Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Paid to Ride!!

Is it one of your dreams and goals to be a paid professional bicycle rider? All "kitted" up and sleek like a wet seal, raging down the road on your carbon wonderkind bike machine?

For me.....fat chance!!! Not only because I'm a fat, over the middle aged mid-point, dude......but never had a draw to that. Plus if I ever was to be seen in a cycling "kit" I gave my family permission to sell my bikes and never allow me to ride again!!
 The athletic dreams of my youth involved being a NBA scoring power forward in the mold of Dan Issel or an Olympic skier in the mold of Phil and Steve Mahre. Unfortunately, at 6'5" 185 lbs, I was too small for the former and too big for the latter. And, more importantly, not enough talent and skill for either!!
Be that as it turned out, I sure like to watch and admire pro athletes that are at the pinnacle of their game no matter the sport. Well, true sports that take athletic skill, no counting ESPN make up sports like Bass fishing or hot dog eating. That's a whole blog in itself.
We get the chance to watch cyclists this Saturday as the US Pro Cycling Tour comes through our little town of Estes Park. It is a going to be quite a day here in town. They have all sorts of events to go with the race downtown including a stage for bands performing all through the day and a big tent set up sponsored by New Belgium Brewery.. The talk is about 50K people arriving in the area to spectate. They will blast right by the Lumberyard here coming down Highway 7. I am a bit of a big crowd avoider so I will not be downtown with all the beautiful people of Estes Park, and the Lumberyard will not be that great of a place to watch as they will be screaming downhill here....I am guessing hitting about 45 MPH as they go by here. Debbie and I are getting a strategy together for watching the race. We can walk out of our house and in about five minutes be on Highway 7. There is a little rise in the road right after the entrance to carriage hills so we are going to be at the top of that hill. The peloton will be going a bit slower there before the downhill into town and we will be able to see the riders for more than an instant.
If you are watching on TV, a couple of things to watch for from a locals perspective. The switchbacks after they go through Glen Haven is a pretty steep little pop before they zip down into town. There are points there for the climbers. As they come into town there is a sharp left turn and then they sweep in front of The Stanley Hotel. Then right down through the center of town. As they go west out of town there will be a sharp left turn onto Mary's Lake Road. This is a steep but short climb up to the high point of the route. If somebody attacks on this uphill they could hold a big advantage because after that there are miles of major downhill after that. As they head back down the Big Thompson Canyon at the bottom there is a section called the narrows. Tight turns with rock walls on one side and the river on the other and they will be blasting along here. Exciting stuff to watch for! They cut up through Masonville and up into Horsetooth Reservoir. There are are a couple of short but steep climbs there that will allow some strategy by the teams. All in all a great stage, 117 miles of varied terrain. Enjoy watching!!

As to the original prospect of getting paid to ride.......I always envisioned for me, the opportunities would lie in some sort of career as a bike taxi, or one of those dudes at sporting events shuttling people in from parking lots. A real Glam Job!!
But today, I got paid to ride!!!!  Sort of.
I have been needing to get out to the YMCA and take some pictures of their new entrance sign that we provided materials for. Our log supplier guy wanted some pictures for his portfolio. So I took my lunchtime ride out there.
A good way to spend the work day!!
Hey! Everybody enjoy the last of summer!