So Why Richmond?

26 September 2015

The UCI Road World Championships are held in Richmond this year. Richmond, North America. Welcome in the land of cars and baseball. Cycling? In the American way of life cycling is for kids, not for grown ups. Besides, every city in America is built around cars, so it is definitely not safe to move around on a bike. Still, it is nice to go someplace outside of Europe. And of course, ‘our’ procyclists are on a course, with fences between them and the Big American cars. Nothing to worry about, they won’t get hurt. Well, that’s a relief.
As every city is every year, the authorities in Richmond are also pleased that their city is chosen to host the world championships.  Richmond wants everybody to come and join ‘cycling’s biggest party’. I don’t think that they ever saw footage of the Tour de France? Or a stage to the Alpe d’Huez? Now that’s what I call a party. So no, most of us will not join this party. We will just watch it on the television.
Next question is: why Richmond? There must be something special with the place to go over there and peddle around. Quebec was in the race as well for this year, and that city has a cycling history. Nowadays, a history with cycling isn’t good enough anymore. Maybe it was the history of Richmond itself. You see, the area was discovered by English colonists in 1609, but it wasn’t until 1737 that Richmond, as we know it today, was founded. It was named after the English town ‘Richmond’, because the colonists thought that the James River in Richmond looked exactly the same as the Thames (yes, the one in London).
There’s another option for racing there. It is the food! In 2014, Richmond was called ‘the next great food city’. There are several restaurants in Richmond and it seems that the food in Richmond is good. Three of them are included in the ‘100 best restaurants in the South’ and that means something. It makes sense, because the teams don’t have to bring their own cook. There is already good food to eat. If it’s not for the history or the food, then it must be the Edgar Allan Poe museum.
I’m not kidding. Or maybe I am. Nevertheless, the organisation thinks that the course is challenging and technical. It is held in the city and includes a ‘narrow, twisty, cobbled 200-meter climb up to Libby Hill Park in the historic Church Hill neighborhood’. Wait, historic? It is the history, people. It always is.

View on Richmond as seen from Church Hill


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