I'm actually not the biggest cycling fan out there, but I do really enjoy the Tour de France and keeping up with race coverage across the big pond.
Today, I was thinking of all the fond memories of past Tours, and how they have inspired me to get out and ride. Some of my oldest memories were from the 70s and 80s, when as a kid, I loved watching Tour highlights on ABC's Wide World of Sports. I still remember how just one hour of Tour highlights on a Saturday afternoon excited my friends and I about cycling for the rest of the summer.
After college, in 1992, I happened to have cable TV and ESPN carried coverage of the Tour daily (well, it was at 3am). I felt fortunate, since I could tape that day's stage and watch in the evening after work. Wow, what a great Tour! Miguel Indurain, Greg LeMond, Laurent Fignon, and all the other greats, battling it out for the win. That year I was challenged to buy and refurbish an old steel frame racing bike and retrofit it with new components. I had a great time building my ride, which I still ride to this day.
I also recall a nice service AOL offered in 1995, where an on-location cycling reporter followed the Tour and sent out email updates to the subscribers of the list. I still recall dialing in by modem to download the latest descriptive post while I was visiting friends in Germany, as the Tour was taking place in nearby France.
And of course, this year I find myself enjoying Tour coverage offered by websites, weblogs and particularly by Outdoor Life TV in the form of live and archived audio feeds. I feel honored to hear Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen making the call on race day, while I work. In fact it brings back fond memories of 1992 when Phil and Paul made the call for ESPN.
After writing this post, I can't wait to get out on my road bike tomorrow morning! I can't wait to smell the fresh air and feel the wind in my face. I'm looking so forward to seeing the green of the fields and woods flash past, feeling the rumble of blacktop under my wheels, sensing the rush of flying full speed downhill and the challenge of spinning my way up hills. And of course there's that wonderful feeling of endorphins being released and the tension you feel in your legs after a nice morning ride.
Man, it's great to be a cyclist in July! :-)