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An Acquired Taste
Greetings From The Booth!
With the Fourth of July weekend in the rear view mirror, we now slug our way through the heat and humidity of the Shenandoah Summer as we make our way to Fall and Football. On this 95-degree day, that seems far away. To get us there, concerts and county fairs are back, and it was great to see the seats filled at Nats Park for this weekends’ Dodgers series. I cannot wait to get to a ballgame or two!
Something that also occupies my sports-viewing calendar this time of year is the Tour de France, the “Super Bowl”of cycling. The Tour is a grueling 3-week bicycle race, a lot of which climbs through the Alps and the Pyrenees mountains, and might be the most demanding sporting event there is. There are 21 “stages” in all, culminating with the mostly ceremonial ride on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 18th. To put this event in perspective, think of running a marathon just about every day for three weeks. Uphill. Which might be the reason that when you play word association and someone says “Tour de France”or “cycling,” most people say “doping.” I’m not sure human beings are meant to do something like this.
For the record, I know little about the Tour de France. I don’t understand team strategy, individual strategy, the races within the races, and so on. With no American of any relevance in the Tour since Lance Armstrong (and we all know what happened to him), I don’t really know any of the athletes. However, I do enjoy the visual beauty of the Tour, the incredible mountain scenery, the small villages, the fans who line the roads (many dressed in costume) for a glimpse of their favorite cyclists, and the occasional crash, although I’m not one who watches a race hoping for an accident.
My only association with cycling is having taken part in three MS 150 Bike Tours in the 90’s, 2-day, 150-mile events that started in Charlottesville and ended at the Virginia-North Carolina border. I’m still numb in unmentionable places.
I also did radio updates for the “Tour de Trump” cycling event which made it’s way through the area back in the day. I was a fish out of water as I hung out in the media area with lots of very snobby European cycling aficionados who, when I would ask a question, looked at me as though I was pairing up caviar with Boone’s Farm. I was truly the Dumb American.
Still, every Summer I tune in to watch these incredible athletes compete in an event that I’m totally clueless about. Hey, I’m just trying to get to football…the American kind.
Until the next visit from The Booth…GO HORNETS!