Real Men Wear Pink

Arizona in 4 eh? Holy Moly. (That’s what my buddy from Texas says. Of course, she pronounces it Howl-lee Mowl-lee!)

Whoda thunk? Scorpions head coach Randy Murphy, whose team ended its season against the Dogs, knew what Arizona had going for it. Murphy says he predicted AZ in 6. As far as i know, that’s about as close a guess of the outcome as anyone came.

So we’re on to the NHL playoffs. I think most of us are predicting the Red Wings have it in the bag. Murphy, who was busy guest bartending for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network at a local Irish Pub in Albuquerque this past Saturday, is predicting as much, but said he’d like to see Pittsburgh win the Cup.

Murphy says, “It would make a good story, after last season [rebounded from a gawdawful season the year before to make it to the playoffs, but eliminated in the first round; had to cope with the uncertainty surrounding the possible sale and relocation of the team]. It’d be fun, since they’re such a young team. And their stars are playing so well.”

That’s what i’m sayin’.

I know – i keep talking about a transition to cycling but i want it to be intriguing, so here’s a little piece about a pro cyclist who used to be a hockey player. Really! I’m always saying cycling is the perfect cross-training sport for hockey players. Good for the knees.

Grab your seats kiddos – here we go…!

For those of you who haven’t checked the Events list on my website, the Giro d’Italia is in full swing. It’s the first of the three European Grand Tours: they last three weeks (stage races, rather than a single day) and tour a country. Even those of you living in caves have heard of the Tour de France, right? The Giro is just like the Tour, but it travels through Italy instead of France. The third Grand Tour is the Vuelta a Espana, which races through Spain in September.

Without even trying, you’ve just learned to say “Tour of [insert Country]” in three languages!

Why do i care about all this, you ask? Why does anyone care about a sports event that involves extreme physical challenge, endurance, pain, victory, beautiful countryside, wicked crashes – for you people who can’t get enough of that stuff, and something completely different from the usual team sports dynamics. Hello.

So far, a significant factor of this year’s Giro is that an American, Christian Vande Velde, wore the leader’s (pink) jersey (just like the yellow one of the Tour de France) for only the second time in the history of the race.

The last time was way, way back, in the 20th Century (1988).

Day 2 leader Franco Pellizotti, Giro d'Italia 2008Unfortunately, Vande Velde lost his lead the following day by one second in a sprint for the finish line at the end of 207 km (a whopping 128 US miles – sitting on a bike). Italian Franco Pellizotti is your new man in pink.

Side note: for those of you already jonesing, if you click on the Vande Velde link above, there’s an (albeit sad) reference to (wait for it…) ice hockey!!!

Another Giro tidbit of interest for Americans is that American Time Trial Champion, Dave Zabriskie, crashed out on the second day (Sunday). Apparently, he tangled with a railroad crossing gate or some such thing, and fractured a vertebrae. It’s impossible to see those obstacles with your nose on the wheel of the guy in front of you.

Poor dude is gonna suffer like labor every time he sneezes or coughs for the next couple weeks. Big shame. Z-Dog is one of the riotous characters in cycling who you wanna listen to, unless you’ve decided the porn stache and soul patch say it all…. On his website, be sure to check out Zabriskie’s Point.

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