This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tour and Olympic prelim

     It's time again for that great American past time; drinking beer in front of the TV.  Since we finally found out that Andy Schleck won the Tour two years ago, it's time to do it again.  I don't know who's good or not, I don't buy my equipment according to the podium count, hell I don't see any reason for lycra, let alone team kit.  However, I will watch.  It's one of the 5 sporting events I actually do follow.  The vicarious thrill of watching the really talented doing shit I can't even think about excites me as much as anybody.
    It would be nice if the whole month went by without a doping scandal.  It's appropriate now to mention that Lance Armstrong is once again being accused by competitors of doing what they were found guilty of, while he was not.  OK, that's done.
     Then there are the Olympics, you remember that, right?   That's when all the warring political philosophies square off to show the world how their systems have produced better individuals than all the the bad guys.   Oops, it occurs to me that something is amiss.  The whole world is struggling economically, wars are fought on the internet against enemies without nations.  It has changed since I was a child and Kruschev was banging his shoes on the United Nations podium.   I have a problem feeling any enthusiasm.  Ironically the track and field trials are being held at historic Hayward field in Oregon where Steve Prefontaine accomplished so much, created an awareness for the abuse of amatuar athletes, and whose shoes became the cornerstone of the greatest sporting goods empire in history.  Now everybody is professional and it will be another exercise in watching professional athletes do what they are paid to do.   The performance enhancing drugs used so commonly among the eastern european athletes who defeated Prefontaine are now a common problem among our own.  The self righteious goodness is all gone now.
The Olympics do hold a special place in my heart.  It was after the Los Angeles Olympics when American cyclists won so many gold medals that the man behind the wheel of the car started treating me with kindness. I remember before, being forced off the road and hit with open beers from passing cars.   After the  LA victories people honked and waved after they passed, and people applauded as I worked my way up a hill (hell, I was just going to work).
       Likewise, the Tour has provided the most memorable vision of competition I have ever seen in any sport.  I don't remember the year, or the village where it occurred, but the commentators were amazed all week that organizers would schedule a ride through that town where a highway became a funnel into one  ancient lane hardly large enough for an oxcart.  To complicate the matter, the road made a 110 degree turn at the bottom of a hill, surrounded on both sides with three story buildings.  Hay bales had been piled along the sidewalks and EMS were on site everywhere.  The drama built as the peleton approached the narrowing point at 35mph, everybody braced and held their breath anticipating the inevitable crash.  The competitors answered the challenge; not a wheel was crossed, not a foot touched the ground, each rider held a perfect line in complete respect for each other, they accelerated through the town like a multi-colored snake hurrying to long grass.   It was breathtaking and beautiful.
      Seeing one moment of pure synchronicity drawn from competition makes the inanity and hype go away,
and will bring me back to watch again this year.

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