There was racing at the Palo Seco Track Meet, but first... It was Martha and the Vandellas who sang about, "Dancin' in the Street" - it happens for real in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. Outside the Coco Lounge the guys go into clinches with their girls on the pavement, one even has his black beauty do a couple of twirls.
I'm in Trinidad & Tobago, but in Fort William, which could be somewhere I saw in a movie; once you're in the Tropics it seems to affect your perceptions of time and place, is where the Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship is taking place, today - under the shadow of mighty Ben Nevis. Martin, our editor and web-guy is riding it and - strange though it may seem - I'd like to have been there.
Much of the Trinidad & Tobago 'Soca' music is topical, dealing with social issues like drugs and gang violence; political, blaming the politicians for high prices and squandering public funds or be-rating certain ethnic groups - I'm not sure a lot of it would get played in the UK.
We race at the Dwight Yorke Stadium today. "Abraham takes on the world," said the headline in Thursday's paper; USA, Canada, Jamaica, Argentina, Germany, Austria, Switzerland - that's not a bad cross section. But did he beat the world here in Trinidad & Tobago? All will be revealed.
Tobago is hot, real hot, damn hot - it's just the strong breeze which is preventing certain parts of me from spontaneously combusting. We're staying in Viola's at Lowland, which is the flat coastal strip between the capital of Scarborough and where we are now - Pigeon Point at the south west tip of the island.
If you want to escape from politics, Trinidad & Tobago ain't the place to come. In Rituals coffee shop they have the novel idea of screening the News channel, where politicians pontificate endlessly about the upcoming election (sound familiar, folks in the UK?) whilst 'New country' wails from the PA.
All night drive-in pharmacies here in Trinidad & Tobago aren't really the place cyclists should be seen at gone midnight, but Leif liked the 'skin powder' the Red Cross guys used on his abrasions so much that we had to pop in and see if we could get some more. They didn't have any, but it was another one for my 'experiences' file.
I felt like one of those football reporters at the racing here in Trinidad & Tobago at the Arima Velodrome, who has the copy all neatly spell checked; then the 2-1 down losing side bangs in two in the last 90 seconds. Roberto Chiappa was going to win the sprint final 2-0 against Home Boy, Sellier.
I took in excess of 200 shots at the race on Wednesday night, that takes a bit of editing; and the minute folks see you with a camera, they want pics too - still, if it means you get Olympic Madison Champion Walter Perez's email address, then it's not so bad.
The trouble with getting up before 06:00 and not getting to bed 'til 01:45 is that by the time the next day - that's today, comes around, it seems like last year. And today is the circuit race at Queens Park.
It's always good to wake up at 05:50 to an ear-nipping message on the BlackBerry - but that's life, I'm in Paradise for the Beacon Cycling Festival but life goes on back in the 'real world.' Where, I've just been made aware, all of the airports are closed due to the hazard of ash from the volcanic eruption in Iceland - they're hiring at Burger King down town Port of Spain and I have my application in.
The original plot for late March and early April was to 'embed' with the Kingsnorth guys near Gent and cover Wevelgem, De Panne and Flanders. But then up popped Peter Jacques and Erin Hartwell, the movers and shakers who put together the teams for the Trinidad & Tobago Beacon Cycling Festival.
Defending champions and race favourites, Ribble Weldtite with strong men Dan Bigham, James Shaw and Simon Wilson took the CTT Team Time Trial Championships title on a cool, damp but still morning at Irvine on the west coast of Scotland, with a time of 54:01, averaging 55.9 kph to best their own ‘B’ team by 2:32, the line up there being Zeb Kyffin, Joe Wilson and Matt Gibson.
One of VeloVeritas’ functions it seems is unlocking the memories of those stalwarts – like our own mentor and soothsayer, Viktor and indeed, our editor Martin - who beat a path in the 70’s and 80’s to the legendary Mrs. Deene’s boarding house in Gent (and later in Zomergem) to show those Belgies how it should be done. The latest epistle which came our way was from Norman Gower.
When Scottish Cycling Endurance Coach and seven times Scottish Road Race Champion, Evan Oliphant gets in touch to tell us there’s a junior rider named Callum Thornley that we should be speaking to, we snap to attention.
When Jos Ryan of the David Rayner Fund gets in touch then we know it’s not just to ask how we are. ‘Have you been keeping up with our rider, Toby Perry’s performances in Spain, he’s just had his second win?’ Fortunately for us, we could reply in the affirmative.
If you watched Stage One of the Giro on Eurosport or GCN then you’ll have heard that someone had the great idea to recruit British professional rider, Dan Bigham to join the commentary team as a ‘chrono specialist.’ Here at VeloVeritas we thought it would be good to put to Dan all those sad questions that trouble bike obsessives like us.
John Watson started racing at 18 years-of-age in 1966, his first race was a ‘25’ which he won with a 1:00. By the following year he was National ‘100’ Champion; in 1968 he went to the Mexico Olympics; in 1969 he set a 12 hour record which stood for a decade; 1970 saw him set a ‘50’ record which sliced nearly four minutes of the previous fastest time for the distance and lasted for 13 years, win the BBAR, get fourth place in the prestigious GP de France time trial and get offered a place with ACBB.
Here at VeloVeritas, we aim to provide our readers with truthful, accurate, unique and informative articles about the sport we love.