Monday, July 11, 2011

Vive le Tour de France!

Little known fact about me: I LOVE THE TOUR DE FRANCE. You might laugh and just think I'm exaggerating about this little hobby of mine, but I'm really not. I have watched every day of this epic month-long race for the past 13 years...since I was 6 years old. It al began when my family lived in northern Spain. We just started watching it since it was relatively local; France was just a few hours from our house, and sometimes the Tour dips down into Spain. Little did we know that the sport of cycling's most prestigious race would become my summer passtime.

I am still to this day a huge Lance Armstrong fan (of his athletic ability and story, not necessarily his personal life...). Confession: From about sixth to eighth grade, I would save every newspaper article about the tour (Lance in particular). Then, I hung them in my locker the next school year. This is how serious it was! My favorite headline was when Lance (or "Lancey," as was my mother's and my preferred nickname for him) won his sixth Tour: "Texas Six-Shooter." Classic. It's been really hard for me to watch the Tour since he stopped cycling, but don't worry, I've pushed through to the next generation of cyclists. However, its always comforting when the amusingly accented announcers Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin say a name of one of the older generation riders still racing: Leipheimer, Hincapie, Vinokourov, Kloden. I'm excited for some of the younger riders too though, especially ones that I feel like I've watched develop over the years since I've begun my spectating ways.

This year's race has been mayhem. Literally, there are very serious crashes everyday that have resulted in race leaders and podium hopefuls dropping out. Yesterday's stage, for instance, had at least three major crashes, including one where a media car knocked two riders off the road! Despicable. I just hope that things will calm down crash-wise. There is still a lot of racing left and I don't think I'll be able to handle any more of my favorites being stuck in a ditch somewhere on the side of a French road.

I know, most of you are thinking that it's just plain weird that I love this race so much. I know it is. I don't even remember the last time I actually rode a bike. But, this is just like I every other sport I like: I don't do it or participate in any way, other than watching. I am an expert spectater, and I'm proud of it.

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