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July 29/05 2:07 am - Master's Games Wrap Up Report


Posted by Editoress on 07/29/05
 

Pam and John’s World Masters Games Cycling Journal
Wednesday July 27th

Pamela Egger and John Tolkamp are participating in Edmonton’s World Masters Games. These are our cycling stories and experiences from the world’s largest sporting event. We acknowledge, regrettably but unrepentantly, our bias in reporting about mostly Western Canadian cyclists and their results – it just happens to be who we know as friend and foe.

With both of us competing every day it’s been difficult to grab a few moments and write a new update – OK, enough of the excuses, like any one of you reading this care! The local papers have several pages dedicated to the World Masters Games each day and today there was a feature article about former Olympic high jumper Debbie Brill who suffered an achilles injury but went on to cheer her sister to victory. The Games even has its own bi-lingual newspaper which is published each morning with reports and features.

With the weather co-operating, the cycling events have been progressing on schedule for the organizers, the only challenge is dealing with large competitor and event numbers. A 1000 cyclists, with men and women categories of five year increments from 30 to 80 years of age proves to be a major challenge – much different than the single category of women and men cyclists at World Championships or Olympics!

Saturday Time-Trial – mastering the wind!

John’s prediction of the technical challenge in keeping grasshoppers out of the windpipe proved wrong – come Saturday morning there was nary a grasshopper in sight as they all had been blow east to Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The 40-60km/hr winds proved to be such a challenge that many competitors ditched aero wheels in favor of the relative stability and safety of low profile rims. On the outward leg, winds coming from the right shoulder made for an extremely tough slog. Post event stories circulating included one of someone feeling like their bike was stationary into the wind and another of a rider who was knocked over and having to be rescued from the ditch. On the return leg, for those who had the gears or leg speed, it was a quick trip back. Top competitors were able to sustain a 60 km/hr return leg and John clocked over 70km/hr through the slight dip under the railway bridge (equivalent to descending North Vancouver’s Cypress mountain on the prairies!).

At least 600 cyclists sent off every 30 seconds which made for a very long day for the commissaries, time keepers and volunteers.

TT Notables:

ß Despite the high winds, 60 year old Marsha Marsden from Colorado finished with an average speed of close to 36 km/hr to claim the age adjusted best time over all
ß 40 year old Bruce Copeland of Edmonton clocked the fastest time of the day at an average speed of over 46 km/hr, with 50 year old ageless wonder Olav Stana of Kamloops only a few seconds behind - despite finding himself spun out riding 650C wheels
ß A Great Britain competitor focusing on the pursuit rode a 96” fixed gear in the windy conditions
ß One competitor was seen sporting a 58 tooth chain; and in what we think is unrelated …
ß One competitor was listed as “missing” on the results sheet – updated results failed to mention the missing rider so we presume everything worked out all fine.

Sunday Road Race – hard fought racing

The early 1990’s Canada Cup and National Course winding its figure eight way through the heart of Edmonton’s river valley was resurrected to challenge the competitors. One short 8% 700 meter climb and a longer 4% 2km climb provided the geographical features which shaped the 11km race course. The course was a favorite of the racers and kudos to the City of Edmonton for closing all roads which included major routes and bridges to downtown! Race distances were on the short side as again numbers proved challenging to organizers. The 60+ categories were started at 7:30 am - I guess organizers figured the old guys and gals are up early anyways! All the women categories went late morning, with the 50 and under men’s categories going late afternoon. The 40’s and 50’s men’s fields were all large, with the largest being the 40-44 age group numbering a 100.

Typically groups whittled themselves down considerably on the course. While most ended up with a small to medium size field sprint, some races saw single or duo competitors solo in for medals. For the most part groups were able to keep themselves separated but there were instances of confusion and safety as groups joined or overtook each other in the final moments of the race.

Road Race Notables:
ß Cycling is truly a global sport – it was announced that cycling was the sport with the third most number of nations competing
ß Husband and wife team of Larry and Barb Zimich each brought home the gold in their respective categories. Barb sprinted out of a small group to claim her win, while husband Larry, uncharacteristically, left his office early to bridge up to a mid race attack by John and eventually soloed in for an impressive win
ß Heavy favorite, Olav Stana, was nipped at the finish line by New York State champion, Mr Swan in the 50-54 age category
ß The 40-44 women raced aggressively and overtook the 30-34 and 35-39 groups before the race was 1/3 complete

Track Racing at the Argyle Velodrome – home track of Juventus and Lori-Ann Muenzer

This was our first visit to the Argyle Velodrome, a “somewhat bumpy” 333 meter concrete track. It has an impressive new club house complete with wall of fame, weight room, store and coffee bar complete with large flat screen TV showing requisite bike porn – a great place to hang out when not racing. The racing consisted of pursuit qualifications on Monday, sprint qualifications, pursuit and 500 meter TT finals on Tuesday, 750 meter TT and scratch race finals on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are dedicated to deciding the final sprint medalists. With several previous national team athletes in attendance, including Kelly Ann Erdman, Keith Bruneau, Steen Madsen and Doug Baron to name a few, the competition is truly world class.

Track Notables:
ß Super Master couple, Bruce and Susan Copeland added pursuit gold to each of their individual TT and Susan’s road race gold medals
ß Luis Bernard and Chris Antsey put together a thrilling pursuit final. Chris (current World Masters Champion) had set the fastest time in qualifying and was up against his BC arch rival. In the finals, Luis went out fast putting pressure on Chris and while leading with less than a lap, couldn’t hang on as Chris snatched the gold by a measly 0.002 seconds!
ß The Brits, Aussies, Columbians and Guatemalans were a major contingent of competitors, along with smattering of Russians and Germans
ß It was great to see Lori-Ann Muenzer, Olympic Sprint Champion, out and about and helping with the medal ceremonies

Wrapping up

Well that’s it for your World Masters’ Games embedded reporters, we have other commitments and unfortunately can’t stick around for the sprint and criterium event. Just as disappointing, we are missing the closing games ceremony and party. For us it has been a blast and we aren’t heading home empty handed as Pam snagged a silver in the TT and bronze in the 40-44 women’s road events. Also, we have made some new friends and have more contacts to look up when our cycling travels and races are beyond BC. Even though John was feeling under the weather and lacked that little extra, he still was competitive in all events; a 6th in the TT (2 seconds out of fourth), 4th in the scratch race and pursuit. He lost the bronze medal by less than a second in the pursuit as Bob Cameron put in a blistering last 500 meters to come from behind. We’ve got various pictures and video footage from several of the scratch races which we plan to put up next week once we’ve had a chance to catch our breath.

Sydney 2009 beckons and like true masters athletes the thought of just squeaking into the next age group (45-49) motivates us and means we’ll have to take full advantage of having the young legs – yep, only masters athletes can see the silver lining in aging.

 


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