Archive for June, 2008

A Conversation with AB Provincial Coach – Jay Gillespie

Posted in Racing on June 30, 2008 by Sarns

Bike Alberta caught up with Alberta Provincial Coach Jay Gillespie at a bike
race in Marquette, Michigan on his way to Road Nationals in St George, Quebec. We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with him about cyclingin Alberta, where it’s at and where it’s going.

BikeAlberta: So Jay, several months into the 2008 race season and there has been lots of progress, can you tell us about it?

Jay Gillespie: Ya, we had some staff turnover in the fall, hired on some young blood and really got to work with what we thought needed improvement in the Alberta race scene. The first on the agenda was the race calendar. I draw lot of comparisons between Alberta and this race here in Marquette. Marquette is somewhat geographically isolated, but the cycling community here puts on an awesome race with a wicked twilight crit course and because of their enthusiasm, they attract quality riders. That’s what we needed to do in Alberta and thus far have succeeded in doing. Work with organizers to help them put on high quality, professional, fun events and the scene and the numbers will take care of themselves.

BA: Any Highlights from the first couple months?

JG: The new handbook was definitely needed, so that was the first highlight. The new youth category in Road has been awesome. Seeing those kids fight it out amongst each other is great and providing a category with age appropriate distances was something that was definitely needed. The return of mountain bike races to the province in a big way is another thing that jumps out at me. We’ve had quite a few quality events thus far this season and I see it building from here. And of course Banff Bike Fest has to jump out as a highlight. A stage race in Banff National Park that was able to go off so well and have such a quality field. It just proves that Alberta is here to stay on the racing scene. I can’t wait until next year.

BA: How about the provincial team, there have also been some changes there as well?

JG: We’ve made some changes to focus the team more on the junior and Espoir aged athletes, aiming particularly at the Canada Summer Games in 2009. We added both road and mountain projects, as well as some Provincial Team racing in Alberta this year. Really what it does is fall in line with just about every other province. In the old system once athletes would move out of the junior age group and into the Espoir ages, there was really nothing for them. What the provincial team should be doing is developing athletes
and giving them the experience that when the time comes to move up to the Senior Ranks, they are ready to take the next step. I want these riders to have as many opportunities as possible to gain experience in different situations. When teams look for new riders, they look at the Alberta Provincial team cause they know that they’re getting a quality experienced rider who is going to be a great asset to their team.

BA: What’s with these new time standards?

JG: What we’ve done is made pursuit time standards mandatory on the track for all the athletes attending provincial projects. This was implemented by the CCA starting last year for Junior World’s selections and we are following their direction. This insures that our riders are ready for meeting the criteria set forth by the CCA, but also increases the minimum fitness level of Alberta riders so that they are capable of finishing in the front 50% of the field. It also helps create multi discipline athletes; we have two tracks in Alberta that are underused and getting the youth onto the track is only going to make create better riders in Alberta. You can be an awesome rider without ever riding the track, but riding the track definitely helps.

BA: More events, great provincial team. So far so good. So where are you off to now?

JG: I’ll be in Bromont for several days with Brayden Macdougall for Paracyling Track Nationals (June 21-25). There is a good possibility he could go to the Para-Olympics this year so i’m very excited about him having
that opportunity. Then I’m off to Junior & Paracycling Road Nationals in St George de Beauce (June 25 – July 1). We have three promising junior athletes (Jessica Kisell, Dustin Andrews and David Larson) so that should be good as well. Then Back to Bromont for a pre-junior world’s camp (July 1-5), where I will be helping select the National Track team for Junior Worlds in Cape Town, South Africa. Along with Ontario Provincial Coaching Director Denise Kelly, Former ABA Sport Coordinator Scott Kelly, and Masseuse Nick Cowan,
i’ll be one of the staff on the CCA Junior Worlds project in Cape Town South Africa (July 6-22). We then come right back to Quebec and it’s instantly off to the Tour de l’Abitibi (July 23-30) with what potentially could be our strongest team in the last few years.

BA: First CCA Project, Are you excited?

JG: Definitely. We have some awesome athletes and great staff, so there’s the opportunity to get great results and gain experience which I’ll be able to put back into my coaching work in Alberta. I’m honoured that my peers respect my abilities and have entrusted me to attend this project.

BA: Congrats and Good luck over the next couple months. We’ll catch up with you along way at some point and see how things are going. Watch out for that Scott Kelly. He’s not to be messed with before he gets a couple cups of coffee in him in the morning.

JG: I’ll keep that in mind. Let me know what he takes in his coffee.

BA: Thanks for doing this and Good luck again.


Kamloops Canada Cup – Alberta’s Heemskerk 3rd!

Posted in MTB, Racing on June 29, 2008 by Sarns

A handful of Alberta MTB racers braved the elements and competed in the Kamloops Canada Cup this past Sunday.  Racers had to contend with 40+ degree heat and lung burning dust.

Edmonton’s Tim Heemskerk (United Cycle) finished on the podium in 3rd spot today at the 4th stop on the Canada Cup circuit. It was a last minute decision for Heemskerk to attend this race however it turns out that it was worth the 8 hr drive to Kamloops.

Justin Middleton (Team Alberta / Juventus) matched Heemskerk’s performance by placing 3rd in the Junior Men’s race as well.

The Hardcore duo of Steve Martins & Mike Blennerhasset ripped up the Master 30-39 category by going 1st & 2nd respectively.

Ty Andrews (Team Alberta) finished a strong 3rd in a deep U17 category.

And rounding out the day of Alberta rider podiums was Kelly Hall (Team Alberta) taking the win in the women’s U17 category.

Congratulations to all AB riders who found success on the Canada Cup circuit this past weekend.

Full results can be viewed [here]

The next stop for the MTB Canada Cup Series is in our backyard – Canmore, AB. See you there!

Albertan’s @ Road Nationals

Posted in Racing, Road on June 27, 2008 by Sarns

Junior Men’s Time Trial

8. David Larson (AB) Juventus – 29:24.06

14. Dustin Andrews (AB) Team Alberta – 29:54.52

Junior Women’s Time Trial

4. Jessica Kisell (AB) Team Alberta – 25:18.15

13. Ellen Sparling (AB) Bicisport – 27:12.39


Men’s cerebral palsy

2. Brayden McDougall (Alberta)

Men’s tandem

2. Brian Cowie and Devon Smibert

Bike Policy Debate Bereft of Bicycle Commuters

Posted in Bicycle Commuting on June 26, 2008 by Sarns

Provided by Gary Beaton

On Wednesday, January 18th, the City Standing Policy Committee on Land Use, Planning and Transportation met to debate new cycling and pedestrian policies designed to make Calgary a better place to bike to work. Only two long distance commuters, Dave Fryett and myself, were present out of Calgary’s estimated five thousand commuting cyclists. We were joined by Peter Tombrowski who is a pedestrian commuter and author of the book ‘Urban Camping – a Testament to Living Without a Vehicle’. The only other year-round bicycle commuter in the room was City Alderman Brian Pincott who is not a member of the committee but was present because of his interest in sustainable transportation in Calgary.

Tombrowski is an advocate of a complete streets approach to urban planning with safe space for pedestrians and cyclists on city streets. He has done some promotion work with Calgary-based Chariot Carriers a manufacturer of bicycle trailers and robust jogging strollers. He did not address the committee.

Glaringly absent from the committee room were the usual suspects of recreational cyclists that present themselves as experts on year-round commuter cycling. However, the Transportation report included an attachment outlining the “thorough” stakeholder engagement process employed to develop the report and an attachment consisting of a letter of support for city bicycle commuting policies was a hearty endorsement of the City by the Calgary Pathway Advisory Committee chairperson. It will not surprise commuting cyclists to learn that the members of the CPAC are chosen by the City of Calgary. The responsibility of CPAC is to advise the Parks Department on issues pertaining to the Calgary multi-use pathway system in our parks.

There were other notable and obvious flaws in the stakeholder engagement process. Sustainable Alberta, which just organized the weeklong ‘Commuter Challenge’ to coincide with Environment Week, had not been asked for any input into the City’s policy. Ironically the City was a participant and supporter of the ‘Commuter Challenge’. In fact at the launch, ConocoPhillips President, Henry Sykes implored cyclists not to risk their safety for the sake of participating in the challenge and stressed that the spirit of friendly competitiveness should not be marred by a serious injury. Calgary has one of the higher participation rates of major Canadian cities in this event yet has the distinction of having the worst record for building cycling infrastructure.

Furthermore, the City did not consult with any bicycle couriers, bicycle industry representatives, local bicycle equipment manufacturers (Chariot), Sustainable Calgary, environmental groups that might be promoting the bicycle as an effective pollution-free mode of transportation. No oil industry economists were summoned to give predictions on what would happen to the numbers of bicycling commuters in Calgary if the price of gasoline goes up even more.

Fryett gave a presentation, supported with crisp, colour pictures, of the neglect of the commuter routes in the far SE. Pathways identified as bicycle routes still remain closed three years after the floods. The only access route from and to his subdivision is an unmaintained gravel road that transitions to single track. The City wants the developer to put in the asphalt path at no cost to the city so SE bike commuters are left to suffer the rough ride. Fryett produced a bike wheel and told Aldermen that he and his colleagues put up with broken spokes and the inconvenience of numerous repairs because of the standoff between the City and the developer.

In my presentation to the Committee, I pointed out that commuter cyclists were becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of dedicated cycling infrastructure in Calgary. I told Aldermen that I was personally offended by the City’s ‘Share the Road’ media campaign which featured a carton sketch of a car drawn around a picture of a cyclist. The road cannot be safely shared with a bicycle and an automobile weighing 1500 kilograms a differential in mass of one hundred fold. As a cyclist, I am dead if I do not share the road with cars – which in effect means that I have to anticipate dangerous driving behaviour. On the other hand, to the automobile driver ‘Share the Road’ means that a cyclist can use the road when the driver no longer is in need of the roadway. Without dedicated infrastructure that minimizes the risk of injury to the cyclist, males with higher risk tolerance predominate bicycle commuting on the streets of Calgary.

In future the City should be consulting commuting cyclists about transportation alternatives rather than a group of recreational cyclists appointed to a committee by the City. I pointed out that commuting cyclists did not make this an easy process. Calgary again has the dubious distinction of being the only city in which commuter cyclists are not represented by an organization to articulate and promote our interests.

The Committee was told that Calgary needed to drop its infatuation with importing best cycling practices into Canada from Europe and look to Melbourne, Australia. I related that Melbourne is home to the world’s largest cycling advocacy organization, Bicycle Victoria, with: in excess of forty thousand members, revenues of seven to ten millions of dollars (seventy percent generated from cyclists) and almost fifty FTE employees. BV had just set a goal of achieving a policy target of 30% commuter traffic into the downtown core. Melbourne was described as suburban city not unlike Calgary in terms of spatial footprint although with a larger population.

Calgary cyclists have to get their act together and start an organization that will represent the interests of commuting cyclists and speak clearly with one voice to policy-makers. The Committee was advised that this process has been initiated.

The presentations of the commuting cyclists brought about the most animated discussion of the morning from the aldermen and even sparked a spontaneous discussion among the audience of lobbyists and citizens who were patiently waiting for their items of business on the committee’s long agenda.

Edmonton’s Tichelaar Off to Beijing

Posted in Racing on June 25, 2008 by Sarns

Edmonton’s own Paul Tichelaar is featured on the front page of today’s Edmonton’s Metro – Canada’s #1 free national daily newspaper. Tichelaar talks about making the Olympic Triathlon team and his preparation for competing in hot and humid (and polluted) Beijing…

Read the online version of the story [here]

An article in the Edmonton Journal was also published.  It can be read [here]

Check out the video [here]

Banff Bike Fest Crit Video

Posted in Racing, Road on June 25, 2008 by Sarns

Provided by Cory Dickinson

Veloplzen’s Lords of Cowtown Longboard/Cruiser Pubcrawl

Posted in Bicycle Commuting on June 24, 2008 by Sarns

Provided by Sean Carter

summer has finally arrived with a bang and we have been blessed with mid-20’s temperatures and brilliant sunshine for a couple of weeks now. the good weather is welcomed by all – and was timed perfectly for our club ride yesterday – the Lords of Cowtown Longboard/Cruiser Pubcrawl! 14 of us started the ride by meeting at Molly Malone’s in Calgary’s Kensington district for beers/food and a little quality patio time. Once everyone was well lubricated and fed we proceeded to the next pub – The Barley Mill in the Eau Claire district – via Prince’s Island where we were joined by sara. during the ride over it seemed that everyone had their own way to get to the pub and what was suppose to be a leisurely pedal/skate over turned into a scramble with everyone scattering and taking their own preferred route – kinda looked more like a scavenger hunt than a pubcrawl! this scenerio would play out everytime we moved to the next pub – pretty funny really!

from Eau Claire we headed up to Stephen Ave and onto one of Calgary’s oldest pubs – The Unicorn. The avenue was packed full of people cruising, strolling, and generally having a good time. with the temperatures still hovering in the mid-20’s at 9pm every patio was jammed full and as a result we were relegated to basement part of the pub. it was here that we were joined by two more hoodlums – none other than farthing and lega.

there must have been something in the beer at the Unicorn ‘cuz once we started drinking it seemed like nobody wanted to leave! hey! – i thought this was a pub crawl! anyway, after a very long stop everyone saddled up and loe and behold, while we were in the pub someone had clipped cards in our spokes, giving the rest of the cruise that ‘ol moto sound you remember from being a kid! when was the last time you’ve done that? forever, i bet! anyway…back to the cruise…

after what felt like an eternity at the Unicorn, we left at scattered again with the next stop being just a few blocks away – The Drum and Monkey. I wish i had something great to tell you about this pub but all i can report is that the place smelled like piss and vomit and after one beer we were off again to our final destination – Tubby Dog! Tubby’s was rockin’ and the place was packed but we were able to walk right in, get our club discount on beer(s) and try to smother all that liquor in our tummy’s with grease, grease, and more grease! oh, and some ketchup!

thanks to everyone that came out – good time, good times!!