Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oslo Grand Prix or even more fun in Oslo

First of all, I don't relax on vacation. That doesn't happen when you're with me. I don't eat, I don't rest. I must see everything. I am obsessive. Obsessive compulsive. After spending all day walking, first to the Frogner Park, taking in the Historical Museum and Oslo Cathedral, then walking downtown to catch the ferry to the Viking Ship Museum, then going to the Akershus Festning (fortress and royal residence), walking around taking photos (i.e. being lost), I decided to see if I could squeeze in the National Gallery. They have lovely paintings of Norwegian landscapes and the Scream by Edvard Munch.

Yes, I have seen the Scream! I have felt the Scream deeply in my soul, particularly in the winter time here in the Central Valley when it is possible to not see the sun for weeks on end because it is foggy and you are forced to paint something in an extremely bright color or lose your mind, but, I digress. So, I came out of the National Gallery to find a bike race going on. At first, it was leetle kids, so cute. Then they seemed to grow a bit with each lap. I couldn't believe how seriously Norwegians take sport activities because there were camera crews and big screen TV's set up.

Then, I decided the races might be over and I should start walking to my hotel in time to get lost and eat dinner. Much to my surprise, I asked a Norwegian if the little kids bike races were over and he said yes but now it was the adults who would be racing. In fact, a professional bike race with no less than riders from the Tour de France was up next! So, I found myself a spot and I had a great time even though I didn't know a soul here. And, the crowd was fantastic! They clapped and sang to music, they did the wave (and everyone did it). They were having a blast, me included! And, that was before the race even started. Oh, and here they are,

Edvald Boasson Hagen, the Norwegian National Time Trial Champion, riding for Team Sky

Andy Schleck, the White Jersey winner and second place from the Tour de France riding for Saxo Bank but next year they will be riding for a team from Luxembourg and who was recently kicked out of the Tour of Spain for drinking, naughty boy.

Here are the main protagonists, front row from left to right, Thor (i.e., the God of Thunder) Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team and the Norwegian National Road Race Champion), Andy Schleck, Kurt Asle Arvesen (Team Sky) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (he has the yellow shoes). Okay 3 of the 4 guys are Norwegians so maybe it isn't a surprise that they are riding in the Oslo Grand Prix.

And then they were off!

They went round and round ...

My camera (or was it the photographer?) was having difficulty capturing the fast action. My new girlfriend (no, not that kind of girlfriend) standing next to me and I decided that we had somehow gotten the best spot in the whole race to take pictures of the riders. In fact, a very tall professional photographer (waaay bigger camera than my Nikon D70) was taking shots over my head of the action.

Somehow, near the end of the race, the main protagonist were back together. Who would win?

EBH won! I think that Andy was a little dizzy from doing all of those short laps and he was second. The God of Thunder was third. A fairy tale ending for cycling fans. (Post TDF races are kind of like this, the favs tend to win.)

They were all smiles and congratulations at the end! And me? I was blissfully happy in my own dreamy Norwegian landscape! End of day two of vacation.