Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tour-less (It's Not a Word, It's a State of Being)

On your marks get set go
Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race
Bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
Bicycle bicycle bicycle
Bicycle race
--Queen, "Bicycle Race"

About three years ago, I started paying attention to the Tour de France. I knew about Greg LeMond in the eighties, and I had heard about Lance Armstrong in the nineties, but beyond knowing that there were a couple of Americans pedaling around the sunflower fields of France, I knew little else. And cared less.

For some reason, perhaps increased coverage because of Lance's attempt at winning six tours in a row, or, due to the increased coverage, a better knowledge of what the race entailed, I got hooked. I watched just about every stage of the race in 2004 (on OLN), sometimes waking up early enough to watch the live coverage instead of the late morning rebroadcast. It was fascinating, watching these guys pedal these bikes faster than I'll ever get a bike to go, climbing ridiculous mountains and navigating hairpin turn-filled descents while dodging insane Euopeans dressed as the Louvre who leaped out at the riders as they streamed by. I garnered an appreciation for the sport, the athletes, and, even to some extent, some of the French traditions (the race has been run since the first decade of the ninteen hundreds, I think).

Anyway, it was totally cool, and I was into it. Except, last year, our cable company switched its programming packages. We no longer received OLN with our package, but, for an extra pound of flesh a month, we could get it with an add on package. No way, thank you very little. So, no Tour last year.

Except, if you recall, I spent last summer in Eugene, while Monkey finished up her internship at U of O. And she had OLN on her cable package. So, hooray, I watched again, as Lance took down a seventh tour.

No such luck this year, sports fans (as the Great Santini would say).

And because of this (a cosmic coincidence involving my cable companies greed and my unwillingness to pay $500/month to watch television) I (and everyone else as fiscally responsible (or cheap) as I) missed seeing history made (or missed a reassembled electronic signal that mimicked (in two dimensions and thousands of miles away) the scene upon which actual history was made). This morning, Floyd Landis, the heir apparent to Lance Armstrong, pedaled perhaps the most amazing bicycle race in the history of mankind (no, I am not exaggerating). He was more than eight minutes behind the leader after falling apart in yesterday's stage. Today, he is thirty seconds behind after single-handedly (but double-wheeledly) demolishing the field in a brutal mountain stage. It must have been amazing to watch. It was thrilling to sit by my computer monitor and watch the race unfold in a graphically uninteresting way, so it must have been a hundred times more thrilling to watch on the tube. And even more thrilling to watch on Coach B's new quarter-mile wide, high def projection screen TV. But I don't think he has OLN, either.

Thanks, MediaCom. You suck, but you're all we got.


Anonymous said...

MediaCom = The Man = sucky suck. Still there will be no cable chez nous, though shortly there will be internet. We just aren't going to pay such a ridiculous amount of money for cable that is almost completely crap programmming. Though the little bit of good stuff in there is quite good... But on principle, I must draw the line.

Floyd Landis = Wow! = Chemically-enhanced performance? Sad that I have this thought.

Your blog provides a better-than-cable experience of the Tour De France!

Cable-less and (mostly) loving it,


ATR said...

IS it not a sad commentary on this modern life that every time a brother does something amazing, e'rbody thinks he's jacked up on something? Too bad.
Of course, for all I know, he could have been jacked up on something,

Anonymous said...

I want my

I want my

I want my!

C'mon, Reda! You know I ain't even gots no cable! The Aim, she needs it. She needs it bad.

Anon AMVB, she jonesin