Archive for August, 2010

Down Time

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

World Cup soccer is long over, the Tour de France is finished – what to do, what to do? I liken this state of withdrawal to an addiction. Symptoms include crooning pathetically, “I’m going to diiiie,” as i writhe on the living room floor, unable to fill the entertainment void, pull myself together, and get on with my post-Tour life.

I’ve kept a journal. Here are things I learned during the Tour de France:

If you have trouble regulating your core temperature while cycling, swallow an expensive little thermometer capsule – and hold strong coffee intake to a minimum. The capsule alerts your team manager when your core temp gets too high. When it does, he can drive up next to you and hand out pantyhose stuffed with ice cubes you can slide inside the back of your jersey to cool down. Aaaah.

HOT DOG: On a hella tough stage when his teammate, Andy Schleck, needed Jens Voigt to work hard, Voigt burned 6,000 calories in a single day. Six THOUSAND. One of the commentators said that’s as many calories as most of us burn in a month of exercise. “No way!” I thought. Then i did the math.

Three or four super-size meal deals at his favorite fast-food chain oughta replenish those calories lickety-split.

TRAIL BLAZING: Each year, a friend of mine asks if anyone in the Tour de France is Black and each year, i tell her no. However, one of the very first, very best cycling sprinters of all time was an African American named Major Taylor. The son of a slave, Taylor won the 1899 World Championship “oval” (track) competition and another track competition in France in 1906. Wonder how he’d fare against Cavendish….

Much more recently, African American Erik Saunders competed in the Tour de Georgia in 2003 and ’04 and there was a Black man in the 2010 Tour de France if you count Joshua Rosby. The winner of a TdF contest to ride the route with Bob Roll, Rosby turns out to be a competitive cyclist living in Baton Rouge.

Yukiya Arashiro was the lone Japanese rider in the Tour de France and (appropriately named) Ryder Hesjedal was one of only two Canadians (Michael Barry was the other). Hesjedal kicked it with the big dogs in the mountains and time trials, earning a 7th overall finish. Write “Hesjedal” on your 2011 calendar for next July.

Lance Armstrong‘s string of odd luck continued, and he finished his final Tour – for real this time – 23rd. (I’d link his epic wreck footage on YouTube but the ASO has made a copyright claim to Tour de France-related video.)

LET IT OUT: Even smack talkin’ sprinters like Mark Cavendish are in touch with their feelings these days, crying on an international stage. Joel Stein got it right in his little piece in the July/August Women’s Health. Men are crying in public more than ever – a point lately evidenced by a slew of elite male athletes. Contador, winning his 3rd Tour de France, squeezed out a tear on the podium as well.

Better tears than rage. I’m thinking Floyd Landis could use a good cry. The man has issues. Turn that pointing hand around, brother. Mix in a little therapy. If it can work wonders for Ron Artest, it can work for you.

Speaking of rage, Carlos Barredo and Rui Costa had a fist fight after one of the hotter stages of the Tour de France. Not often you see that in cycling.

TIMBITS: Women in the Hockey Hall of Fame! A woman in the Tour de France! (Not racing but still, she’s the first female Ardoisier = motorcycle timekeeper.)

The Rapid City Rush will host the Central Hockey League’s 2011 All-Star game on January 12.

A 2007 survey listed Florida as the most dangerous state for cycling.

And for you readers in the Duke City, Brent Bookwalter of team BMC in the Tour de France was born in Albuquerque, NM. (These days, he’s living in Athens, GA.) While he finished far down in the overall standings, he got his 20 seconds of fame in a pre-stage interview during Versus’ Tour de France coverage. His notable success was placing 2nd in the Prologue (opening time trial) of the 2010 Giro d’Italia.