Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tour de France Cancer Hero: Bonne Chance, Lance

I've been watching bits of the Tour de France. No, I won't call it the Tour de Lance, but hats off to Lance Armstrong, coming out of "retirement" to compete against riders nearly half his age. On the one hand, he'll always be the idiot who let Sheryl Crow get away... on the other hand, here's a cancer survivor who set the bar pretty damned high. (Way to make the rest of us feel like underachievers!) Lance is actually in second place, but I think just the fact that he qualified makes him a winner.

Today is probably the most spectacular, scenery-wise. The Tour is in the Alps, and will be dipping into Italy and Switzerland as they climb and descend two mountains: the Col du Grand St Bernard (sounds like the GrawnSawnB'nawnn), is 2,469 metres (8,100 feet) and the Col du Petit St Bernard, is 2,188 metres (7,180 feet). Then they will have a 30km descent. This isn't just a bike race, I've learned, there are scads of rules: the riders must do this, and the teams must do that, and on and on. There was some big controversy about the results from the previous stage, but even after listening to 10 minutes' discussion about it, I still had no idea what the issue was. Well, it certainly provides the commentators plenty of discussion material.

From a design standpoint -- something that is often neglected on Versus! -- I think the logo is brilliant. Didja see how the "our" in "Tour" make up the cyclist and bicycle? Speaking of design, one thing I've learned from just the bits that I've watched: no one, not even these guys with their world-class physiques, no one looks good in bicycle shorts.

The Tour is on the channel I call "Kill Bambi," but, I've learned, is actually called "Versus." In other words, it's all about the manly art of competition, whether that's cycling, Indy cars, beating each other up, or more often, hunting and fishing. As fas as the latter, I don't think hunting a deer with a rifle or even a crossbow is much of a competition. Drop the hunter, naked and barefoot and unarmed, in the middle of the woods, and then challenge him to track, catch and kill a deer. Now that's a fair fight.

Photo Copyright © IMAGO (and obviously, not "live.")

No comments: