Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Capital Criterium 2008: the races

one mans push

The video below shows this scene in motion of the peloton passing.

at a hard slow U-turn on Pennsylvania Avenue. Also where the new president will ride from inauguration at the capitol to his new home and office at the White house in a few months! 

Notice this guy in Kelly green and yellow is putting away a energy bar he has been eating while riding.
Bicycle jerseys (shirts) have pockets in the lower back to hold small things like food. Also notice how close they ride to the guy in front and behind catching a draft off the pack called a peloton in bicycling parlance. 

The lead rider here is Vande Velde who got fifth place in this years 21 day tour de France. You see he was way ahead of the pack in this pass. If you look behind the fence in the center of the Avenue you can see the peloton going down the street to the U-turn on Penn Avenue

This past Sunday I attended the first and my first Washington DC professional bicycle race. It is called the ING Capital Criterium the first of a new yearly race that pits professional racers against each other and a short loop course of one kilometer or .6 of a mile from beginning to end. The trick is they have to ride that loop something like 65 times to get to the finish line of the race. I had to go alone because my partner was suffering a back ache and didn't want to go along so I took my sweet little Kodak camera and enjoyed the sights and sounds. I posted about 52 of my photos from the race on flickr and the set is there for those who want to see the stills. Here on the blog I am going to post some of my short videos. I was trying to get the sound of those bikes whizzing past me at 24mph and in a gang of about 78 riders it was quite a breeze they caused. Also the whir of the spokes cutting the air as they rotated was clearly part of the sounds heard. This being the first criterium race in DC it wasn't advertised very well so the crowds were kind of thin but that gave me a huge advantage to get great shots of the bikers at any place I wanted to around the course. That short course was downtown on Pennsylvania Avenue up and down a few blocks then up the hill on 13th Street between the National and Warner Theaters. They rode over F street and down hill at the next corner 12th St. back to Penn. Ave. I took my first video there on the top of the hill.
They are lead over the course by a motorcyclist and followed by a race sponsor's car which is orange for ING Direct the online savings bank that sponsored the race. They gave out bright orange cow bells for spectators to ring as the bicyclists passed as encouragement to them. I love orange and they gave me two. Some of the folks were getting autographs on the bells from the riders but I missed that chance not knowing to bring a sharpie pen. I did get a photo (seen above) of one bell that was in action while Tour de France rider Christian Vande Velde was in the lead coming up Pennsylvania Ave. I watch the Tour de France on TV and get daily reports from my great pen pal in Holland during the coverage. They get to see a lot of bicycle races on TV in Europe. I have to report the weather was perfect this weekend of a race or anything outdoors. My joy was in loads of orange stuff everywhere bicycles and strong men in tight clothes. 
DCist.com was the blog that reported this race was coming to DC and there you can read the finish results and see some other photos of the race by another guy. It was fun attending this race because they passed by about every minute or two over and over no matter where you watched the race from on the course. I wish more people had come down but maybe next year you will join me and enjoy a day of fast bicycles and bicyclists. 

This video shows them wiz past down Pennsylvania Avenue so close you can hear the wind distortion in my little microphone on the camera. 
Comments are always welcome.

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