Skinny tyres and speed
Bikes racing, at high speed, lightweight frames, skinny tyres and bodies fully-kitted in lycra. It’s not the type of bike-riding that I do. In fact, it’s quite the opposite to the slow, leisurely rides on my touring bike’s sturdy frame bearing stable tyres and weighty pannier bags, with me donning ‘dress for my destination’ clothing. Yet, as different as racing bikes are, I quite like watching them. And this weekend, I had the opportunity to watch some fantastic racing right on my doorstep.
Yesterday on the Gold Coast, the inaugural Kirra Criterium was held. In bike racing, a criterium is a short course race that involves multiple laps around a defined circuit. For the Kirra Criterium, a 1.2 kilometre circuit was created on the Kirra Beach esplanade along Musgrave Street. And from 8am the racing started.
Each race involved a fixed time of riding plus two laps. For example, cyclists in the Open Women category, raced around the circuit for 30 minutes and then were told there are two laps to race. On the final lap, a bell is rung, the speed kicks up and the excitement builds!
The criterium requires stamina and speed. The riders fly past as a blur. The only place they slow down is at the turnaround at each end of the circuit. With my tiny GoPro camera designed to capture fast movement, I explored a few different vantage points. One of them was a turnaround point where I saw a professional photographer crouching down to catch a front shot of the cyclists as they approached the turnaround.
He beckoned me over and said: line your camera up with the white line (on the road)… even put your camera on the line. So I did. And then eyeballed the cyclists as they hurtled towards us before turning. I learnt a little bit more about photography yesterday thanks Peter Hamilton Mills. People who excel at what they do are always the most generous at sharing their knowledge.
So the three categories raced, the crowds cheered and the skinny tyres went at a speed far faster than I’d ever want to ride. But does it matter what type of bike we ride or clothes we wear or speed we travel? Not to me – just get onya bike 🙂