Sunday, November 5, 2017

2017 World Championships in Norway -- My Watercolor

The cycling world championships is a quirky little corner of the cycling calendar.  Gone are the trade squads as all the cyclists are reshuffled into national teams.  It's awkward, a bit confusing -- and refreshingly fun!  Plus, the "Worlds" is one of the few times where the men's and women's races are broadcast with equal time (at least in the NBC Gold App), which is great.

This year, the World Championships took place in Bergen, Norway.  What a treat that was!  The crowds were just amazing, and the sweeping grandeur of Bergen and the surrounding fiords was spectacular.  My little watercolor doesn't come close to capturing all that, but I didn't really try. 

Instead, I was inspired by one very odd moment of men's road race broadcast, when the live feed from the motorcycles and helicopters abruptly ended -- at the most exciting part of the race.  All we had left was one stationary camera positioned at a bend in the road near the finish line.  And so we waited, and waited, and waited for the riders to come into view.  Was the breakaway still in the lead?  Had Peter Sagan pulled out ahead?  Just like the crowds patiently looking around the corner, we had no idea.  It was both frustrating, and kind of strangely wonderful as we formed an instant kinship with those spectators on the side of the road. 

Finally the riders came careening by, as they raced to the finish...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Brompton Ride to Newburyport

A couple of weekends ago, I carried my Brompton on the 9:30 AM Commuter Rail train from Boston to Newburyport, Massachusetts.  From there I rode out to the Parker River Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island.  '

The Parker River NWR is a prime viewing spot to see migrating birds.  While I didn't see anything exotic like Piping Plovers (the rare bird this refuge is known for), I did see lots of egrets, double-crested cormorants, and thousands upon thousands of little tree swallows.

It was a beautiful ride ... and you can experience it too by watching my GoPro video!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

2017 Tour de France Stage 21 Watercolor

For an overview of my Tour de France watercolor project, click here.

And then another great Tour de France came to a conclusion as it always does, on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

2017 Tour de France Stage 19 & 20 Watercolors

For an overview of my Tour de France project, click here.

Stage 20 brought the Tour through the beautiful red-roofed villages of Provence.

One more treat before heading to Paris ... a spectacular individual time trial through Marseille.  The
beautiful view of all was as the riders climbed the hill to the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

2017 Tour de France Stage 17 & 18 Watercolors

For an overview of my Tour de France watercolor project, click here.

Stage 17 featured the spectacular giants of the Tour -- Col de la Croix de Fer and the Col du Galibier -- as well as a beautiful alpine landscape of mountain rivers, lakes, and treeless slopes.

As if the climbs of Stage 17 were not enough, epic Stage 18 finished atop the Col d'Izoard, sending the riders through the col's desert-like landscapes before reaching the summit.

2017 Tour de France Stage 15 & 16 Watercolors

For an overview of my 2017 Tour de France project, click here.

The tour not only headed into the land of extinct volcanoes on Stage 15, but also through some beautiful French villages (actually, aren't all French villages beautiful?).  I just had to try to capture those narrow streets and fans pushed up against stone houses as the riders careened around sidewalk-less corners.  The interesting thing about this is if you take a look at some villages on Googlemaps Streetviewer, they can be quite plain, albeit lovely.  But when the Tour comes through town the flowers and flags break out, and a whirlwind of color descends on even the sleepiest little community.

The theme of beautiful villages continued into Stage 16 as the Tour made its way into the Rhone valley.  Red roofs and elaborate cathedrals looked down on the peloton today, and Michael Matthews took his second stage win of the tour.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

2017 Tour de France Stage 13 & 14 Watercolors

For an overview of my Tour de France watercolor project, click here.

Tour de France 2017 continued its journey through the Pyrenees on July 14, Bastille Day.  Stage 13 concluded with French rider Warren Barguil winning the day, after having just missed victory on a very close Stage 9.

Hilly Stage 14 made its way through the beautiful fields of southwest France, finishing with a sprint won by Michael Matthews -- win #2 for Team Sunweb in two consecutive days.  It turns out that the Stage 13 and 14 winners were not only on the same team, they were roommates!