The only sport I watch with any regularity or enthusiasm is Formula 1. I’m not really even sure if it really qualifies as a sport – I know that the drivers have to be physically fit, but that fitness isn’t the major contributing factor to them winning races. In Formula 1 it’s truly a team effort requiring a skilled driver, skilled pit crew, and skilled engineers. If just one of those elements is missing, the race is pretty much over.
The other reason I like Formula 1 is because it seems much more fair than most competitive sports. I like to compare it do downhill slaloms, for example, where differences in athletes’ times can be in the tenths of seconds — easily accounted for by an errant gust of wind. The athlete’s training, the coaching, the equipment, etc., can all be negated by something completely beyond the athlete’s control. Luck, in other words. In Formula 1 the whole aim of engineering is to mitigate the effects of luck, but even more important, all the drivers race at the same time so that elements like wind, rain, etc., affect everyone equally.
The Toronto Criterium is very similar to Formula 1 in these respects.
The bike race ran the same route as last year through the streets of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood. I’m not a fan of oval racing tracks; they tend to get boring real fast. If it wasn’t for the various pubs, restaurants, and cafes lining the 1 km (0.6 mi) route, I’d find much greater fault with the event. However, the oval seems to be the only negative in a race that’s otherwise all pluses.
Last year I lamented the fact that I didn’t witness any wipe-outs. It’s not that I want anyone to get seriously hurt. Quite the contrary, in fact, I’d like nothing else than to watch them crash again another day. But be honest, spectacular collisions are the best parts of any race, am I right?
This year I also stuck around to see who the winners were. After 74 laps at an average speed of 47.6 km (29.6 mi) per hour, team SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy dominated the first four spots, led by Andrew Randell.
And just like Formula 1, Andrew cracked a bottle of bubbly on the podium and sprayed the audience. I can attest to the fact that real Champagne is indeed used. Not bad either.
No pit crews or fiery collisions, but not bad for a competitive sporting event. I’d love to see something more complex than an oval because right now all the cyclists do is continually turn left. The trick to setting up another course, however, would be to ensure that there are enough depots along the way for folks to wet their whistles; spectating for five hours takes some serious stamina!