Sunday, May 9, 2010

I said, "Ouch", This Really Hurts!

What a mind blowing weekend for sports fans! The sun was shining, baseball season is in full swing (no insult intended for Mariners' fans,) MLS soccer is happening, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are into 'win or go home' mode, and pro cycling is on TV. Forget the recession, and all the wackiness out of Washington, and in the Gulf, really; sports are all that truly matter, right?

First the bad news. The Detroit Red Wings were eliminated from competition. Granted, this is great news if you're in San Jose. The Sharks have not been able to do anything in the most recent post-seasons, so to see them get the monkey off their back was a bit of good news. However, I'm into beards, and the Red Wings had some of the best in the business. Maybe now that they're out of the playoffs, someone will pick up one of the more hirsute players for the commentary desk. Hmmm..

In other Stanley Cup news, our very own (if Seattle can make a claim to something Canadian,) Vancouver Canucks are still in it. Sure, the gold-medal-winning goalie, Roberto Luongo allowed a distressing, seven goals Friday night, but with the shut-out he's sitting on well into the third period of game 5, he can be forgiven.

Speaking of distressing, I had just reset my jet-lag clock to the week behind-or-so coverage of Versus "Epic Cycle" cycling coverage, when out of the blue, they did a "Tour of California Preview Special". What? I was all set to hear about the TOC at the end of the month, when all of a sudden, I'm whiplashed into future coverage. The race doesn't actually start until May 16. I've never gotten a buzz off of water before, but with the way my head is spinning right now, I'm starting to think I could be. (Cheers to you, recession beverages!)

Luckily, back over at the Universal Sports network, life is continuing as it was yesterday, with another day of same day coverage. Out here on the west coast, the 'live' coverage starts at 6am. I'm pretty thick skinned about a lot of things, but having any functioning brain cells at six in the morning, is not something I'm tough enough to do. I caught it much later in the day.

With that said, Happy Mothers' Day to all the mom's, grandmom's, and future mom's out there. You know who you are, and you know why you're special. Only a mom can spin the most interesting yarns about the importance and intricacies of poop, and for that, among many other things, we all thank you.

Back to the Universal coverage, I must point out that my liege, and cycling's uber-blogger, BikeSnobNYC is crafting, what I'm hoping will be, daily articles about the goings-on in the Giro d'Italia. If you want to enjoy a beefy burrito of reporting goodness, be sure to check out his take on yesterday's and today's action. Now that everyone knows what the 'real' BikeSnob looks like, I think it's only fair to pictorialize him as accurately as possible. Given that there's still not a lot of footage, I will substitute Matthew Broderick from 'The Freshman', as an adequate avatar.

(Here's Snobbie with his celeb-friend, Rick Astley.)

As I mentioned, this year, the Giro is 'competing' against the Tour of California for the attentions of the racers. I can understand why the Giro might feel a little insulted by this, as the more tenured, established beauty that the cycling world has loved for over a century. Along comes the 'Golden State' with her shorter skirts--I mean course, longer commutes for the usually favored Europeans, and titillating insanity of the American cycling fans. Oh sure, former Tour de France winners and other cycling greats, chose Cali over Italy this year, but I'm still a huge fan of the Giro. In fact, I'm convinced that this year's competition will have the unique ability to crown cycling's 'maglia zesty' for cycling's hottest racer. Will it be Basso, Pozzato, the dark horse-Petacchi, or will Christian VandeVelde prove he can hold his own against the Europeans at long last? (To be clear, I have no idea which race Nicholas Roche of Ireland chose to ride--as long as he shows up at one or the other, I won't mind.)

As the commentators all pointed out, there was a lot of crashing during the race today. If you've never had the experience of crashing on a bike, (or as the British call it, 'falling off',) allow me to elaborate. Crashing is one of the few experiences life where you can be up and riding one minute, and down on the ground instantly, covered in tubes and metal, and not know why. Okay, so this also could describe having sex in a proctologists office, but if today served as an example, crashing on a bike may happen more frequently.

So to see the peloton crash not once, but something like seventy times, I felt for the boys out on the road today. It's one thing to want to do better than the next guy, but to do so because the other guy skidded across the pavement on only a thin film of lycra, you gotta wonder. After the first couple times, wouldn't the group start calling out warnings to each other? Sure, they don't all speak the same language, but I expect they would all respond to something like, "AAACCKKK!!"

Maybe they just don't like each other. Give them a few weeks, I suppose. Either way, I'm glad to see that Svein Tuft and Tyler Farrar are racing the Giro, rather than the TOC. Congrats to Tyler for his awesomeness in winning the stage after falling victim to the crash plague. Better luck to everyone tomorrow.

Ride safe. I love you all.

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