Le Tour

July 15, 2006

It’s summer, thank Ged, and my interests turn to outdoor activities like the beach, motorcycling, and Le Tour.
Unfortunately for me, I live in America. Coverage of Le Tour here is poor, non-extant. This is a tradition. Back in da day, when the feats of Greg Lemond were unjustly ignored, and the web didn’t even exist, I survived on next day newspaper accounts and, months later, columns in bicycling periodicals, and years later, the books. Not exactly timely. But I am still an avid cyclist, but even more so then (I averaged 100 miles a week one summer of road riding). But I dearly love being on two wheels, and Le Tour epitomizes all that is wonderful about single track.
The last six years have been dullsville, daddy-o. We have had the insufferable Lance Armstrong, who accomplished the impossible: made Le Tour boring.
Easy wins, the kinds most Americans like, such as the slam dunk in Iraq, make for boring spectacles. I mean, why bother? Whether we’re talking about racing cars around a track, or running a marathon, the focus of all merkin sports televisors has been on the leaders. Ignoring the rich tapestry of human drama that occurs back there, (the distaste of being associate with “back markers” perhaps). When the coverage is only focused on the leaders, and the brave competitors in the back- yah, those guys, the also-rans, who can reveal quite a bit about competitive spirit. Each one is going through his/her own private hell climbing, the Alps or the Pyrenees, only to be ignored.
‘Losers,’ is what we call them here. Ah, you gotta love that merkin mentality.
(I understand there is a network, OLN, which has been covering Le Tour. Unfortunately, my cable provider- and I’m not going to get started harping on that old chestnut- doesn’t even offer it. While we’re at it, the Speed channel would be nice too, EXCEPT for those fucking NASCAR pussies. Keep Bubba’s klan and his ass crack out of my living room, TYVM.).
Now that we have a new field of competitors, some good ones too, the excitement is back. I’m downloading t0rrents from blighty that are a few days later, but thankful I am that I can enjoy it so close to the actual event. Plus, there’s no coverage here to spoil the ending for me. I’m happy in my little vacuum, I am.
Networkwise, all we get is puny coverage by CBS, with a doofus host searching for good food metaphors to enrapture his audience (apparently the cycling action isn’t enough). Giving time away from the track to listen about doping allegations and getting stock replies to stock question from stock journos isn’t going to get anyone not already interested interested. Got that?
Lance and that cult of celebrity (and that fucking Cheryl Crow) are gone (good riddance to bad rubbish) and now we have racing, ladies and germs. But since there are no Americans doing well, even the network nightly news fails to mention it. Shame, cos it’s way more exciting than, for instance, football (all kinds) and that exhibition sport known as baseball.
Meanwhile some voice over sports commentator searches for the perfect sandwich metaphor as he tries to win his own private battle (in his own private Idaho presumably).