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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Weekend Update

I spent the weekend in Victoria, staying with my aunt and doing a combination of tourism and bicycle racing.

The results were mixed. I finished 8 minutes behind the pack in the Sooke Classic, but had so much fun on a glorious point-to-point (almost; we actually turned around at the halfway point) race on a beautiful, punishing, rolling course that I didn't care. Besides, 2:19 on an 80 km course is nothing to sneeze at. Nearly 35 km/h, eh?

The Bastion Square Grand Prix was vastly less successful. I will spare you a litany of excuses to simply say that I slipped off the back of the pack about 13 minutes into the criterium, and had no chance to get back. The course was exciting, but I was no competition for a Cat 4 pack, which was the same problem I had on Saturday.

The other things we did were more successful: The art gallery had some nice exhibitions. We went for the Manchu Era art, but really liked the EJ Hughes paintings, three big rooms of them. Hughes is one of the Group of Seven, Canada's most famous painters, but I have not much familiarity with any of them (and occasionally forget that Emily Carr wasn't part of the Group). His paintings were beautiful. Most of his famous work consists of oils depicting the coast of this province, but his coast is a working coast, foregrounding people, villages, and with great regularity, boats, especially ferries, but also tugs, fishing vessels, and other working watercraft. It's not a Carr-like view of an unspoiled nature of trees and Indian ruins, it's a populated place, with people and the stuff that people make, but still with the trees, the water, and the mountains as major players.

His stuff isn't all boat pictures, though. My favourite of his was a pure coastal landscape, but with a beautiful translucence to the green water. And he was a War Artist, and depicted the martial bits (from artillery pieces to cast-off hats) in loving detail.

We ate at The Reef, highly recommended and it has a Vancouver location. The complimentary Johnnycakes are deep-fried deliciousness.

We also went to the Bug Zoo, a perennial treat in a new location. The continent's biggest indoor ant colony! Tarantulas and scorpions you can handle! What more do you want for six bucks?

So, a fun weekend. And now I have to take several days off riding, because I need to cure my Achilles Tendonitis.

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