Monday, August 3, 2015

Tour of Utah

Well how about that....we have MORE racing on TV! I watched the first stage of the Larry H Miller Tour of Utah today....of course, the overall vibe and production of the telecast is a real letdown after le Tour. I guess the biggest thing I miss is the booth...Todd, Bobke, Christian, Jens, and of course P&P. THAT broadcasting lineup is hard to beat...but this is being shown by Fox so there's none of the above. But hey...it's RACING in August!

I think the biggest excitement of the day was seeing Taylor Phinney not only back on the bike (after FOURTEEN MONTHS of NO racing!)...but up there at the end taking 3rd on the stage! That has to be a HUGE moral booster for him, as he was unsure how he was going to be in race conditions. I'd LOVE to see him win a stage...he is SUCH a class act! And then there's the news about Tommy D! Positive for synthetic Testosterone! He claims it's bogus...we can only hope so...if the B sample comes back positive it will likely be a lifetime ban for him....I can only hope he's telling the truth and it was some sort of fluke in testing...but sadly, I think it's very (VERY) rare for that to be the case. Oh Tommy boy...what did you do? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let this be wrong! (and on Garmin Sharp too....the team based on being clean). So last years winner is OUT of the race literally overnight.

A bit of GOOD news is that Chris Horner is in...and after being runner up 2 years in a row, he's anxious to do that one step up on the podium. I sure hope he does well and wish him the best of luck for sure...when they interview him, he's just a different class of speaker than most cyclists...he would also make a FANTASTIC announcer when he finally does hang up his shoes. Being on a US domestic team there's pretty much zero chance he will get another shot at the Vuelta which he did NOT get to defend last year, after being withdrawn from at the last moment...THAT really hurt because he was looking pretty good!

OK. I'm tired after watching the stage...so I'm off to the snooze-sack. Have a great week and happy racing!

GO CHRIS!!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tour Talk, final thoughts

Well...to sum it all up in one quick sound-byte, it was a HECK of a Tour!

I loved it that Quintana FINALLY came alive in the Alps and made it a fight, showing the world what he's capable of in the BIG mountains. I also enjoyed it when Nibs attacked the lower placed guys and put THEM in duress (however controversial it may seem...whether it was right or wrong is debatable to the end of time and ultimately comes down to if you like him or not I'm afraid...and if you count lady Karma as a voting member, then she voted that his attack was wrong and he was punished the very next day losing time he so desperately fought to gain back).

I was EXTREMELY sad that TJ wasn't there to add his (and his teams) firepower to try to break Sky...MAYBE had they been there over those final Alp stages, they would have broken them sooner and MAYBE Quintana would have been that MUCH closer to the top step in Paris.

I loved it when ANY of the GC guys attacked Froome...Contador, Valverde, Nibali and yes, the new face of mountain-goatness, Nairo Quintana.

I LOVED it that after the carnage of the first week that ALL the pre-race favorites were STILL THERE! Name a year when that last happened (not to mention the sheer NUMBER of legitimate contenders this year!)

I thought there were some pretty epic moments...one of which sticks-out in my mind was when Jean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R) had crashed pretty bad and was in the very back, and FINALLY when he got all bandaged up, started taking on a ton of water bottles to take back up to the team. THAT was a very class act for one of the real iron-men of le Tour.

TJVG stopping his bike on the climb, burying his head in his managers shoulder in the Alps was a moment that will stick with me for a long time...pure heartbreak for him AND the U.S. as he was our hope for a good GC place this year. After that Team BMC just seemed to disappear into the noise.

The crash of Sky's Geraint Thomas when he was clipped by Warren Barguil of Giant (says his hand slipped off his brake and suddenly overshot the turn)....Thomas was hit and basically stood straight up right in the apex of the turn, and he then went straight off the edge, over the rail, SLAMMING his body into that pole (or tree? can't remember which)...it looked REALLY BAD, but he got back up and back into the race apparently unhurt, only sad that he lost his favorite sunglasses in the crash.

The crashes of both Fabian and later Tony Martin, both wearing yellow at the time. Both of them got back on the bike and finished the stage, both in OBVIOUS pain... Fabian with a broken back, Martin with a compound fracture of his collarbone! Talk about IRON MEN! Those were two SERIOUS heartbreaks for their teams and us fans.

I loved it that we had a cobble stage that didn't decimate the peleton with crashes and injuries! (thank goodness it DIDN'T rain that day!)

I loved having time bonus's available at the finish...which really helped make the early stages more exciting as it gives GC guys a reason to not just sit and play it safe in the peleton.

Loved seeing Daniel Teklehaimanot of MTN Qhubeka wearing the polka dot jersey for a few days...the FIRST for an African! That helps remind us that anybody can become a pro bike racer, and it's great seeing their humble roots and having their small town/village anywhere in the world come together to recognize THEIR heros! Quintana has the very same thing going for him. I really like Quintana...he seems like such a quiet little guy, seems to ALWAYS be smiling!

Gosh....I'm sure there are DOZENS of more good and bad moments but right now my brain is on overload. What are YOUR memories of this fantastic Tour? What will you still remember about this Tour NEXT year?

And now sadly it's over...this moment we knew was coming ever since the FIRST stage, and never fails to be sad (however, now I can get to sleep earlier every night).

And Susie, you SERIOUSLY need to get yourself a DVR for next year! I drug my feet for YEARS thinking I really didn't need one, until I was at my brother in laws farm back in VA and he SHOWED ME why I did in fact NEED one. And I do mean NEED...not WANT. There's a BIG DIFF. You won't catch me without one from now on, that's for sure. I am in TOTAL COMMAND of whatever is on the TV...and can watch what I want WHEN I WANT! I wouldn't even bother to have a TV if I can't have a DVR...it's THAT important!

And that's all for now. Thanks for showing up everybody and making this years Tour talk the best that I can remember! The rest of the year I really miss this daily chatting we have going on, much like the old (and I mean OLD) days....WAY back at he who shall not be named's site. Gosh...that seems like a lifetime ago that he brought us all together. He's written a number of books since then...busy guy.

OK. That is all.

Tour off.

Damn.