Sunday, the final day of the UCI World Championships in Richmond, I sat frantically doing homework in my living room. The sound of helicopters and cheers could be heard in resounding laps around my apartment in the Fan and with each coming cowbell, I felt a twang of missing out. It happened. I had become a race fanatic. One that pushed aside responsibilities to feel that roller coaster-esk high upon seeing cyclists pass dangerously close to temporary street railings.
Covering Richmond 2015 allowed me to explore the culture and essence of international, professional cycling as it became intertwined with the city that I love. It was exciting to follow something that was constantly developing and evolving. I researched and pursued aspects of cycling and the city of Richmond that I hadn’t explored previously, while also witnessing the events first-hand and contributing to the plethora of coverage on the events.
How did I end up complimenting a dutch man on the quality of his wooden clogs? As I was tasked with interviewing international spectators on their involvement with the race, I was pushed to interact with people that I would’ve never talked to. It turns out, many people are overjoyed to share their story and talk about their passions. This was something I was nervous about, but immediately put at ease when I spoke with spectators alongside me! The bike race truly brought the world with it, as I encountered people from countries like Eritrea, Holland, Norway, France, Slovakia, Rwanda, Canada, Thailand, Colombia…(I could go on). Being in the presence of people from so many other cultures and backgrounds gave me an idea of truly how unique every society in our world is, yet there was a beauty in that we could all come together and celebrate something so simple as a bike race!
The impact the UCI World Championships had on the city was amazing. Being able to take pride in my city with a supportive network of others working towards the same goal was something I hadn’t experienced before. Crowdsourced journalism is such a unique form of communication as it takes a group, a team, a city of people to tell the story. Each individual coming from a different background, with different interests and vantage points, was able to create a conglomerate picture of this period in Richmond and cycling history. It was an incredible experience to be a part of!