Adventures in life and photography out West

Summer opportunities just keep coming!

It’s still chilly as I write this week, but the promise of spring is in the air, and my riding calendar is filling, and thrilling. Just as thrilling are the opportunities that modern technology are opening up for me.

I hinted last week at what lies ahead of me this summer. Our new publisher is almost as enthused about this June’s Ride the Rockies as I am. Armed with a new iPhone, look for a video piece, as well as regular entries to both the www.eptrail.com website and Facebook page that will compliment this column. In the run-up to the big annual tour, I will hunt down helpful hints and experts with help for those planning similar rides this summer.

If you are a fellow cyclist with questions or suggestions for the video, contact me at walt@walthester.com with what’s on your mind. If you don’t ride, but want to get involved, as the Ride the Rockies will be spending the night here, contact us to put your logo on my back as I lead the sweaty and doubtless hungry, thirsty, and sore peloton into our beautiful town. I don’t mind wearing logos. It helps fulfill my fantasies of being a sponsored athlete.

Significantly further up the cycling food chain, the first European stage races began this week. The “Race to the Sun”, Paris-Nice, started on Sunday with a short time trial that, surprisingly, did not see world champion Tony Martin of Omega Pharma-Quickstep crush all comers. The young German finished 25 seconds and 27 places behind Swedish National Time Trial Champion Gustav Larrson of Vacansoleil-DCM. After five of eight stages, several leaders have emerged to challenge for this race’s yellow jersey. American Levi Leipheimer, now riding for Omega Pharma-Quickstep, fellow American and part-time Colorado resident Tejay Van Garderen of BMC Racing, Brit Bradley “Wiggo” Wiggins of Team Sky and Movistar’s Alejandro Valerde are jammed in within 39 seconds of each other. Of those, Van Garderen is the least likely to emerge on top once they get down to the Mediterranean coast.

Unfortunately for many riders, illness is as big a factor as any this year. Both Andy Schleck and Andreas Kloden of the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek, as well as Taylor Phinney of BMC, have pulled out of the race siting gastroenteritis.

Meanwhile, in Italy, the Tirreno-Adriatico has begun. Australia’s new super team, Green Edge, won the opening team time trial on Wednesday, giving the first leaders jersey to Matt Goss. On stage two, the Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish, took the bunch sprint.

While Paris-Nice is considered the test for climbers, the “Race of the Two Seas” is very much a sprinter’s race. Along with the large lovers of flat terrain, possible contenders include last season’s Tour de France champ Cadel Evens, riding for BMC, and American Chris Horner, riding for RadioShack-Nissan-Trek.

You may already know that the Ride the Rockies’ biggest sponsor is the Denver Post. Did you know that most of the big races, and even rides, that you have heard of were originally promotional events for newspapers?

In fact, the two most celebrated jerseys in pro cycling, the Tour’s Maillot Jaune and the Giro’s Maglia Rosa, get their colors from the pages of the newspapers that started the races. The French newspaper L’Auto’s pages were yellow at the time of the first leaders jersey, rumored to be in about 1903. The pink pages of the La Gazzetta dello Sport was the inspiration for the jersey for the annual tour of Italy. Iowa’s Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, aka RAGRAI, is sponsored by the Des Moines Register, following this distinguished tradition. Without newspapers, the races and rides we know and love would look completely different. Just something to think about.

The weather is warming, so have fun, be safe. I’m going riding.

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