Friday, August 17, 2012

Mass Ave Crit, Part II: Everything else

I started yesterday's post on the Mass Ave Crit fully intending for it to be a single post. Over four days since Saturday, I'd sifted through hundreds of pictures and had just about reached my threshold of looking at and editing cycling images.

But I enjoy the sport of cycling, so I soldiered on. A quick aside for those of you who might be wondering: -- No, I don't compete myself; in fact, my one and only bike, an "ancient" (circa 1985) Schwinn Cruiser, has two flat tires that I haven't bothered to get repaired or inflated, so I haven't been on a ride in probably three years. But one can dream, right? 

In fact, my plan for the single post was to lead with the picture you see above -- the woman and her African grey parrot (a species identified yesterday by a follower at my Facebook photo page). To lead with that photo would have been an oddity, considering the post was about cycling, and here ... I was planning to showcase an image featuring a woman and a parrot! I'm laughing even as I type this, but ... I was interested in going outside the box, as they say. By the time I finished composing yesterday's post, however, I'd gotten so winded about being winded and aborting the Saturday shoot before its conclusion, that I decided simply to do a second post and devote it to some non-cycling photographs taken during the event. Immediately below this text is another photo of the same woman, this time sharing a buss with the parrot. She was watching the cycling action near the sidewalk along North East Street in front of the John J. Barton Annex.

So ... now you know the full story. Not fodder for the gossip mongers, for sure, but ... a conversation lull filler for me, if the need were to materialize in the next week or so.

So here are those "other" photos I was talking about ... These and others can be found in the Mass Ave Festival collection at my Mass Ave Crit gallery at SmugMug.

Above and next two below: I provide a splash for the yellow "Spokes of Hope" T-shirt booth, not only because proceeds from sales go toward the fight against cancer, but also because they offered no objection to me using the small amount of standing space between their booth and the rails along the course on Mass Ave to take my photos near the finish line. I had intended on purchasing a shirt before leaving, but ... aborted my shoot on the opposite end of the course in the late afternoon, so I not was able to get one. Adjacent to the Spokes of Hope booth were representatives of the Central Indiana Bicycling Association, selling their blue racer jersies. 

Above: Continuing the "fashion" theme, I spotted these color-bright sneakers on someone in one of the booths along Mass Ave. 

Above: A post "race" consultation between child and adult after the Kids Ages 3-9 competition.

Above: The tented New Belgium beer garden in Davlan Park, right in front of Bru Burger, at the tri-street junction of Vermont and Alabama streets and Mass Ave. New Belgium is title sponsor for the annual Mass Ave Crit.

Above: Spectators in a seated area along Mass Ave. The gentleman wearing the rider's jersey on the left competed in the Men's 5 Category race and was featured in a close-up photo in yesterday's post. 

Above: Patrons seated in the outdoor area of the Chatterbox bar and jazz music venue had a great view of the action. It was immediately north of the staging area. 

Above: More spectators along Mass Ave. 

Above: Announcer John Gatch (right) did an admirable job staying on top of the race developments. I kept hearing "Preem on the next lap, preem on the next lap,  preem on the next lap" in my head for several hours after I left. "Preem" is how it's pronounced, but it's actually spelled "prime." What is a prime/preem? In local cycling competitions, they're perks -- gift cards, entertainment/concert tickets and the like -- provided by sponsors and awarded to the cyclist in a race who crosses the white line first at the end of the lap when the prime is announced. Host sponsor Nuvo has a list of this year's Mass Ave Crit "primes," if you want to check it out. 

Above: True, I said this post would be about non-race photos, but the shot above -- although taken on the course during a race -- is more about the composition than it is about the race. So, I made it eligible for inclusion. That's a race crosswalk volunteer on the right, and when the red flag is up in the air, it's a signal to people and other volunteers that it is not safe for pedestrian to cross the street that is part of the race course. This view from East Street looks west down Vermont Street as the motorcycle leading the cyclists prepares to turn north onto East Street. The triangular course spanned Vermont (on which riders traveled east), East (on which they traveled north) and Massachusetts Avenue (on which they traveled southwest till reaching Vermont again). 

Above: An interesting door and wood ornamentation above and around it, that I came across behind some townhouses along the course.

Above: Fresh fruit was available from this booth along Mass Ave.

Above: I was struck by a funeral home having a booth along the course. Hey, marketing knows no bounds, I guess, and cyclists -- like everyone else -- need to consider options for final resting places, I suppose. This booth packed up very early; it was gone by mid-afternoon. 

Above and below: The man above is restoring a vertical Nuvo promotional flap (right side below) that served as part of the backdrop for the podium ceremony staging. The flap came loose and fell early in the day Saturday. Nuvo is a host sponsor of the annual Mass Ave Crit.

Above: Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard visited the Mass Ave Crit, just as he did for last month's Indy Crit, so announcer John Gatch had the mayor talk a bit about the city's support and enthusiasm for this event.

Above and next two below: There is a science, or maybe art form, to popping and spraying the celebratory champagne bottle with optimum flourish during the post-race podium ceremonies. Most of Saturday's winners didn't do very well, but Men's Category 5 champion Nick Torrance (above) did well -- eliciting that solid, snaky stream before letting loose with the spray. Women's Category 1-2-3 winner Sierra Siebenlist (below) also did pretty well ... and then enjoyed the first swallow afterward. 

Above: This year's Mass Ave Crit stage ladies, preparing the flowers to present to another category champion. 

Above: One of two misters set up along the course. A gentleman on my Facebook photo page commented about how it was "only 85" on Saturday, and how people are "wussies" if they needed something like that in that kind of weather. Perhaps that's the case for most spectators, who have opportunities to seek shelter for most of the time. But for someone like me who spent most of the time in the sun -- and walking around the course briskly (I counted at least eight loops of the course that I made during the day) -- this was an appealing refreshment option. Now, if I only wouldn't have had my camera gear to worry about ... 

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