Back, for a brief “visit” home

Home! I never expected this to be as busy a job as it’s become. And I am totally enjoying it.
Note: The photos I’ve put up here are mostly from this Picasa gallery, you’re welcome to look through all of them.

When I sat down to put an entry up on Friday I knew it would be a busy weekend. I didn’t think it would as crazy as it turned out to be! Saturday was a great and hard and long day, I feel like surviving it was a victory. So, knowing that I got all my galleries out in a timely manner and then got something resembling sleep before repeating a slightly shorter version on Sunday was “good”.

Welcome to MSA

Some highlights:
I’ve already said there were lots of VW campers, I’ll say it again… oh so very cool!

The folks I camped next to were from Scotland and were great company (when I was actually at the camper). Speaking of Babe, I gather from Andrea that she was shown in the Freecaster feed a few times as they panned by the finish area where I was parked.

Babe alongside  Alisdair and Fergus with their rented camper

Alisdair runs Perth City Cycles while Fergus was racing the DH. It was funny to realize that Fergus had shown up in one of my pre-race shots from the Friday (at the bike wash), I hope he got to share that with friends and family back home. As a “snapper” at these events I know that the top racers get into lots of photos, that folks who have a contract for images are sure to get some, and that folks who are there because they want to be there and have no real ties to a major sponsor will seldom make it to a magazine or website page. And I found it ironic that he came down as I was changing locations! So the only shot I got of him was this… and I put it up here as a simple hello. I hope someone gets a better shot at Windham!

Seeing photos going up in new places is always nice so I was very happy to add to the places you’ll find galleries of my photos. You’ll find the full DH gallery here and the two XC galleries are linked to this race summary article. I like that they highlighted this shot on la Beatrice with Canadian Derek Zandstra riding down through the traffic of people stumbling, running, falling.

la Beatrice, as seen on

The three XC events, running from 9:30 until around 4:30 were enough work that I opted out of the 4X coverage… even so it was 10:30 before I got back to my bed, only to spend the next few hours wide awake listening to the DJ rocking the party until 2am. Sunday didn’t come with a smile… come it did though! And with threats of rain for the technical downhill race, the highlight of the day.

The rain did hold off for the most part, a little drizzle at the end of the Junior XC race and then nothing more (not far away, it rained a lot around Quebec City). I was glad to not have to worry about it. The DH race is always a challenge to shoot, people specialize in events like this and have elaborate flash configurations. I try to keep it simple and at the same time to mix it up. I don’t want to only have a gallery of shots from one location, moving spots can be a challenge though (like missing a proper shot of Fergus…). As it is, I think the galleries I provided show a nice mix and of course they highlight the key racers.

“Resting”, a Super 8 motel at Trois Riviere

Enough of MSA though… I’m now done with all of the image processing, photos are online and videos will be soon too. I drove a few hours on Sunday to shorten the trip on Monday, only made it to Trois Riviere before I said “enough!”. The drive Monday was definitely better because of that.

Speaking of the drive back (this is me going west on Quebec 40/20 and Ontario 401, seeing vehicles going east), I saw 5 Eurovans (one tin-top, the rest were campers) and either 5 or 6 Vanagons. One Vanagon was a tin-top, it made me think of  Gord Potts’ work-mobile, one was a white beefy looking beast that might have been a syncro, and one that I did a double take when I saw it. I’ve seen one VW Karmen Gypsy before, I got a good look at Paul’s at the 2010 BusFusion and I think I either saw my second or the new owners driving this one! So… if it was a Gypsy, does it count as Vanagon #6? Either way, that’s the most Vanagons I’ve seen in Ontario in one day other than at a bus event!

Now I’ve had a day to relax and I will go visit my mom on Wed. as she finally gets home from hospital, then start packing for the next trip. I made a point of rushing (if such a thing is actually possible in an old VW camper!) back to Toronto to be here in case I needed to pick my mom up from Sunnybrook hospital after her visit to the “cath lab”. They did send her back to Midland so I will now use my time to visit her when they discharge her tomorrow. I can see what arrangements need to be taken care of, and get to see here resting at home where I know she wants to be.

And then…
I’m not ready, I do have almost all of the details arranged though!

July 10th is le Grand Depart, I fly to Paris and won’t be back until the 28th
I have a B&B in Belgium for 2 nights that Wim has arranged
Wim has bikes ready for Andrea and me, I wonder how much riding time I will have!
Wed will be a very early day, driving down to southern France
Then part one of the trip starts… the Pyrenees TdF trip with Thomas Cook until the 16th
Andrea arrives on the 14th, I expect I will be picking her up in Toulouse in Wim’s Renault

And for a few days between trips, we will explore (this is open, will see what happens!)
The 19th will find us in Susa, ready for the second trip… the Alps and up to the finish in Paris
And then a few days to explore Paris at our own pace… this is a city Andrea and I both love, and have been to many times. I look forward to seeing places I’ve been to and ones I’ve never been to.

Here’s a shot of Wim with Eric from last year from Durbuy, I’m looking forward to having a good Belgian beer with him in less than a week!

No promises… however I will try to keep the blog up to date while I’m working in France… stay tuned!

One Reply to “Back, for a brief “visit” home”

  1. I just updated my travel log, the MSA trip was approx. 1,100 miles and Babe used 163 liters of diesel.
    I took 4,480 photos over 2 days (not counting the casual shots I took) and had about 10 articles published which used my photos (2 different publications).

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