Tour of Alberta: Done and... Wet and Muddied


00.ToA14.ProloguePhoto: Oran Kelly, from the Calgary prologue.Hey, it's snowing outside right now here in Edmonton. This being Monday, by the way, having raced yesterday.Aaaaaand that marks the end of the 2014 Tour of Alberta. Coming on the tails of a really enjoyable USA Pro Challenge, I'm happy to report that this trip across the border northward to race in CanadaLand has been quite a pleasure as well. Which says a lot since the first stage occurred while temperatures hovered in the mid-40s and the skies released monsoon-like amounts of rain. All the more impressive since monsoons are characteristic of the East-Asian Pacific and not so much the flatlands of central Canada. Yeah, THAT much rain.Also the final stage is a testament to how positive things are in the grand scheme of things since we woke up to this final stage -- typically a "parade" race featuring circuits through Edmonton -- amid sunny skies with the rumor of rain much later in the day... only to get into the RV to trek to the start, whereupon the skies opened up something vicious again. What's worse than a wet circuit race through an oil slicked city? Good guess: a wet circuit race through an oil slicked city, where general classification is separated by just seconds. Buck up, Cowboy, time for the rodeo!This entire week has featured racing more characteristic of a Belgian kermesse than American stage racing. That is to say, each day, the race would unfold as follows:--Attack--Attack--Attack--Counter attack--Counter attack--More counter attacks--Counter attacks X (infinity - 10) for approximately 2 hours--Field is now dwindled to less than were at the start line--The strong surviveAnd here's the kicker: it was fun! Without a standout captain for the emblematic green of Cannondale Pro Cycling here in Alberta, and with a squad of six riders fighting against full teams of right, it was a pleasure to attack for the pure sake of attacking, to animate in the race for the sake of animating the race, or quite simply to RACE for the freakin' sake of racing! It's been an awesome week, which is an stark example of races not always speaking directly to results. Sometimes you need to read between the lines of ___(insert your favorite website), to get a better sense of how things are unfolding.So after the Edmonton circuit race, I showered and warmed up a bit. Curious eough, despite scrubbing my skin extensively with two different types of soap, and picking filthy road grime out of my ears at length, and blowing my nose extensively, I still have skin tainted some nasty shade of gray, road muck in my ears, and am blowing dirty snot out of my nose. Glamorous sport, right?The best news of the week is how much the plea for maple syrup was appeased. Thank you for all your support. Kathryn was especially accommodating. Thank you a bajillion.Oh hey, who can get me into Joe Beef or Pied de Cuchon in Montreal next Sunday night? SERIOUSLY, I need an in. Corny below if you know a guy who knows a gal who can get me in.Please and thank you.Still snowing. Must be winter, eh?