I was just told that I should do a triathlon. No, this isn't from one of you wondering when, exactly was the last time you saw me swim (assumimg that I can actually swim of course). This was from a waitress (waitperson? I'm so hopellessly out of date on my PC gender-neutral job descriptions) on finding out various people around the table were cyclists or runners. Apparently her Mum does them, like, all the time and thinks they're, like, awesome.
This seems to be par for my course at the moment, being told to do what I'm already doing.
Of course this is just one up from my all time favorite, that of my opinion being less valid than than that of someone elses. You don't have to see the validity in my argument of course, but if I don't recognise the validity of yours then I'm a narrow-minded bigot. Nothing brings these feelings into such sharp relief as the Tour de France. There are other bike races you know, and ones with significantly less hype and more action. There is that feelinf of it being overly hyped, and to the extent that ASO are starting to believe their own press. If this is the world's biggest bike race and we own the world's biggest bike race, then who are the UCI and why do we need them? Rules that benefit only them? Sure. No problem. After all, we are the Tour.
So yes, all in all, I do feel slightly jaded come Tour time. This is a cycling heresy, especially in North America. How much of a heresy? Not liking the Tour means you like cancer.
You know, I thought long and hard about writing that last sentance and had originally decided not to put it in. Way too inflammatory, way too obviously about one person and one issue. However I really did see that line; if you don't like Lance then you like cancer, in a forum thread the other day on Cyclingnews.com. Talk about being blown away! People are stooping this low now? This retort doesn't have a coherent argument or even try to address the issue, it's just first-grade play-ground name calling yet it's passing for debate now! Who says logic is dead? I'm not a Lance-hater, but I have a healthy dose of skepticism. Put it this way, as a cycling fan I don't think Phil and Paul speak for me.
So, no. I don't think there isn't enough cancer in the world, I just think the Tour, and to a point, stage-race riders (all of them) are overhyped and accorded way too much precedence in the sport. Where-else will the World Champion, the Olympic Champion, fer goodness sakes, take a back-seat to the winner of a single race? Where-else will these champions be relegated to the back of the bus, have their acheivements downplayed 'cos like, it's not the Tour man.
So..... sure, I will allow myself some frisson of excitement about it, but in the proper time (late June) not when some cycling websites think I should be (October onwards). I'll follow the stages and debate you all night about minutae, but I'll also do that about the Giro and the Vuelta. For that matter, what do you think of the ladies' Giro, you think Abbott can hold on, do you think Pooley got screwed? The inclusion of the Stelvio for the first time should make tomorrow's stage interesting. No?
To be honest, if i was given the option to spend three weeks in Europe being a bike junkie, I'd choose April not July. See the Classics and semi-classics; the Ronde, Paris-Roubaix, Ghent-Wavelgem, La Doyenne, Amstel. Plenty of cobbles, plenty of sharp, steep bergs and cotes, and all raced in dead earnest. There's no sitting-in during the Classics, no waiting for a favorable, sunny moment to make a descive attack. This is all or nothing racing, and I'll take it over a Grand Tour any day.
Or maybe 'cross; there's Duvel, frites and mayonnaise at the 'cross.....