Let’s take a brief break from municipal election talk for a moment. I rode in the Centurion cycling event this past weekend. Not the main 100 mile race (I am not that much of a masochist) but the secondary 50 mile race. Before you get too impressed, my time was very tortoise like. I was so slow at one point an old geezer, getting his mail, on a motorized scooter overtook me as I rode up Epping Hill (or as I was calling it Sunday “That Effing Hill”). It was quite the experience rolling out with a thousand other cyclists at the start of the race. The only thing was no one told me the race didn’t actually start until you get to the bottom of Grey Rd 19. So I was flying along passing everyone and thinking to myself “this is easy I might even win this thing”. Then over the next three and a half hours, one by excruciating one, the four hundred or so people I passed at the start gradually overtook me on every little incline. They closed down Blue Mountain Road, Osler Bluff Road and the first part of Grey Rd 19. So it was great riding and not having to worry about buddy in his dually wheeled behemoth with the bull horns, flying past us with inches to spare. The people that run this thing should be commended, it was such a well-organized event. I do hear though that Blue Mountain gets very little business from it, as apparently athletes including cyclists are notoriously cheap when it comes to restaurants and hotels. I can attest to this by the fact that a bunch of us went to Tholo’s for a celebratory lunch after the ride and it was pretty much empty. Which is amazing considering close to a thousand riders had finished this race over the previous couple of hours or so.
As I said in a previous post, this is my first year of cycling, I am really enjoying it. On Sunday while I was labouring away on the ride I was planning in my head this blog post. I was thinking Collingwood should hold a cycling event, not a road race like the Centurion, but what cyclists call a Criterium race. Which is a short course cycling race usually around one or one and a half miles and it consists of lap racing.
I hear you all saying “Your crazy Nobody why would we want to turn our town over to a bunch of el cheapo, skinflint, cyclists, that don’t spend any money?” Well here’s the thing – Criterium racing is a much more spectator friendly sport rather than long distance road racing, like the Centurion. The one thing with the race this past weekend, if someone wants to come and watch, most of the action is happening up in the Niagara Escarpment and some of the roads close to the race, are shut down or have limited access. My kids came up to watch me and the sum total of the experience was around 30 seconds of watching me huff and puff across the finish line, then 10 minutes of listening to me moan and groan about how hard it was. When it comes to spending money spectators are a different story. If someone has shelled out the money to drive all the way to Collingwood to watch a cycling event, then they usually don’t mind parting with their hard-earned shekels at a local eating establishment or hotel. The other thing is if we want to continue to keep kidding ourselves that Collingwood is an active, four season destination, we have to start doing things and promoting things to make that actually the case. At present we just hang off the coat tails of Blue Mountain Resort, which actually has earned its chops as a year round activity filled destination.
One thing I will say though, before you get too busy about the above idea (I now have to delve back into election territory again). My impression of most of the members of this current council is that they seem to think local sports, for anyone over 40 or 50 only happens on a golf course or on a ski hill. So if you ever want to see any sporting based events, along with the sacrosanct Elvis Festival held in this town, you might have to look to others to make that happen.