Monday, July 25, 2005

Ode to the Bike (and Lance)

So far, I've watched 14 stages this year's Tour de France. I've always been a casual fan, but this year I've really begun to understand biking a whole lot better and I've enjoyed it so much more! I've been wanting to do this post for a while, but I think I've just finally gotten all my thoughts together. By the way, I'm not going to sing Lance's praises here, since everyone else is doing it rather well already, but here are my top 5 reasons that I think cycling is the toughest sport in the world. Notice that I'm not necessarily saying that it's the most exciting to watch or that it's for everyone, but I do believe that it's the toughest.
  1. The sheer physicality. Most tour stages are between 4 and 5 hours of constant pedaling. Besides a marathon, I don't know of any other sport where you just keep pounding it out that long without breaks.
  2. The Danger. Like NASCAR (which is NOT a sport by the way -- it's driving fast) bike racers race inches away from each other and one small mistake by anyone in the peleton and there's a major wipeout.
  3. The Strategy. A lot like football or baseball, cycling is all about strategy. Knowing when to attack when not to, who to chase, when to cut your losses, etc. Lance once compared bike racing to a game of chess.
  4. The Strategy (part two). I can't think of any other sport where you sometimes collaborate with your chief competitors to get further down the road. In cycling, when there's a break away from the peleton, even the fiercest competitors have to work together so they can fight it out at the finish line.
  5. The Sportmanship. They call it the "brotherhood of the bike" and I don't think I've ever seen a sport where the competitors have such respect for one another. I could go on and on here, but I won't bore you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i think i saw about 15 of the stages this year too. biking really is so much more than i thought it was...lance makes it look so easy..can you imagine flying down those hills..scary. see you for golf on fri!!