Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Peter The Great, or working the UCI Road World Championships

The new World Champion: Slovakian Peter "The Great" Sagan
First I wasn't so sure whether I'd have any photos that would prove that I was actually at the 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. With the exception of one "off" day (at least most of the daytime hours) I had spent my entire time working behind the scenes, doing what I do nowadays at the international level. But then, on Sunday my particular duties ended just in time for me to watch the final few laps of the Elite Men's road race, and that made up for a week spent without catching literally none of the racing action. I mean, not even the media had access to the vantage point from where I took these first three shots of this blog entry. It's a memory that will stay with me for a long time.
A view to kill for!
The battle for the podium places: Aussie Michael Matthews beats Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas for second place
I had arrived in Richmond on Monday afternoon, and from there it was pretty much all work. But on Wednesday I did have a chance to spend a little bit of time sightseeing when there was a break in the racing action, and so I drove down to Chesapeake Bay and visited Ft. Monroe just outside of Hampton. It wasn't the prettioest of days, but I enjoyed the smell of the water and the screaming of the seagulls. I walked along the seawall and watched the fishermen; tired as I was, I took a delightful nap in the small dunes.
Maybe I should retire and start fishing....
Click to see the full panoramic view of the southern end of Chesapeake Bay

Beautiful lighthouse at Ft. Monroe
The fort houses an interesting (and free) museum
It was interesting to see this fort less than two weeks after being in Quebec City
On the way back to Richmond I stopped by Colonial Williamsburg, a giant living museum that really would have deserved a much longer visit than the short hour that I had—say, several days, maybe? (OK, I admit I had frittered away 45 minutes with a so-so IPA at Alewerks, a brewery that was touted as the "best" in Virginia. Well, I don't concur.)
A pretty sign is no guarantee for superior brew
Williamsburg, oddly enough, featured cobblers, general stores, and even taverns—but none that seemed to serve mead or better. So I just walked around, realizing after a while that I had not paid an entry fee. Oh well, I don't think I did any harm. I certainly wouldn't have paid the $42 admission fee to ramble along the wide streets and gawk at locals in traditional garb being gawked at by selfie-stick-toting tourists. There are reenactments, for an additional small fortune one can take a guided tour by horse carriage, or one can simply get immersed in the interesting gardens and watch demonstrations that bring to life old professions. As I said (and as several Facebook friends confirmed), one can spend a lot of quality time here if one is so inclined. Next time, maybe. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Had it not been for this short excursion I would not have seen much of Virginia at all. We were ensconced in the Richmond Marriott, smack-dab in the middle of the rather seedy downtown. It was quite something to see all those homeless folk pushing their shopping carts through the throngs of international fans. Really, I can't say that I found Richmond (or at least what I got to see) overly exciting. It was just another typical downtown, with lots of empty store fronts, fancy office buildings, and hair-extension dives next to expensive restaurants and cheap diners. I wonder what those Norwegian or Eritrean visitors thought about all that. Maybe they just didn't see.
Where did the Eritrean government find the money to send the fans?
These Norwegians were definitely waaaayyyy out there.
I noticed more Eritrean flags than orange Dutch ones.
One evening I had a chance to go to a local brewpub, Three Crossings Brewing, where I enjoyed an OK beer and a much better jazzy trombone ensemble (plus a tuba and a small drum set). Now, that was fun—and there were no crazy Belgians in attendance.
Trombone jazz session at Three Crossings Brewing
Oh, I could tell you great stories about this week, but if I did, I'd lose my job. It was an amazingly interesting week, and I learned from some of the best in the trade. It was a rare opportunity to work such an event, at this level. Few individuals get a chance to work at the pinnacle of what their profession offers, and I continue to work races that, well, don't get much more important than this. On this note I'll leave you with a few more pics from my free Sunday afternoon and the Elite Men's road race.
45 nations in  the men's race—45 team cars screaming by
One of 15 laps, for a total of 261 kilometers
The field single-filing it on the backstretch of the course
Feedzone ...
... and a massive pile-up
Some lost their chain ...
... and others some blood
So that's how I spent last week. Three days back at home, and now New Mexico beckons. Looking forward to 500 miles of driving to Farmington  tomorrow. Road Apple Rally, here I come!


1 comment:

  1. Pleasure to meet you Jurgen, hopefully see you on the road again! Hope you were able to make it to Kuba Kuba