Cycling Stuff

Three Words: Tour de France

I try to avoid posting personal stuff here. My life is not that interesting. A very funny and gregarious friend helped teach me this lesson very early in my blogging career. JT once mistakenly referred to my blog as: “” Though that made me laugh, especially with the expletives added, the concept sticks in my mind today.

But today is different. Today is the start of the Tour De France.

The short but ever-exciting prologue has already begun in Liege Belgium. Triathletes and enduro-addicts won’t be impressed with a 4-mile effort, but trust me…this kind of effort hurts. Try it sometime: set your watch for 8 minutes and go as hard as you can. My guess is that you will look down first at 45 seconds and think, OMG, how will I do another 7 minutes.

In our house, the DVR memory has been cleared and the to-do list set. Tour coverage affects life. We struggle to get other things done during these three weeks. These are not excuses, just facts.

Our favorite North American rider in the Tour is Chris Horner (@hornerakg). I met Mr Horner at a cross race here in Louisville a number of years ago. He was just as friendly and warm in person as he is during interviews. That Mr Horner is humble and nice is one reason to like him, but another is his riding style. He’s been a hard worker, coming up from the grass-roots of cycling. He’s old school, eats cheeseburgers and he’s 40! He is a team guy who many times over has sacrificed personal goals for the team. That’s something. We will be listening to Chris’ interviews over at

We have other favorites as well:

On the list of other interesting cyclists to follow, Jens Voigt (@jensie) stands far above the rest. He’s a powerful German rider known to yell at his own legs. “Shut up legs,” is what he tells them. You knew legs were capable of speaking, right? scored a double when they signed up both Jens and Horner for interviews. It’s possible their interviews are as interesting as the race itself. Seriously folks, go Google Jens Voight on YouTube.

Another notable in the Mandrola house is Swiss cyborg, Fabian Cancellara (@f_cancellara). Mr. Cancellara enjoys unanimous support in our Hall of Fame of heart-lung-leg machines. Other members of this select club include, Secretariat, Lance, Greg Lemond, Eddie Merckx and Haile Gebrselassie. I’ll never forget the 2010 Tour of Flanders when Fabian, staying seated and pulling into the hill, dropped Tom Boonen on the final climb and rode away for the win.

How watching the Tour is different from Football and Basketball:

When Indiana plays hoops, we root for the Hoosiers. If they lose, it lessons the experience. That’s the same for many of the team sports so loved all over the world. It’s important which team wins. We don’t watch the Tour that way. As bike racers, we enjoy the racing; we pull hard for the break to survive, because as non-protected riders ourselves, that might be us in the local crit. We know those guys in the break are so feeling it. I can even see hope in their faces. They are thinking, “Wow…I’ve got a chance to win a stage in the Tour.”

How about the anguish of the guy who flats and then has to chase back? Ouch, does that ever hurt. And the worker-bee riders tasked with riding on the front. How can they pull like that all day, and then again the next day? Somebody mention them please.

Other good sites for the Tour.

I’ll be checking the blog of former pro cyclist and champion master racer, ;Steve Tilford. I like Steve’s site because he doesn’t pull punches. He writes from the perspective of the real racer that he still is.

Another good twitter and blog to follow is over at ;Cyclocosm.

You already know the big cycling news sites: Velonews and Cyclingnews.

It’s Tour time!


8 replies on “Three Words: Tour de France”


So — I’m dying to have your opinion on whether or not Lance was guilty of doping during any of his tour victories……….

Doc, I really don’t know much about doping. Can they test people to see if they have been using, for intance, EPO?

Do you not love Phil Liggett? We just heard him say (regarding Radioshack) “their tails are up” and they’re planning a chase. Hah! Their tails are up – I love that. He’s such a good commentator. I love it when he talks about having a suitcase full of courage. Phil just makes July.

Having my morning coffee while watching a bit of The Tour is one of the best things about July. What other sporting event gives fans doses of culture along with the latest standings and stats?

It’s fashionable in web circles to bash P&P, but I love them. I hope we all have the opportunity to dance on our pedals in a most immodest way some day.

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