For today's Men's Junior Time Trials the autumnal temperatures and overcast skies made for excellent, non-glare viewing along Monument Avenue and Broad Street.
A Very Beautiful Sport
Tony and Kathy Kasa with their Venezuelan Flag. (Photo by Harry Kollatz Jr.)
Whether or not the rider's colors indicated Venezuelan origin, Tony Kasa hoisted the colors and cheered the cyclists on as they swung past the Davis Avenue turn. His wife held placard for CHACON and TORRES. They came up from Miami last week. I-95 North posed no hazards for them, Tony said. They're both originally from Venezuela, he's a retired mechanical engineer and she's a secretary. The couple is staying with friends in Henrico.
"Richmond's been very friendly," Tony smiles. "We've been up to the Blue [Ridge] Mountains -- "The vineyards," Kathy adds.
"And we've taken bus tours up and down around all over town," Tony chuckled.
They're not cyclists -- but enthusiasts who follow their favorites and countrymen on YouTube and television. "It's a very beautiful sport," he explains.
They're pleased with the weather, "Beautiful," Tony says. "You were so kind to make it like this for the race." And he chuckles.
Inviting The World
"What this race represents, to me, is how Richmond is changing for the better," says Sissy Estes, pictured here with her father Howard. "We're opening up and inviting the world to come here."
Howard Estes, from Chesterfield County and his daughter Sissy, from Grove Avenue, unfolded their matching chairs for a view east down Monument. The day worked out well for the senior Estes as his wife is taking art classes at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts giving him time to watch the hunched over riders zip past. "So I get to visit with my daughter and it worked out well for everybody," Estes nods.
Estes has traveled the world so an event like this, landing in Richmond, is worth taking notice of. "I'm enjoying the excitement," he says. "The individual effort and, too the team behind the rider encouraging and pushing them. Plus, there are so many countries represented by these races. It's really wonderful to see."
Sissy isn't a cyclist, she laughs, "I'm a spinner at Boho Cycle Studio. What this race represents, to me, is how Richmond is changing for the better. We're opening up and inviting the world to come here. And we've never really done that on such a scale as this."
On the southwestern curve of the Lee Monument medallion Deborah Doyle, an UCI volunteer, makes sure that passage across the Belgian paving stones is safe for pedestrians. Doyle, who lives on Church Hill and is originally from Midlothian, rode her bike to the event this morning but didn't go up the monster hill on Broad. She took the Leigh Street Bridge. "There's a bike lane there, so it's really convenient," she says. Doyle is a state microbiologist. Employees were given the opportunity to take the day off for volunteering and the idea of the world coming to Richmond on two wheels appealed to her. "I'm not a cyclist, but I rode today," she says. Doyle hasn't seen any biking wipeouts but witnessed the peculiar car chase on Sunday. "That was strange," she says. "At first we're thinking, 'This is part of the race,' and then realized, no, it's definitely part of the race." The big takeaway for the event for Doyle is, "It's the interest that people have. It's on television and the Internet and people are watching from all over."
Deborah Doyle, an UCI volunteer, makes sure that passage across the Belgian paving stones is safe for pedestrians. (Photo by Harry Kollatz Jr.)
Internationally, Kind Of A Big Deal On Wheels
Tom Wirtgen of Luxembourg races for the 11-member Leopard Development Team. (Photo by Harry Kollatz Jr.)
Tom Wirtgen, from Redange, Luxembourg, relaxed in front of the Lift Coffee shop among cycling enthusiasts. This is his first time in the United States and it seems to be agreeing with him. Being amid the races he's not yet seen much of Richmond but watching the races on Sunday he was impressed by the James. "This is a beautiful river," he says, "A great background for this." His next competition is Saturday in the Men's Junior Road Circuit. He races for the 11-member Leopard Development Team. "I did the time trial yesterday," he says. He came in 26th out of a field of 50 for the Men's Under 23 trials. Cycling is his life. He started at age six, and inspired by such professionals as the German Jens Voigt. Among his cafe table mates this afternoon was Virginia Cycling Association President Frank Cundiff and friend Will Hilsman. "We're just amateur cyclists," Hilsman says and they happily posed with the man from Luxembourg.
Virginia Cycling Association President Frank Cundiff (left) and friend Will Hilsman pose proudly with Tom Wirtgen. (Photo by Harry Kollatz Jr.)
For daily updates on Richmond 2015, plus photos and race fan interviews, read the Richmond magazine Bike Blog.