Monday, April 23, 2007

Haloo Hallay

Halloo Hallay, it's bicycle racing season again. Started off with a terrific Tour of California, a week long race now beginning to attract top European teams as well as US ones (and US teams are starting to be top teams among the world teams). Won by American Levi Leipheimer. Now the Tour of Georgia is underway, well actually it finished today. TV coverage next week-end.

Next some of the European races, Ronde von Flanderen; Paris-Rubais; Milan-San Remo; Amstel Gold (Holland and Belgium mostly); leading up to the big week, two week, or three week races like the Giro Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta d'Espana. (Sorry, can't get a tilde to work on this machine, one belongs over the "n" in Espana.) Favorite teams are the Discovery Channel team, and CSC led by Bjorne Riis out of Denmark.

We started to watch these races many many years ago, somewhere around 1983, mostly because it is the best free travelogue without smarmy voices selling you restaurants that you can possibly get. Coverage is from motorcycles with the racers, but also helicopters, giving you fantastic overviews of roads, forests, castles, villages, gorgeous.

We continued watching because the commentary is so terrific ... former racers Phil Liggett, the eminence grise of bike commetary; and Paul Sherwin, former racer now running a gold mine in Kenya in his other life. Bob Roll, American wild man racer occasionally appears as well, and Frankie Andreu with technical information.

Like many other things (even, I know you'll wince but it's true, tractor pulls), if you learn enough about any of the wondrous things human beings love to do, you can become a fan yourself. Bicycle racing is deceptively complicated. I'm so glad it's started again. (Thanks Hampton Inns for sponsoring it!)

Now, I wonder what else will become fascinating if I just listen long enough to learn more about it?

PS List of Thinking Blogs still being worked on...coming soon!

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