(photo edited, so as not to be same as another, better-tasting blog site.)
So, if you noticed any major events last week, you may have noticed that this blog, suddenly went into convulsions, and passed out for a bit. Okay, so it wasn't a major event when you compare it to the continuing efforts in the Middle East, the US Economy, or the Miss USA Pageant, but it was a moderate inconvenience in my world, and that's close enough.
Today, the Tour of California competed against the Giro d'Italia in a television Time Trial of coverage. I same time trial, because the two media outlets televising pro cycling races these days, Versus and Universal Sports, didn't 'roll off' at the same time, the way a standard race does, and they each had to push they're skills to the limits of what they could do for cycling coverage.
Initially, Versus (showing the Tour of California), stumbled right out of the starting gate, when they had two different Phil Liggett audio files (not to be confused with the Phil Liggett audiophile,) playing at the same time, creating a fugue of lilting, British fury. They quickly recovered though, with a return of the 'Epic Cycle' graphics.
Not to be outdone, Universal Sports pulled out all the stops by extending their daily two-hour coverage by a full, extra half-hour with the uncategorized mountain-top finish at the top of Monte Termination, (or something like that, but in Italian.) It turns out that the Giro organizers decided to not categorize any of the mountaintop finishes, to keep them in a shroud of mystery, like when large-busted women wear puffy sweatshirts. (Yes, you can tell that there might be some breasts under it, but is it a nice set of womanliness, or some mutant form of chicken breast? In a sweatshirt, it looks pretty much the same.) And just like hiding in a big sweatshirt, one can guess that the Giro organizers are trying to cover something up. In the case of today's race, the finishing climb edged over 12% grade at one point, putting into what the Tour de France would describe as Hors Categorie, or in English, uncategorized.
Back at the Tour of California, the race profile exposed a largely downhill course. Snooze. The fact that cycling celebrities are choosing to race TOC, rather than the Giro made it a little more interesting. Barring a catastrophic mechanical failure or massive crash, chances of a Mark Cavendish win were pretty good. He did. There was a crash mere feet from the finish line involving Tom Boonen, where he displayed that American roads tear up modern cycling clothing much faster than that of the French. He's tested the crashability of roads all over Europe, so it was easy to predict that he would want to crash-test Cali's, as well, but it seemed he got more than he bargained for.
So, Universal Sports brought the fight to the wheelhouse, and declared the term 'epic' is overused in descriptions of cycling. Ooooh. A direct hit! Rest assured, as the race climbed into final mountain's fog bank, the word 'epic' slipped out like a nipple from a bathing suit. And who doesn't like that.
It was also revealed that, during yesterday's Giro through the Strata Biankay--as Steve Schlanger called it (don't ask me if it's right, nor how to spell it)--or the dirt sections of the race course, Cadel Evans changed his bike from a typical road race bike to the roadie equivalent of a cyclocross bike. Okay, sure so it was kind of a messed up, almost dickish, move of the race organizers to suddenly divert a bunch of pavement-loving road cyclists onto the terra firma, but what's the point of allowing the richer teams to trade equipment before hitting this section? It's sort of like if you're in school taking a test, and halfway through the test, when you get to the essay portion, the guy next to you hands his pen over to James Joyce to finish. Yes, racers are allowed to change equipment during the race due to mechanical failure, and I confess, I don't know the rules on changing equipment for no good reason at all, but this seems like a douchey move, unworthy of the rainbow stripes.
Watching the race slog through the mud, made me pause. It was slogging through the blogtacular mud that made this blog go into the aforementioned convulsions. I'm guessing that it contained a toxic parasite of some kind. Nonetheless, it's back now. Whatever.
But, back to the 'muddy-mudskipper' Giro: this seems fishy to me. It's sort of like letting your bike take a performance enhancing drug. If one guy is allowed to do it, everyone should be allowed to. Heck. There should be a triathlon-like changing station where everyone swaps to a different ride, and the race should be renamed, The Giro d'Italia d'Douche, and the stuffed, plush, soft-drink looking thing they had out at the podium, should be changed to a, ...well...
On a lighter note, the Seattle media reported on a guy that saved a bald eagle on the Columbia River, recently. Say what you want about the way that patriotism has been thrown around in the past decade as some kind of political litmus test of some kind, and the bald eagle seems to symbolize that, but it's not uncommon to see them while on a bike, during the spring and summer months. Sure, it's possible see them in the car, but it's more likely to be, "Hey look! that's a really big bird!". On a bike, when the eagle is searching the surface of Lake Washington for tasty vittles, while you're riding past on Lake Washington Blvd, nearby, it gives a much better perspective on how huge, amazing, and beautiful our national symbol truly is. Here's the rescued eagle, post-release:
Speaking of lycra-clad sports and weather, the sun and 70-degree weather has reached the typically gray and sedated Seattle weather-schema, meaning summer is essentially here. This means donning that other lycra, sporting gear, the swimsuit, and getting a little wet. If you're interested in a swimming adventure opportunity, schedule a trip to NYC and visit the waterways around Manhattan. I've heard that you can even dip yourself into the wetness that is (as one of the locals calls it,) the Big Skanky. You don't even have to get a hepatitis shot first!
But, no need to start swimming just yet. We are still in Bike Month, and are beginning, now, Bike Week.
Ride Safe. I love you all.