to a
tremendous weekend of cyclo-cross racing. There will be bouncy
tents for the kids, Fat Franks for the hungry, and plenty of free
parking for everyone. Competitors can register online at, and spectators can visit the website for more information and directions.
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
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By Jon Nutbrown “the Ridley’s Cycle guy with long hair and piercings”
“Welcome to Hell!” was what the
marshal assigned to checkpoint
23 (or was it 24… maybe 25…
the haze surrounding my grey
matter blurred a lot of the
details.) taunted me with as I
rode past his skull and cross
bones flag that he had erected on
the other side of the trail. “I
don’t want to tell you that it only
gets worse from here – but it
does!” My first thought was that
I think he actually did want to
tell me that it got worse ahead
and my second, more chilling,
was -- did he actually know about
the almost 10 km hike-a-bike over
flat terrain that I had just completed with my mud clogged bike on the north section of
Tom Snow. The only “user groups” that frequent that section of trail are the free range cattle and the ranchers on
horses who churn that low lying area east of Moose
Mountain into a hellacious, soupy swamp where the mud
is more than a little bit questionable in terms of its bacteria content. I guess the other users of this trail are us
mountain bikers that sign up for the Bow-80 every year
so we can endure what the gracious marshal coined
“Hell” and come out on top triumphantly no matter
which finishing position we are battling for.
Even as I write this, the dull pain of yesterday’s Bow-80
lingers in my legs trying its best to not let me forget the
mix of agony and satisfaction that I, and close to 200 oth16
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
ers, endured. That is XC
mountain bike racing for you.
That short narrative doesn’t
describe your average XC race
but the “grand narrative” of personal accomplishment is echoed
at every race. There are several
things that set mountain biking
apart from other cycling disciplines and those are the things
that will ensure that I keep coming back to the sport that captured me. I will attempt to list,
for me, what defines mountain
bike racing. I should also point
out that I take part in and enjoy
most niches of cycling and those
that I don’t participate in myself,
I still respect greatly. This is not meant as a comparison
to other cycling disciplines but as a personal look into
what I love about racing.
The single-most, defining aspect of XC mountain bike
racing is the art of mastering technical difficulties that a
course throws at you while you are in a state of physical
duress. This is paramount to the sport and is part of
every good race course. A rider brings herself to the
point where, if she were on a wind trainer indoors, she
would have her head down and saliva dripping off her
chin. In the world of mountain bike racing, that is exactly
when we throw a 100 metre descent at her with 9 turns, 3
drop-offs, and countless trees to avoid that come within
inches of her handlebars not to mention the seemingly
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Page 17
infinite roots under her tires, some to find
dignity, you’ve never raced XC mountain
a way over and others just to distract her.
bikes. It’s universal as far as I know. I’ve
Or… perhaps she needs to climb up 100
had races that I have literally finished in
metres with the same obstacles all doing
tears from exhaustion and joy that I fintheir best to impede forward movement.
ished in spite of the exhaustion. I’ve raced
The technical prowess of a rider truly is an
La Ruta de los Conquistadores and on
art. One that I never tire of watching an
Day One, in 2006, brought myself to the
artist perform.
point where I and the soul of my very
The second part of my collection of
being were separate and were able to diawhat defines mountain bike racing is that
logue about the essence of existence. I
You’re going to
it is not for “fakers” or “excuse-makers”.
exaggerate to make a point but honestly
have to suffer to
If you’ve ever been part of a mountain
that is what it felt like. Pain and suffering
bike race you’ll remember the surreal
are synonymous with racing your mounsuccess or suffer to tain bike long distances.
moments in the last few seconds before
the starter pistol breaks the quiet sound of
Lastly, in the definition of mountain bike
humility or just
the athlete’s nervous shallow breathing. I
racing, is that it is joy. I use the word
have been racing for about ten years now
give up like a loser. “joy” because I don’t feel comfortable
and I still get butterflies before I race (that
using the word “fun”. Yes, of course
is an improvement over throwing up with
mountain biking is fun, and I believe we
nervousness like I did when I started in my Junior days).
should incorporate the absolute maximum amount of fun
That nervousness comes from knowing that your quads,
into our races and the time before and after. However, if
heart and lungs are going to be in a world of pain in secI’m burrowing down to the core of what defines my
onds and there is nowhere to hide and no one to point
mountain bike racing, I have to choose the word joy.
the finger at but yourself if things don’t work out in your
Mountain bike racing brings me joy when (or after) I’m
favour. You can’t hide in the pack and show up for the
suffering. It brings me joy when I look forward to the
“important” part of the race. You can’t “sit in and just fin- next epic race. It brings me joy when I rail that ridicuish with the pack”, there is no pack most of the time. If
lously gnarly section of trail in the BC bike race!
you try you’ll likely be spit out the back and be dropped
Mountain bike racing is one of the things that give me
like a soiled chamois. Eighth place is better than ninth
great joy in my life. It is beat only by faith, family and
place which is better than tenth place. Results that just
relationships with friends but it weaves its way through
say “same time” are a non-existent reality. The race isn’t
those aspects of my life as well.
over in one to five minutes. You’re going to have to suffer
Admittedly, my list of the defining attributes of XC
to success or suffer to humility or just give up like a loser. mountain bike racing may not look that appealing at first
In the end it is you and what you could offer up on a
glance. I hope, though, that you can get a sense of how I
given day.
love and respect the sport that I am proud to participate
Mountain biking is painful. Not in a meaningless sort
in. I also hope, that if you haven’t already, that you try
of way or in a way that needs to be remedied (although
mountain bike racing for yourself. You will get your own
occasionally it is that sort). It is the type of pain that is
small triumph story like the one I started the article with
simultaneously rewarding. If you’ve never thought about
and many more like it. I know you will find that you
letting the air out of your tires and claiming you double
have in some way, even in a small way, added to your life
flatted so you could end your race early with some sort of and the lives of others.
Did you know that you can make a donation to help cycling in Alberta and receive a tax-deductible receipt
for your contribution? Like any other non-profit organization, the Alberta Bicycle Association (ABA) is always
seeking additional resources. The Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation (ASRPWF)
administers a Donation Fund, which provides tax-deductible receipts for unconditional contributions to
the ABA.
The full amount of each donation goes directly to the support cycling in Alberta!
To find out how to make a donation to the ABA through the ASRPWF check out the website
or contact the ABA office at 1-877—646-2453
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
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Page 18
By Who????
The Better Way
“I’ll give up my car when they can
pry my cold dead fingers from the
steering wheel”
o say the majority of single occupancy car commuters in
North America. Fortunately, not everyone thinks this way and
to tip the open minded commuters over to an alternate
mode, the ISTEA initiative has delivered upwards of 3% of the US
federal transportation budget into the hands of cyclist and pedestrian planers recently. At least in America, the feds are paying more
than lip service to the alternate transportation movement.
Recently, I attended the ProWalk/ProBike conference in Seattle
with co-cycling advocate, Jeff Gruttz. We got a first hand look at
how this windfall is being used and its lessons for Canada. We
should watch very carefully what is happening south of the 49th,
because many new approaches are being attempted as governments try new ways to encourage ages 8-80 to bicycle more.
Bike lanes were an early experiment. The idea was to encourage cyclists with no vehicular cycling skills to use bike lanes on
busy arterials and hopefully leave the car a home once in a
while. One of the unexpected effects of painting bike lane lines
on many roads in California was the passage of the statewide
“mandatory sidepath” (MS) law which requires cyclists to use
parallel facilities in the road right of way if they exist, no matter
how poorly planned, constructed or maintained. Alberta has its
own version of the MS law which forces cyclists riding on highways that have shoulders to use them.
Bike lanes are claimed by some cities (e.g., Portland OR) to have
increased cycle commuting popularity. When properly installed on
appropriate roadways, bike lanes can be effective. Our highway
shoulders are defacto bike lanes. But one unexpected result of
placing inexperienced cyclists in urban bike lanes is that they
attempt left hand turns from the right side of the road.
All major transportation projects that receive US federal funding
now require a bike/ped audit to ensure that alternate transportation users will be served where appropriate by each project. It has
created a lucrative new transportation consultancy niche (cha
ching!!!) and lots of new government jobs.
In 1994, Jeff Gruttz and I attended the ProBike conference in
Portland OR. A recurring and subliminal anti-car rhetoric was evident. Fairly radical publications like De-paving America contained
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
cartoons like the ones here and factoids (e.g., Did you know that
the US has now paved over an area equivalent to the State of
That rhetoric is largely gone now and in its place, a new breed of
consultants shows how municipal and state governments can spend
their new windfall. The recent Seattle ProWalk/ProBike conference
was attended by more than 800 with a hefty $650 registration fee.
Many of the presenters represented municipal, state and provincial
If Canadian bike/pedestrian planners had 3% of Canada’s federal transportation budget gifted to them tomorrow, what would their
wish list look like?
For starters, I think we can agree that it would be nice to have a
paved, well designed and maintained urban and rural recreational
trail system for cyclists and others separate from the highway network, (e.g., the Trans Canada Trail). But for commuters, trails often
can’t service the cyclist’s origins and destinations in an urban setting. So…
The first item on my wish list is generically termed “routine
accommodation” of cyclists in all new transportation construction.
The City of Calgary, for instance, requires all new major roads to be
built with 4.3 m wide curb lanes to accommodate cyclists (the
standard width is 3.7). There are a lot of other routine accommodations that could be made for cyclists including:
● advance left turn signals that detect cyclists,
● removal of the gutter pan (concrete extension from curb out
into the driving lane),
● construction of separate paved trails in highway rights of way,
● redesign of transverse rumble strips before stop signs on highways to make them compatible with bicycles, etc.
The technical details of this routine accommodation would be
contained in standard manuals for cycling infrastructure published
by TAC (Transportation Association of Canada), and already exist to
some extent.
The second major item on my wish list is free: to change the
Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC) in Canada to promote a rationalized
continued on page 20
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Continued from page 18
set of operational rules to accommodate of cyclists. Examples
● right arm extended, right hand turn signals,
● allowing two abreast riding (as is allowed in the
national parks),
● bans on use of cell phones and bioptic devices
while driving,
● uniform 40 kph speed limit on residential roads,
● ban on mandatory sidepath laws,
● rolling stops for cyclists, etc.
Adoption of the Uniform Vehicle Code is optional in all
provinces so I would like to see a requirement that forces UVC
adoption in all provinces, once amended.
My third item is a review of shoulder rumble strip efficacy.
These are the grooves now placed beside the outside travel
lane in the paved shoulder that hum loudly when motorist’s
tires run over them at highway speed. They are designed to
wake the motorist and keep them on the road. In my opinion,
rumble strips just postpone the inevitable and if motorists
need them to stay on the road, they should not be driving.
We’ve had them long enough in Alberta now to know if they
actually work or not. If they do, then let’s require highway contractors to step up the shoulder sweeping frequency so that
accumulated gavel and bits of tire are removed and the shoulders become safe places to cycle again, even in the spring
Finally, my fourth item is the institutionalization of bicycling
proficiency training both in the education system and beyond.
We have both the program (CAN-BIKE) and the models (UK’s
Bikeability program). I’m not in favour of compulsory bicycle
proficiency training for adults (as is done for motor vehicles)
but the present system of delivery needs assistance.
Cycling advocacy is still a needed commodity, even if large
amounts of federal dollars were available for cycling infrastructure, as we’ve seen State side. If you think so too, join our
team and learn what it is that the ABA Recreation and
Transportation Committee is attempting to accomplish and
lend a hand. The committee meets via teleconference 2-3
times annually with a face to face meeting once annually. Just
email or phone Kipp [email protected] at the ABA
office for more information.
Friday November 8, 2008
University of Calgary
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
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Page 21
Cycling is a life-long passion for many athletes. It helps
promote a healthy lifestyle, is an excellent way to foster
close friendships, and gives many opportunities for athletes
to see the landscape of our province from the seat of a
bicycle. Some riders participate in cycling from a purely
recreational standpoint, and some are dedicated to training
to be the best in their discipline. The wide base of programs and training available through the ABA are developed
to cater to each of those athletes. It is our hope that we
can create relationships with corporate partners who have
the same vision for cycling in Alberta as the ABA does. We
understand that corporations, like athletes, have dreams
and goals. It makes this is a perfect time to develop relationships with corporate sponsors which can grow and
mature along with the increased participation in the sport.
This relationship will offer not only have a regional
impact, but could provide you with national and international exposure. As such, these events may provide companies
with other options for sponsoring or community involvement.
AN OPENING now exists to be part of what
promises to be an exciting journey, which
will provide your organisation with the
opportunity to be part of a dynamic sporting brand.
The local, national, and international
appeal of cycling is a great way to increase
public awareness of your business. Cycling
presents an opportunity to align yourself
with both an elite and lifestyle brand!
Cycling is among the top 10 most popular
recreational activities in all age categories
and the second most popular participation
activity to all activities in Alberta.
As a Provincial organization, our focus
continues to be building the framework to
develop great events, making cycling
accessible to all and developing future
Albertan cyclists to compete at National
and International Levels through a strong
development program. As our members
strive to achieve their personal best, the
Alberta Bicycle Association endeavors to
support them each step of the way. The
presence of Alberta races on the National
Calendar and athletes on the podium at
National races is an excellent opportunity
to increase your exposure.
A strategic partnership will provide an
excellent opportunity to associate your
company, image and your products with a
lifestyle brand and winning athletes.
To become a partner contact us today:
Kipp Kaufmann
Executive Director
[email protected]
Alberta Bicycle Association
11759 Groat Road
Edmonton, AB T5M 3K6
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
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Cycle Cape Town
never would have thought that I would end up in one of the farthest places from Calgary to ride my bike. But there I was
doing the usual airport rigmarole, baggage, rental car, maps,
maps.... maps of South Africa! After nearly a day of pure traveling,
I found myself in the Cape Town Airport hooking up with my partner Darrell going over highway routes to get to the start of the
2007 Cape Epic.
Unbeknownst to me, Darrell had entered us in the lottery system for an early season “riding vacation”. It seemed silly to be
driving 600km on highway to turn around and ride over 900km
back to Cape Town – on a mountain bike! The Cape is one slick
organization and has won logistic awards in South Africa for their
ability to move, set-up, feed, house, support, and entertain 1200
riders. The route changes slightly each year with towns feverishly
trying to get the Cape to stop there as one of their over nights.
Not only are South Africans very passionate about any sporting
event, the proceeds from the lottery entry fee are distributed to
the host towns. The funds are used for schools, libraries and such.
The race starts in Knysna, pronounced “nighz-na” and travels
through numerous valleys, passes, towns, orchards, and parks.
ALBERTA SPIN, Summer 2008
BY ??????????
Day one starts in the inner bay town of Knysna and heads up into
rain forest type trees. This is a race of double track and road for
the most part but we hold out for the sweet single track each day.
It may be short but us Canadians know how to ride this stuff and
it is worth a few spots in the overall standings.
Day 2 sends us up some very exposed open road where the
temperatures are a warm South African 32-34 degrees C. Try as
we might, Darrell got some cramps so its ostrich biltong(ostrich
jerky) and soya sauce. Remedied, we hooked up with a pace line
and sat in and enjoyed the view. Desert, sand, thorn bushes with
needles the size of, well, needles, low brush, hard pack dirt, gravel, pavement. For the most part, the race takes you from one valley to another heading west and each valley changes almost
imperceptibly. But three valleys later, it is hard to believe you were
riding in sand and desert when now it looks like the Scottish
Highland hillside in those scotch whiskey ads.
In the eight days we raced, I believe my wheels crossed four
water features, be it a creek, a patch of wet soil, or run off from
the apple trees' daily watering. It was dry. So to be riding beside a
lake/reservoir that reminds me of the Okanagan with so much
water right there for you to jump in, was motivating to get the ride
On Day 7 on our way to the coast, we rode through the South
Africa Institute for Space and Satellite Development. After riding
each day with a start temperature of 22-24 degrees and a day
time average of 32-36 we were told tales of cool sea breezes and
excellent riding. One must always go through a hell to get to heaven. The hell was the desert wind that comes down the higher plain
and gets funneled into a very small valley that leads to the mythical coastal breeze. The trail gently undulated on beautiful buff
double track that would have been most enjoyable barring the 42
degree heat. Yes, that's right 42 degrees. If you would like to know
what that is like, follow this recipe; pre-heat oven to 300, dress in
riding kit, put on helmet and glasses, open oven door, put face
within 1 meter of opening, breath deeply – like you would on a
good tempo ride. There you have it. I tried this and it is actually a
good and accurate representation of the feeling. Out of the valley
and into the promised ocean, which we wallowed in for some time
until the core temperature came down.
On the last day, the race meandered through the mountains
and hillsides of the western cape. Through orchard, vineyards, and
farms we traveled. The vineyard was host to one of the best finishes and afternoon parties I have been to. Live bands and djs. Food
stalls. Beer Tubs, Souvenirs. Everything you could want after 8
days on the bike. A most enjoyable end to a “riding vacation”.
Alberta Spin fall '08
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Alberta Spin fall '08
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