PRO TIPS BY NIC HAMILTON: 10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW HAPPENED DURING RACE WEEK
- THE AMOUNT OF FOOD CONSUMED IS UNBELIEVABLE:
Riders at the Tour of Alberta presented by ATB Financial will be served breakfast and dinner every day of the tour. It is buffet style, and riders will load their plates full. Hotels are dumbfounded when the amount of food with respect to the number of mouths to feed is requested; it is easily double what they expect.
- ELEVATOR MAYHAM IS INEVITABLE:
When you have over 100 riders and staff all trying to leave the hotel at the same time, the elevators get a mean workout. Some hotels only have one or two lifts and the lines stretch all through the lobby. If you want an up close and personal rider experience, try to take an elevator in the morning. Sneaky riders will sometimes take the service elevator at the risk of a stern talking to from housekeeping staff.
- MASSAGES ARE WORTH GOLD:
It is not uncommon to walk passed an open door and see a half naked dude lying on a table draped in sheets. Massage is a great recovery tool and leave hallways filled with aromas of various lotions and creams.
- PARKING IS GOING TO BE A NIGHTMARE, EVEN FOR THE RACE ENTOURAGE, ALL WEEK LONG:
With buses, cars, and a plethora of motorcycles the parking lots at the hotel are usually a very crowded place.
- THERE IS A SMALL DOWNFALL TO A PODIUM FINISH:
Sometimes landing on the podium comes with a price. The riders that do well often wont get back to the hotel for an hour or two after the rest of the riders. They must wait for podiums, doping control, and press conferences. They are still in their cycling clothes while their teammates are eating cereal and having a massage.
- THE DIRECTORS GET IT DONE AT ANY COST:
Team managers all have each others’ cell phone numbers on speed dial. If a situation arises where it’s advantageous for teams to work together, then the directors will have a chat about it and make it happen.
- BOTTLE SERVICE ON THE COURSE HAPPENS:
The domestiques, or helper riders, will make many trips from the front of the pack to the back where they get water and food from the cars. It is not uncommon for a rider to gather eight or more water bottles, stash them all inside their jersey and ride to their teammates and distribute the load.
- SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO GO…:When a rider has to go to the bathroom and there isn’t time to pull over, there is only one option. An extremely handy skill bikers use to make life easier during the race is urinating off the bike. Usually done on a downhill, when pedaling isn’t necessary to keep up, racers will relieve themselves…sometimes at speed of up to 80km/hr.
- WE ARE ALL FRIENDS, ENEMIES, OR FRENEMIES:Like a lot of pro sports, trades and transfers happen. Riders may have been teammates for several years and quickly become competitors. During the easier parts of the races you will see riders from different teams interacting and sharing a laugh. However, that is not to say they won’t try to rip each other’s legs off later.
- THE SHOW MUST GO ON:
Since every rider must complete the race each day in order to start the next, continuing on after a crash is a must. We hope it doesn’t happen, but if there is a crash you will see the riders hop back on and finish the day – they are likely a lot more messed up than they let on, I mean, jumping out of your car at 60km/hr wearing only your underwear doesn’t seem like a good idea does it…bikers are tough as nails.