Bicycle Race

Rock Racers

Last Saturday I woke up at 7am (which is the middle of the night at the weekend as far as I’m concerned) and got the train across to Glasgow for the start of the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britian before catching up with some friends for lunch at Kember & Jones.

There were a good few hundred people milling around the start area despite the damp weather. I’m willing to bet that the numbers will have been swelled by the awesome performance of the British cyclists in Beijing and the subsequent increased media exposure. Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Newton all were racing while Mark Cavendish plumped for riding the Tour of Missouri.

Olympic review

I’ve just been reviewing some amazing photographs and recalling some great memories from a stunning couple of weeks of sport. I guess that’s what you’d be wanting after spending £20 billion on something in a way that a democracy just couldn’t do. I must admit that I’m suffering from a hefty case of post-Olympic come-down. The days ahead just seem so . . . empty somehow.

Continue reading Olympic review

Jia you!

I managed to hog most of the bandwidth in the office yesterday watching the BBC’s online stream of the Olympic opening ceremony at the Bird’s Nest and was suitably impressed. I’ve subscribed to the events schedule and again was blown away by the sheer number of events that are taking place.

I really enjoy the Olympics and am constantly amazed by the dedication of professional athletes. Until the Nerdlympics become popular I think that I will just have to enjoy watching from the comfort of the sofa.

I’m pretty sure that Team GB will achieve the modest medal target it set for itself but I don’t think that we’ll ever see the dizzy heights of 1908 as shown on this great interactive medal table from the New York Times that charts country performance since the inception of the modern Games back in 1896.

Citius, Altius, Fortius

It may have escaped your notice but today the Olympic Games kicked off (quite literally, with the women’s football) — a whole two days before the opening ceremony on Friday. Even at this late stage China has decided to go back on their pledge on free expression. Not content with quashing protests of those already in the country, China have revoked the visa of a gold-medal-winning Olympian. Joey Cheek is a speed skater who also co-founded Team Darfur.

I’m not for mixing sport and politics at all but given China’s human rights record this was pretty much inevitable.

Vancouver – Seattle (167 miles)

Well that’s the Canadian leg of my tour over and done with and I’ve got some fantastic memories to take with me. Before leaving Vancouver I managed to resist the lure of a new Apple Store opening and took a trip up Grouse Mountain with a couple of friends for the views, wolves, grizzly bears and the bird and lumberjack shows. We were also graced with a fly pass by a wild bald headed eagle. The next day I went up Cypress mountain to help a friend move equipment into storage now the ski season is over and sneak a peak at the Olympic mogul and aerials slopes.

This afternoon I stopped for some Bulgarian fillos for lunch before picking up a rental car at Vancouver airport. Susan at Budget was a great help and managed to swings so that I didn’t have to switch cars in Seattle and she also upgraded me to a larger car for free. Now, I haven’t driven for several years and I did feel a little nervous before I set off. Call it irresponsible or stupid if you will – at the same time I find it somewhat worrisome that I can legally get behind the wheel without having to sit a refresher course or something.

Once I was underway all my nerves disappeared and I made it down to Seattle with no major incidents barring a little piece of advice from the border official after waiting for an hour. Driving an automatic is undoubtably a help and I’m also in no rush so I can take my time and travel when it’s quieter.

Here are a few more things that I’ve picked up:

  • Canadians can’t merge
  • The speed limit in Canada is too low
  • Don’t padlock your luggage when driving over the border