Friday, May 13, 2011

L'Etape du California in the Courier...

Knowing that the vast (vast I say) majority of the readers of this blog are not from Claremont, I thought I would share coverage of it (or rather my angry response to the coverage) in our local paper, the Claremont Courier. Normally, I have a favorable impression of the Courier, but reading things like:

"I routinely would drive on the side of the road to avoid some crazed driver weaving between riders unwilling to share the road."

"Whatever frustration I had while negotiating the drive up quickly became 1400 times worse..."

"On one hand, my heart went out to them for all their hard work, but on the other hand they were compete fools thinking they owned the road."

could change that opinion.

I think that is enough for you to get the idea. So you know where this is coming from, the L'Etape was apparently a big enough event for the Publisher/Editor to cover it personally. Now, maybe he has never seen a group of even 100 cyclists before, let alone 1400 but, knowing that 1400 is a significant number, how could anyone expect to drive on the same road, and a winding mountain road at that, with that many people, many struggling to ride at more than crawl speed. 1400 cyclists. Did he think that there would be one immensely long, single-file line pedaling up canyon? I ask this, because later in the story, the reporter is surprised that riders are plugging away uphill 2 and 3 abreast. Again, 1400 single-file riders? I don't think so. Then there is the part of about the crazed drivers weaving; we all know about them, but I would question who he considers "unwilling to share the road." 1400 people whose well-being depend on you controlling your emotions and your one-ton hunk of metal. I suggest to you that it was those crazed weaving drivers who were willing to risk death or injury to others, and unwilling to share.

Now, how about the part of being frustrated? You knew there were going to be 1400 cyclists on the road, you should have known what that looks like and should have gone up early, or not drive up at all. I suggest that your frustration rests not with the 1400 cyclists, but with your decision to drive Mt. Baldy Road that day to begin with.

As for that last quote, none of the cyclists were being forced to ride, it was being done for enjoyment, or challenge, or what ever reason each rider had. They did not need your heart or sympathy, simple respect would do. "Fools thinking they owned the road," if that does not reek of auto-dependency I don't know what does. Have you ever descended a twisting road at 50mph, 40, even 30? No? I didn't think so, because you would damn well know, for your own safety's sake, not to hug a little strip of shoulder in order to keep drivers coming from behind from getting  frustrated. Your frustration, or my life, compounded by 1400. Which is more important to you Mr. Publisher/Editor?

Mr. Publisher/Editor, find a group ride at your pace so that you can begin to understand the dynamics of the peloton, especially one 1400 strong. And if you don't, as is your prerogative, maybe find someone who does understand to cover the ride next time. Complaining about how you were frustrated [your word] and inconvenienced [my word] by an event of which you were fully aware is childish and not befitting your publication.

Oh, and please note, that I never once called you a fool, or an SoB, for thinking me a fool, during the writing of this post. A little mutual respect goes a long way.


  1. Michael, what is your email address? Please email me a

  2. Please send this letter to the Publisher. I will be sending him myself.

    He is clueless and lets hope he stays off the road.


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