Saturday, July 15, 2006

Tour Combines Media, Real Life

I saw some bison this morning.

I was riding my Trek bike southwest of town on a small country road. There they were behind a fence. I bid them good morning and rode on.

July always is a special month to me. My wife and I have birthdays in July, but cycling really defines the month for me.

My television viewing during the month almost exclusively centers around Tour de France coverage. Three hours a day on flat stages. There were five hours to watch on Thursday (it was a mountain stage -- more to see).

The best part is that I get to ride my bike, too. It usually works out that I am on my bike at the very same moment as the TDF riders. Sure, my moments in the saddle are far briefer than theirs, but it's a great connection. I know that half a world away, their are turning over their pedals at 100 RPM, too.

I have not watched today's stage yet. I have avoided my normal sports Web site viewing to maintain my suspense. But in a couple of hours, I will put the kids to bed and fire up the TiVo.

At some time tonight, commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin will talk about how the riders are suffering. And I will know what it is to suffer. To be sure, they are world-class athletes, and I am far from it. But I know what it is like for my legs to scream, "quit." It's on a different scale, but the pain is the same.

Amateur cyclists can have some of the same toys as the pros. I ride with a heart rate monitor and a virtual cadence meter. I know my heart rate and my RPM. With these two tools, you know enough to make yourself suffer. You keep up the pace, even when you're tired. Forget your legs. Keep that heart beating at 152 beats a minute. Turn those pedals over 100 times every 60 seconds.

Cycling in the South Plains is a funny thing. Twice this morning I caught myself thinking, "That's funny, this didn't seem like a hill when I was going the other way!"

In all, it makes for the greatest month of the year. Cycling in the morning and cycling at night. The move to Texas put my mileage way behind schedule this year, but I will still log more miles this month than any other.

The only thing that can make July any better is when I finally save enough money for Emily and I (and my Trek) to go to France and watch a stage in person. If you have enough money, a cycling tour company will also organize a ride on one of the stages. That day, I'll get to ride the exact same miles as Levi, Robbie, and the boys. That will be perfection.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh ya? Well this Ohio guy owns a Dyno Nitro that's hanging upside down in a garage just waiting for some fun.

12:16 AM  

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