Giro Comments: I’m still finishing the tapes from last Saturday and Sunday –
1. Why does the OLN voice-over dude keep saying the “Mag-la-ia Rosa”? Do they have no-one in their production department who speaks Italian?
2. The climb over the Finestre (next to the last stage)- Dirt frickin’ roads! How cool is that? Real bike racing, not like that wussy race in France where every road is freshly paved.
3. The crowds at the top of Finestre – WOW! thousands of folks clinging to the top of the mountain, absolutely insane. Liggett summed it up perfectly “It’s like they’re clinging to the top of the world”.
4. With no disrespect to Mr. Armstrong intended, I am so looking forward to the post Lance era of cycling. This Giro has been absolutely tense, with DiLuca coming from nowhere to be a contender, Simoni being brilliant, and Paolo Salvodelli doing amazing things with a stripped-down Discovery Team.
5. Why is it that Italian cyclists have the best nicknames? “Il Falco” is about everything you could want in a nickname – the whole inspirational imagery (falcons), the Italian article (not just “Falcon”, but “the falcon”), and the echo of bad ’80’s euro-pop.
6. Bike racing beats the snot out of car racing because (given a few thousand dollars) you can run down to your local bike shop and pick up the exact same machine. No way could I pretend to be Michael Schumaker or Bobby LaBonte by heading down to the dealership.
7. The ProTour may be what kick starts cycling, especially with Armstrong’s retirement. Having more of the big guns at the big races grows interest, and being able to narrow down the field of names to follow makes the sport more accessible.
8. Am I the only one who laughs out loud when Phil and Paul do the promos for Bull Riding and bad reality TV?
in any case, if you haven’t watched it, Stage 19 was everything that could be imagined in a bike race – gorgeous day, fierce competition, breathtaking scenery, man vs. nature, the harmony of man and machine. Yeah. I’m going to get a lot of mileage out of this stage.
Salvodelli had a huge grin on the Sestriere, even though his lungs and legs had to be completely bursting. The beautiful thing about sport is that, even though my (slightly less than it used to be) fat butt will never even be worthy of carrying Salvodelli’s musette, I know exactly what was going through Salvodelli’s head, because the same thoughts were going through my mind today as I rode on Jamestown: “Wow, this is suffering. I cannot wait to get home and let the RBF know how I pulled through.”
Cool came back to New England today. It dawned clear and damp, then between 3 and 4, the fog rolled in off the North Atlantic. There was a pretty decent breeze blowing out of the south, so I parked at the soccer field and started out south, into the wind. The ride down to Beavertail was good – not really fast, but it was into the wind, challenging, and the legs felt decent.
Turning around and heading north, with the wind, was amazing. I had the spin going, had lungs that wouldn’t quit, and was loving life. Passed a guy going the other way just after the turn – he was on a decent bike, but looked like the 20 lbs ago version of me. Threw me a big wave, I waved back and flashed a bug-eating grin. I kind of wish I’d chased him down and told him about the RBF – he had the look– seemed like he had the general hunger to get fit, and he looked happy as a clam.
The three miles after the turn south back to the car were way too short. Bob Roll started screaming in my ear again, except this time he wasn’t telling me to ride it like I stole it. No, this time it was “Allez, Allez! Ride it like you own it!”
Completely flew back up the short hill and into the parking lot, bug-eating grin intact. The 20 or so miles was done in 70 or so minutes, so pacing is coming back. I really ought to switch wheels, or get another computer magnet, I’m actually interested in times again…
Hope everyone else is running and riding like they own the course…