Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Light blogging for a while

Today the Tour goes up into the Pyrenees. I gotta be honest with you - this is my favorite part of the year. I may be scarce for the next ten days or so.

If you were to ask me why I love the Tour de France so much, the first thing you'd probably say is "you're a cyclist, right?" Well, no. I'm pretty paranoid about getting hit by a car, and cycling takes too long - the only sport I ever did on any level was rowing, and that is unique in its own right. You have only a few minutes in a rowing race to prove your mettle. In other words, I have no patience for cycling myself.

I love the grand nutty craziness of the Tour, the Caravan, the sweaty riders, the farmer tans, the spectacle of 3600km of crowd, complete with haystack animals, painted pigs and that weird guy that dresses up as the devil every year. I love the fact that I can't figure out why they do it - why they are willing to do the equivalent of a marathon for twenty-one straight days. I love how nice and chatty most of the riders are.

But really, most of all I think I love the fact that they don't quit. In America there is not a lot of gloire in le Tour. There isn't a lot of money comparatively speaking, and unless you're You-Know-Who there isn't much fame over here. I don't think they do it just to be famous in Europe.

Most especially as an example of something you probably ought to quit but don't, I love the climbing stages. Sprints are exciting but no match for going up a HC mountain. Mountain stages generally about four hours of sheer physical agony, amazing teamwork and unbelievable sticktoitiveness. I swear there are times during my workouts throughout the year where I think "if they can climb four cat-1 mountains in one stage, I can surely move a little faster." Tonight is the first mountain stage, and next Tuesday will be L'Alpe d'Huez, which is where Phil and Paul, the commentators, (if they haven't already) will start talking about riders "reaching into their suitcase of courage" and "cracking" as in "He's cracked 500 meter short of the finish!" The commentary gets more entertaining as the race does - these guys LIVE for this stuff.

It's all a lovely, glorious, messy, sweaty, public, don't-give-up spectacle. I start looking forward to it every year in May just after Memorial Day.

Anyway, that probably doesn't make sense to most of y'all BUT if you have OLN amongst your TV channels, give the Tour a try. (It starts at 7pm.) See what you think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Love Bob, Phil, Paul, Frankie, and the whole OLN gang.ife almost stops here every JULY!!!

8:27 AM  
Blogger ambermoggie said...

I love the Tour its excellent entertainment. I first started watching because Mr Mog is a bike fanatic and adores the tour but then I got hooked for the sheer spectacle, endurement and guts of the cyclists. I will also be glued to the set as its 7pm here in scotland also

10:01 AM  
Blogger Peg said...

I, too, watch the Tour! It is not the same without Lance, but I still get taken in by it all. Fortunately, for me, I get to watch the last half hour in the morning - usually after I have been swimming. I am knitting the Wool Peddler's Shawl by Cheryl Oberle as the Tour goes on. It is a good knit for TV watching, as there is a lot of garter st, followed by a very simple easy to follow 'lace' design.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Sigh. I SO wish I had cable right now.

Bummer that the mountain stages are not on the weekend - when that happens, one of our local independent movie theaters opens at 7:30 am and shows the stage (free)! They sell coffee and rolls and often have a packed house - which makes the entire experience very intense.

3:05 PM  
Blogger kate said...

i looooove the tour. Now, I watch it to see things I may have seen in person. Last year they went pretty close to my in-laws' place.

5:04 PM  

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