Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tour de France

Sure they are all on 'roids, or blood oxygenation drugs or whatever. But all the football players are on 'roids, aren't they? And we still watch, yes?

So even though I don't like the drugs and other crap these guys are putting into their bodies, being an avid cycler makes this time of year pretty special for me. These guys are going to run 21 stages in three weeks, with an average of over one hundred miles per stage. Some of the stages are on utterly bruising mountains. Some are time trials done on flats where everyone goes like hell for as long and as fast as they can.

It is truly a test like no other in sports. By the end of the tour these guys will lose significant amounts of weight, and it is interesting to see how their faces change. Lance was famous for his face at the end of the tour, where he looked like some sort of monster or something since his cheeks had begun to sink into his face.

Besides this, the event is totally made for TV. It isn't like you sit in one place and watch the bikers drive by and that is it. In the Tour, you get wonderful camera angles from helicopters, cameras mounted on motorcycles, and many other interesting angles. You also get all of the speeds of each rider, and the intervals of time between the front of the pack (or a breakaway) and the peloton.

Of course the tour goes on during the day here in the states, but they show complete replays in the evening. And seeing that the tour doesn't really make the evening news, I have no reason to worry about spoilers.

The coverage in on Versus. And if you will excuse me, Stage 2 begins in just a few minutes. The teams, the riders and the countries they represent, the sprints, the crashes, the insane levels of conditioning, the glory of the yellow jersey. The Tour has begun.


jonathan said...

It would be nice to ride in those mountains.

Dan from Madison said...

Yes it would, for a short time, and very slowly. As if there would be a choice in the latter.

I know some guys who took a trip to l'Alpe d'Huez and did the same stage that the riders did. My friends rode it a week after the race. They were literally delirious by the time they made it to the top it was so insane.

jonathan said...

Climbing and descending are best done at one's own pace.

Dan from Madison said...

I will take descending.

jonathan said...

There are ski resorts where (in summer) you can take the lift, with your mtn bike, to the top of the hill and then ride down.