The Tour of Alberta

Thursday, September 05, 2013
Because the Tour d'Alberta sounds weird.  This week marks the inaugural Tour of Alberta.  A description from their website:  The Tour of Alberta will be a six-stage race, starting in Edmonton ... and edning in Calgary ... with stage routes traveling throughout rural Alberta, villages, towns and small cities, which rarely, if ever, have had the benefit of seeing, let alone hosting, major international sporting events in their communities. 
The prologue was being held in Edmonton and luckily for me, the entire route went through the downtown area and the River Valley.  That meant prime locations for picture taking were only a short walk away. 
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), because the race started at 6:15, access in and out of the downtown core was cut off by 5 pm.  My office was lucky - my employer sent most of the staff home beginning at three to ensure everyone who drove could get their cars out and head home before the roads were closed (they wouldn't reopen until after nine!).
At half past five, I was getting changed and packing my camera bag.  I looked out the window and saw racers already whipping through the course on their bikes.  WTF?!  I quickly rushed out of the house and headed towards the turn from Rossdale Road to 100 Street thinking the website lied. 
I have no idea who any of these cyclists are but all the pics were taken before the official start of the race. I'm guessing they are doing run thrus of the course before things got under way.  I mistakenly thought the prologue began like the Tour de France with all the racers taking off in a pack - those were the kind of shots I was looking for.  Only when I got home and began watching the coverage on Sportsnet did I realize that this was the time trial with each cyclist heading off on their own at one minute intervals.  Their time would determine their starting position for Stage One.
Regardless of the fact that these aren't pictures of the actual race, I still enjoyed getting this up close and personal introduction to cycling.  And despite the inconvenience to businesses and commuters for that one day, it would be nice to see this become an annual event and draw more international attention to our lovely province.

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