As the Tri-City News’ ad-hoc cycling reporter, pretty much any story on two wheels gets sent my way. But not all bikes have just two wheels. Or one rider.
You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can get him on a bike every couple of years.
At 106 years, Don Simpson certainly qualifies as old. In fact, according to Phil Reist, the driver of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s “Big Bike,” he’s likely the oldest participant to ever ride the 29-passenger behemoth bicycle that helps raise money and awareness to prevent heart disease.
Simpson was the captain of a contingent of spry seniors from the Mayfair Terrace retirement home in Port Coquitlam who took the Big Bike for a 20-minute spin on the roads around Coquitlam Centre last Friday. It wasn’t his first rodeo, though.
Simpson cycled the Big Bike when he was much younger — two years ago when he was 104. But he also remembers riding his bike as a boy around Vancouver’s Stanley Park and attending the six-day bike races at the old China Creek velodrome.
“That was our stomping ground,” he said.
So when it came time to climb aboard the gargantuan single-geared machine, Simpson knew exactly where he wanted to be. He ignored the requests of a photographer and cameraman to mount an outboard seat so they could get a clear shot of him pedalling, and instead scrambled — slowly, and with a bit of help — to the middle row at the very back. After all, who’s going to argue with someone his age?
And with a few last-minute instructions from Reist, a shake of the maracas and other noisemakers to ensure passersby notice the big bike — like they’re going to miss it? — they were off.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Simpson isn’t the only centenarian on the big bike team from Mayfair Terrace. Jessie, who’s being escorted to the team photograph, is 103.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS And they’re off, with an appropriate message as their send-off.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Don Simpson, 106, gives the thumbs up for the big bike to depart.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Simpson is not going to let a photographer and cameraman dictate his place on the big bike so they can get shots of him pedalling. He heads mid-ship.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Simpson gets his photo taken prior to climbing aboard the big bike as captain of a team of seniors from Mayfair retirement home in Port Coquitlam.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Don Simpson, 106, gets a little help climbing aboard the big bike.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Brian and Barb Corbould, right, lead some of their team members from Mayfair retirement home, in a little warm-up dance prior to embarking on a ride on the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s “big bike.”
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Big Bike driver Phil Reist gives the cyclists from Mayfair Terrace retirement home their instructions to stay safe and have fun.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The seniors from Mayfair retirement home in Port Coquitlam arrive to ride the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s “Big Bike” on roads around Coquitlam Centre last Friday.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Don Simpson, 106, is the team’s captain, and a veteran of riding the big bike. He last did it two years ago, when he was 104.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The big bike’s pilot, Phil Reist, awaits his charges from Mayfair Terrace retirement home.
Alex Turner was a new mom when she ran headlong into postpartum depression.
She didn’t have it. But the former television reporter felt deeply connected to the news coverage of a young Burnaby mother who’d gone missing for three weeks until her body was found near Bowen Island.
In a heart-wrenching post on Facebook, the woman’s husband said she had been struggling with breastfeeding her newborn son, but without a community of moms around her to provide support and reassurance, she gave into her feelings of guilt and anxiety.
“I could feel her struggle,” said Turner, whose own son was about the same age as the woman’s child. “You have a new person you have to care for, yet you can feel you’re so alone.”
So when Turner became pregnant with her second child, she was determined not to let herself become isolated by creating her own community of new moms who could lean on and learn from each other, who would appreciate the opportunity to just get out of the house.
A year later, Turner’s Tri-Cities Moms Monthly “Meeting” group has more than 500 members from New Westminster to Maple Ridge, several dozen of whom gathered with their infants and toddlers for their regular assembly Thursday at the outdoor patio behind Yellow Dog Brewery in Port Moody.
Turner said while social media like Facebook and Instagram might provide a refuge for new moms, digital connections aren’t a substitute for real, personal interaction.
“You need to come together face-to-face,” she said.
And what better place to do that than the family-friendly environs of one of Port Moody’s craft breweries where moms can have adult conversations while their babies and toddler roll around on blankets spread on the soft wood chip ground of the expansive and shaded back outdoor patio?
“We’re in this together,” Turner said.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Fernanda Carli shares a giggle with her two-year-old daughter, Carli.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Ty Hardless, 11 months, appears to be savouring a beer next to his mom, Sandy.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Parking spots for strollers at the monthly Tri-Cities Beer and Babies meetup group at Yellow Dog Brewing fill quickly.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Nancy Wong’s beer is reflected in her sunglasses as she relaxes with her daughter, Joelle, 6 months.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Angela Teymoori turns her arrival at the Tri-Cities Babies + Beer meetup at Yellow Dog Brewing in Port Moody into an Instagrammable moment with her son, Darius, who’s five months old.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Olivia Ong, 2, turns a cornhole board into an impromptu slide at the monthly gathering of the Tri-Cities Babies and Beer meetup group at Yellow Dog Brewing in Port Moody.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Michelle Cochrane makes her arrival, with her five-month-old son, Grayson, at the monthly gathering moms and their babies at Yellow Dog Brewing in Port Moody.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Chrystal Santos stays cool with a cider while her son, Callum, who’s four-months-old, stays cool with stylin’ sunglasses.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The outdoor back patio at Yellow Dog Brewing in Port Moody fills quickly with moms and their babies during the monthly gathering of the Tri-Cities Beer and Babies meetup group.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Carly Somner enjoys a beer accompanied by her seven-month-old daughter, Lucy.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Sarah Williams shares a moment with her son, Aiden, 8 months, during the monthly Tri-Cities Babies and Beer meet up group at Yellow Dog Brewing in Port Moody.
One of the (rare) perks of being a journalist is being able to share some stories that are so cool, you’re walking on Cloud 9 when you leave the assignment.
One of my newsroom colleagues heard about a retired Italian engineer, who also ran a Ferrari and Lambourghini car dealership for several years, with a passion for painting reproductions of masterworks by the likes of Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Gaugin, Renoir. We made arrangements to meet, but nothing could prepare us for the splendour in Cosimo Gericatano’s house.
Every wall, and even some of the ceilings, were hung with precise duplications of renowned paintings that adorn the best museums in the world. Mona Lisa, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Creation of Adam, Allegory of the Planets and Continents were all there, every brushstroke and subtle hue recreated over hundreds of hours of exacting work.
Hanging with Cosimo was like spending a couple of hours with the Italian gentleman we all aspire to be, from his crisp cotton shirt and pressed trousers, as well as his trimmed grey hair to his encyclopedic knowledge of the paintings and artists he’s reproduced, gleaned from hours of research on the internet and visits to the museums where the originals are displayed. Not to mention the red Testarossa parked in his pristine garage.
Here’s the link to our story. And here’s the photos I shot.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Geracitano not only paints reproductions of master works on canvas, he also sculpts in marble and jade in a converted garage in his Coquitlam home.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Gericatano spends hundreds of hours recreating master paintings from high-res images he finds on the internet and high quality posters he keeps filed in a storage room in the basement of his Coquitlam home.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Gericatano is in the final stages of completing his last painting, a fresco he will hand on the ceiling in the dining room of his Coquitlam home. He says he’s run out of space for new works.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS A detail of Allegory of the Planets and Continents that was painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo in 1752 and is being meticulously reproduced by retired Coquitlam engineer Cosimo Geracitano so he can hang it on the ceiling of his dining room. He says it will be his last painting as he’s run out of room in his house.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Retired engineer Cosimo Geracitano has surrounded himself with paintings in his Coquitlam home by some of the world’s great masters, including Da Vinci, Renoir, Van Gogh and John Constable. But he’s not fabulously wealthy. He’s meticulously painted the reproductions himself.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Cosimo Geracitano paints the name of each master painter he’s recreated on the leaves of an artificial tree in the basement of his Coquitlam home.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS A detail from Cosimo Geracitano’s reproduction of The Gotthard Post, by Rudolf Koller.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS When Cosimo Geracitano wakes up every mornng in his Coquitlam home, the first thing he sees is his reproduction of Auguste Renoir’s The Large Bathers.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Paul Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, as painted by Coquitlam artist Cosimo Geracitano.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS A detail from Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula, painted in 1641 by Glaude Gallée and reproduced by retired engineer Cosimo Geracitano in his Coquitlam home.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The living room of Cosimo Geracitano’s Coquitlam home is decorated with paintings by some of the world’s greatest masters. But they’re all reproductions the retired engineer painted himself.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Geracitano paints the name of all the master painters whose works he’s reproduced on the leaves of an artificial tree in his Coquitlam home. He still has a lot of leaves to fill.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Cosimo Geracitano uses posters or high resolution images as his guide to recreating paintings by the master.
While the major rainstorm that was forecast held off, dozens of riders still got down and dirty at Saturday’s annual Donkey Cross cyclocross race in Port Coquitlam’s Castle Park.
The race was the first of seven that comprise the Lower Mainland Cyclocross series.
Cyclocross is like steeplechase racing on two wheels. Riders navigate a winding, undulating course for several laps that includes obstacles, a metres-long “beach” of soft sand, and even a stretch of snow from a local arena dumped into a corner. The sport originated as a form of off-season training for road cyclists in Northern Europe who would often challenge each other to get to the coffee shop in the next village the quickest. Often, that meant traversing farmers’ fields and hopping fences and hedges, elements that are still honoured in modern cyclocross racing.
A version of this article appeared in The Tri-City News.
It’s one thing to build a multi-use path, quite another to get walkers and cyclists to use it.
Port Moody accomplished the former with its $4.627-million upgrade of Gatensbury Avenue to make the steep, winding connector between it and the city and Coquitlam safer for motorists and add a $285,000 multi-use path (MUP) along its western flank for pedestrians and people on bikes.
The project was identified as an early priority in Port Moody’s master transportation plan, which was endorsed by council in March 2017. That plan will see the city invest more than $31 million over the next 20 years to make it easier to get around the city, and encourage more sustainable modes of transportation, like walking and cycling.
Ascending Gatensbury, though, remains a test of fortitude, leg strength and lung capacity.
Already the climb to the top has been dubbed the “Gatensbury Gasp” on social media by some pedestrians who have ascended its 12% average pitch over 1.1 kilometres since it reopened to traffic at the end of May.
But what does that mean for cyclists?
Always up for a good bike story, I set out to find out.
I’m not a climber. Descending is more my jam.
I ride up hills and mountains because I have to get to the top so I can turn around and speed back down.
For the most part, cyclists have avoided Gatensbury for years because of its narrow lanes that lacked a shoulder and its pocked pavement that made it unsafe at worst, uncomfortable at best.
Oh yeah, there’s also its perilous steepness, which ranges from 11.1% at the bottom to 18.3% in its final rise.
By comparison, Mont Ventoux, one of the iconic climbs of the Tour de France, peaks at 12% and the Muur van Geraardsbergen in Belgium, that has been a decisive climb in big-time professional bike races like the Tour of Flanders, rises an average of 9.3% over its 1,075 metres over bumpy, tire-eating cobbles that can rattle the fillings from your teeth.
The pavement on Gatensbury’s new MUP is smooth tarmac, not yet heaved by straying tree roots or ravaged by winter freezes and thaws.
The path is also wide — maybe not wide enough to allow teetering cyclists to weave their own switchbacks to stay upright, but certainly wide enough for pedestrians and riders going uphill to pass each other easily.
According to Strava, an online app that allows cyclists and runners to upload data from their GPS devices, 43 cyclists have completed the segment called “Todds Gatensbury climb,” which is .94 km from the base of the hill at Henry and Grant streets to Bartlett Avenue at the top, this year. The fastest was Matthew Cox, a Port Moody cyclist who made it to the top in four minutes, four seconds. That’s an average speed of 13.9 km/h and well off the all-time record of 17.7 km/h by Brett Wakefield back in 2015, when the road was in much worse shape and there was no MUP. Some notable athletes have also tackled Gatensbury, including Canadian Olympic triathlete Simon Whitfield — he did it in 3:49 in 2013.
At the start of the MUP, after a warmup pedal from The Tri-City News’ office in Port Coquitlam, I could only dream of such blinding uphill speed. In fact, I just wanted to survive without my knees, or heart, exploding.
The climbing starts at a modest 3.9% at Henry and Moody streets but by the time it hits its first switchback, it touches 17%. It’s about then I realize I’m still in second gear. I veer into a driveway to change gears because doing so under high torque in a difficult climb can blow apart a derailleur.
The second switchback is consistently around 15% but goes as steep as 18.2%.
But the nastiness is just getting started.
Looking ahead, the road straightens, the gradient moderates slightly and the end seems in sight. The bike computer says I’m doing 6.6 km/h but, gasping for breath and rocking side-to-side, it feels like I’m standing still.
Then, the road veers left to reveal its cruelest twist: more climbing, some of it is as steep as 17.3%.
I reach Bartlett Avenue 7:09 after I started the climb, the 25th-fastest — or 18th slowest — ascent of the segment recorded on Strava so far this year.
As I turn to cross the road and collect my reward — a speedy descent on Gatensbury’s smooth, new pavement — a cyclist on an electric-assist bike with fat, cushy tires, cruises nonchalantly by on the uphill side. He’s smiling, with barely a bead of sweat on his brow.
We all have mentors. They’re the people who show us the way, whether they know it or not. Mine was Ron Kuzyk. He was a steelworker and a hell of a photojournalist who worked the weekend shift we came to share for a stretch at the Burlington Post, where I started my career. Ron passed away this week.
In 1984, I was just out of journalism school and determined to use a camera as my storytelling tool of choice. Circumstances that summer connected me to George Tansley, then the chief photographer at the Post. He said he could offer me some shifts to relieve his weekend guy who spent his weekdays working at Stelco and sometimes needed a break from the grind.
That guy was Ron.
We probably first met in the studio/darkroom one of those weekends; he was likely passing through to collect something, and I was probably trying to figure out how I too could get some of the great shots that were printed and hung on the walls of the studio and down the hall outside it. I particularly remember a colour wintry silhouette of a kid balancing on a fence, arms and leg splayed out; I loved that photo.
Of course it, and many of the others, was shot by Ron.
Especially the sports.
I knew I wanted to be able to shoot sports like Ron.
He could capture peak action like nobody’s business, but he also had a keen eye for those quiet moments, like the kid stealing a glance back at his coach, the consoling hand on a player’s shoulder, the goofiness of 5 year-old t-ballers.
And, amazingly, he didn’t need big time pro athletes or glorious bright arena lighting to get his great sports photos. He made them in dark high school gyms, dusty sandlot baseball diamonds and pocked minor soccer pitches.
Over the course of that summer, as Ron and I crossed paths, we became buddies. He encouraged me, talked me through the frustrations of learning how to shoot with the Hasselblad because the big colour transparencies made for better front page colour reproduction. But mostly he showed me the way with his eye and his instincts.
Whenever I had the chance, I studied his contact sheets, checked out his prints, paid attention to his byline (although, by the second week I was already pretty good at spotting a Ron shot in the paper), and when my shooting shifts came, I distilled what I learned to get in the right position for a good baseball shot, look all around at a spot news scene to find that storytelling moment, seek out a fun juxtaposition at a community event.
When I happened to be in the darkroom and he popped by for a studio shot, I studied how he set up the lights and, more importantly, how he made his subjects feel at ease, joked with them, broke through their guard to find something that captured the story they were there to tell.
Ron was the most natural, instinctual photojournalist I ever met. More importantly, he was also the most fun. Because as much as we liked to bitch about shooting pet of the week or real estate features, as much as the repetitiveness of shooting the same cycle of community events year after year wore down your creativity, he really got a kick out of his job, and that joy came through in every one of his frames (well maybe not the photos of used cars for dealer ads).
The next summer, all the lessons I’d absorbed from Ron paid off when I landed a full-time gig at Oshawa This Week.
On the weekends I wasn’t working, I often came back to Burlington to visit my family and hang with Ron. Usually over beers, sometimes in the vicinity of naked women dancing on stages. We kibitzed and kvetched as professional colleagues. We also complained, because that’s what journalists do when we get together (oh, if only we knew then what was coming for our industry, for our profession…)
But when Ron finally made the decision to cut his ties — and the big paycheque — to Stelco, he was over the moon with delight, thrilled to be working full-time at his passion even if it meant keeping his heap blue car that smelled like an ashtray on the road a little longer.
There were often adventures on those weekends, usually involving Post sports reporters Kevin Nagel, Dave Rashford and Tim Whitnell as well; road hockey in the back parking lot on New Street, some ice hockey games, the annual Metroland slo-pitch tournament, a concert or two.
When a group of us bought a tournament package for the 1987 Canada Cup series, Ron somehow managed to get photo accreditation for the climactic final so when Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky and the rest of that amazing Canadian team were celebrating their victory on the ice at Copp’s Coliseum, we were peering through our binoculars from the upper deck at Ron sliding around working the scrums. Oh yeah, he scored an amazing photo of the two superstars celebrating, jumping into each other’s arms behind the net in his corner. Like I said, Ron had great instincts for timing.
When I headed west in 1991, our contact became more sporadic.
He came out once, riding shotgun in his brother’s big rig. I drove him around, showing him my new turf, including a bar or two that may or may not have had a brass pole. I think the motel in Port Coquitlam where he stayed burned down shortly after his visit.
Again with the timing.
When I was home for a visit, we’d go for beers or lunch and shoot the shit about old times, compare notes about our current situations.
But I’ve always felt Ron’s guiding hand, tried to follow his eye, even as I forged my own path as a community photojournalist.
I know the changes to our industry weren’t easy for Ron. He was old-school, driven to get the shot and to hell with all the bullshit of the business.
After he left the Post, we caught up a few times on my visits back to Ontario. I think one of those times I managed to tell him how much impact he’d had on my own career, how those early exchanges in the Post studio set me on my path.
We also tried connecting on social media, but Ron was never one for the Facebook, unless he was trading/peddling his vinyl records. I think he Tweetered about 12 times.
But even as our contact waned, Ron was often in my thoughts. He’s the reason I park myself about three metres back of first base at a baseball game so I can reach second base for a steal or double play, but also can grab a close play at first. He’s the reason I sit instead of stand at the touchline of a soccer match because that means a cleaner background. He’s the reason I keep my eye on the bench near the end of a big game as much as on the playing arena. He’s the reason I’m still trying to emulate that great wintry silhouette of a kid balancing on a fence.
The local junior hockey team recently scheduled an afternoon game on a weekday to accommodate a promotion to attract school kids and seniors to the arena.
I could have gone and just shot a period of action and been done with it. But this presented a rare opportunity to do a little more storytelling. So I arranged for all-access about an hour before game time so I could tell the story of what goes on in that hour leading up to the opening face-off.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Couqitlam Express trainer Russ Maceluch carefully stacks pucks the team’s players will use during their pre-game warmup.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Longtime Express broadcaster Eddie Gregory does some last-minute preparation in his booth at center ice. He’s been with the team since it’s first season.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Concession attendant Sonya Folster begins loading up bags of popcorn in anticipation of a crowd of young people as students from several schools are expected to attend Wednesday’s midday game.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Coquitlam Express forward Dallas Farrell gets his stick ready for Wednesday’s game against the Langley Rivermen.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Volunteer ticket seller Yvonne Kiraly counts tickets prior to the doors opening for Wednesday’s midday game against the Langley Rivermen. She said she’s been helping out since last year.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Coquitlam Express forward Danny Pearson and Langley Rivermen defenceman Alec Capstick collide as they battle for a loose puck in the first period of their BC Hockey League game, Wednesday at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Team chiropractor Harrison Wagner and trainer Russ Maceluch deliver the players’ sticks to the bench.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Coquitlam Express forward Chase Danol waits as the team’s trainer, Ross Maceluch, lays out some snacks prior to the team’s midday game against the Langley Rivermen on Wednesday.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Even with a midday start, some fans showed up an hour early for Wednesday’s game between the Coquitlam Express and Langley Rivermen.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Express head coach Jason Fortier heads out of his office to address the team prior to the start of their game on Wednesday against the Langley Rivermen.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Coquitlam Express trainer Ross Maceluch lays out uniforms and equipment for the players before their arrival for Wednesday’s midday game against the Langley Rivermen.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Express forward Christian Sanda takes a quiet moment in the stands prior to the team’s midday game against the Langley Rivermen on Wednesday. He said he uses the time to visualize the game ahead before he gets dressed to play.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Hockey gloves dry in a rack.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The visiting Langley Rivermen are a blur of motion as they warm up at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex prior to their midday game against the Coquitlam Express on Wednesday.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Langley Rivermen forward Tanner Versluis gets checked into the Coquitlam Express bench by Chase Danol in the first period of their BC Hockey League game, Wednesday at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Express starting goalie for the game, Kolby Matthews, takes a quiet moment prior to the team skating onto the ice.
I love shooting cyclocross. Especially if the weather is bleak. That just makes the muck much more epic.
Leaden skies and rain might mean the end of summer. But for cyclocross racers, the fun is just beginning.
The Vancouver Cyclocross coalition kicked off its season of nine races in the Lower Mainland Saturday with the annual Donkey Cross at Castle Park in Port Coquitlam.
Cyclocross is where road riders go to wallow in the mud.
It was started in the early 1900s in northern Europe as a way for road racers to stay fit as their summer season wound down. The cyclists would challenge each other to race to the next town or village in Belgium, France or the Netherlands and they were allowed any route to achieve their destination. That often meant traversing muddy farmer’s fields, skittering along narrow dirt trails, hopping fences.
By 1924, cyclocross had become a recognized cycling discipline when the sport’s first international competition, Le Criterium International de Cross-Country Cyclo-Pédestre, was held in Paris. But the sport wasn’t officially sanctioned by cycling’s governing authority, the Union Cycliste Internationale until the 1940s and the first world championship was staged in Paris in 1950.
A cyclocross race is usually contested on a tight, twisty route that includes several obstacles and challenges that forces participants to carry their bikes, over a barrier or up a steep, slippery hill. Saturday’s event included races for kids, youth, novices, masters and elite men and women.
BC Superweek is Canada’s largest, most prestigious series of pro bike races. Over the course of a week, riders from as far away as Germany and New Zealand converge in Metro Vancouver for nine races, most of them criteriums around tight, fast city courses.
This year’s PoCo Grand Prix was the first time the racers did their thing in the fading light of twilight and, for the men’s race, darkness.
The Friday-night party vibe around the course and the city’s central square was unrivaled, and the racers put on a great show, even if it was hard to see in the growing gloom.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Bikes can even create art.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS A replay of the women’s race plays on the monitor as the men await the start of their race at Friday’s PoCo Grand Prix.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Mitch Kettler, right, pips Florenz Knauer on the finish line to win the men’s professional race at Friday’s PoCo Grand Prix. The third annual race was the first in BC Superweek history to be held under the streetlights.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The women race past a photographer along the course.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Kendall Ryan, of Team TIBCO, pops the champagne bottle to celebrate her victory in the pro women’s race at Firday’s third annual PoCo Grand Prix.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The pro women’s race sets off in twilight.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The entertainment doesn’t stop even as the bike race begins at Friday’s PoCo Grand Prix.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Canadian criterium champion Sara Bergen, right, chats with her Rally Cycling teammates before the start of the pro women’s race at Friday’s PoCo Grand Prix.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The pro men’s race speeds around the darkened streets of downtown Port Coquitlam at Friday’s Poco Grand Prix.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The next generation of racers test their skills at the Kids Zone.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS A commissaire keeps track of the laps at Friday’s PoCo Grand Prix.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The women round a corner in fading daylight at Friday’s Poco Grand Prix.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS The early laps of the pro men’s race at the PoCo Grand Prix are held in dwindling twilight.