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Grand Prix report

The big event kicked off with St. Paul criterions last night. I biked to work so that I could head straight down for the start of the womens' race. Traffic into the city was messed up from having seven blocks roped off, which is approximately half of downtown St. Paul. This provided an opportunity to practice urban cycling as I wove between stopped cars.

The crowd at the actual event was sparse. It's a shame; I bet most of the condo-dwellers didn't even know that it was going on.

race photos by Matt Moses

Local blogging celebrities were out in force. Matt was acting as a crossing guard volunteer and taking digital photos of gentlemen in classy hats. I mention this (bloggers, not the hats) for a reason. As a member of the ranks of "influential cycling community bloggers" (yes I am), I was offered press access to the event. What did this mean for me? Lanyards and binders, biznatches!

I watched most of the men's race with John and Downtown Dave. The three of us walked the length of the course to observe from every angle. A storm was blowing in around the Twin Cities, filling the sky with dark cloud formations. It was a beautiful night to be outside. No rain fell in the city until it was all over.

The men were moving so fast that we stopped about once a minute to feel the breeze as they passed by. Potholes and manhole covers were marked with bright, double parenthesis lines, illustrating the uneven street surface. We didn't see any crashes, but they happened. Street signs and other hard objects were padded with hay bales to prevent racers from wrapping their faces around a post. The sweet country smell was cut with aromas of grilling meat and overpriced beer in plastic cups.

I missed the men's finish because I was in Mears Park talking to one of the designers from Twin Six. Twin Six is a locally-owned (Minneapolis) company producing "alternative cycling apparel." I don't have any need for a jersey, but if I did, I would wear the argyle one from Twin Six. They have t-shirts too.

These guys look pretty psyched about something

In lieu of firsthand observation, I hit the crowd for their opinions. One bystander described the womens' attire as "not tight enough." Maybe at the next race I'll use my media pass to ask a lady biker for rebuttal. Asked to comment on the action, local cycling legend Ron Storm summarized the race by saying:
"[The cyclists] were going around, and then they weren't going around any more."

1 comment:

gwadzilla said...

I want press credentials