Archive | March 2013

E3 Harlebeke (spoiler alert)

Galer’s Blog2

E3 Harlebeke

Coming to you live from in front of the recorded race on TV (thank you TiVo), a nice glass of white wine at my side, hubby safely home from another grueling day on the mountain bike trails of Mendocino county snoozing at my side…

And the award for ‘are you nuts??’ goes to Paolini who removed his leg warmers while peddling hard to keep up with the peloton in the E3 Harlebeke, a crazy little ride in the Flanders portion of Belgium where, by the way, spring has definitely not sprung.

Peter Sagan (Peder, that is, thank you Todd) hungry to steal the thunder from Fab Fabian and Tom Boonan (thrilled to still have two arms after a bad mountain bike event– (are you listening honey??)). Tiny little single track lanes which sometime in mid summer might be gorgeous, but right now in March…uh..nope, not so much.

One of the fun parts of watching racing in Europe is the scenery, and the houses. “Oh yeah, I’ll take that Chateau,” you’ll hear me say that a lot come July. Belgium? Not so much. You can tell they get too much snow, the roof line dominates the house construction style. The land is flat farmland, but where are the animals? Always the sign of a corporate presence when farms are single purpose. Family farming– a few cows, a few pigs and chickens, a decent crop summer and winter….has been replaced with government subsidized farming on a ticket. No cows coming home here.

Note to riders, it might be easier to ride in the gutter, but did you ever see Laugh In back in the 70s? Slow motion tip over. Ouch! Embarrassing.

‘Achtervoglers’ is your Flemish word of the day. Pretty sure it’s ‘breakaway group’, the French would call it ‘tete de la course’ – head of the course, here it’s anyone in front of the main body (Peloton).

I don’t think there are any Americans in this race so tempers are cool and no one’s done anything rude.

Congratulations to Fabian Cancellara, once again showing us who has it and who doesn’t!


Bad Boys…

Galer’s Blog1

Three Days of Panne

Bad boys practice their pout poses, show up in public in skin tight shorts with padding ‘you know where’, and even so, the audience is mostly guys in their 20s….what’s going on? It’s the 2013 Cycling Season!

            The season actually started back in January with the Australian race around Adelaide, admirably commentated by newly retired Robbie McEwan, once the bad boy of sprinters who had to win all on his own because he could never quite get on a team that knew how to pull a train. Are you lost already? Never fear, stick with me and I’ll try to guide you through a safe and sober cycling season….for once.

While we were nearly bored to tears on a virtual ride around the Catalan portion of Spain two weeks ago, things picked up over the last weekend when Bob Roll made an appearance commenting on a little race around Corisica…ah Bob, you do know how to pick ’em. Along with Bob was the Universal Sports broadcaster, Steve Schlanger…not out favorite so far, wish he wouldn’t just recite names of racers over and over, but since last year he does seem to have thought up other things to say. We still pine for Phil and Paul. That would be Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, the exemplars of cycling commentating in English though we hear a rumor than there’s some old guy in France who makes bike races sound like poetry– unless our French skills improve, we’re never going to be able to judge that first hand.

Most recently we were treated to our favorite, Mark Cavendish, the ‘fastest man on the planet’ winning a stage of the Three Days of Panne, and no that doesn’t mean three days of eating bread. Peter Sagan won the first stage and then went home before the last day. We’re here to propose that this be illegal. If you’re not sick or injured you should finished the f-ing race, ok? And as an aside, come on you surly Americans, keep your fingers around your handlebars and out of peoples faces. Bad tempered behavior is at least dangerous and not fun to watch. And why is it always Americans? I’m still disgusted with Teejay Van Garderen throwing his bike in the gully at the Colorado race two years ago, even his girlfriend could tell that was wrong.

And speaking of Teejay, how many years is he planning to continue to try and get the ‘best young rider’ jersey? Isn’t he a little long in the spokes for that by now? Perhaps he qualifies by age technically but he has more riding experience and better prospects than most of the rest of the field. Give someone else a chance. Oh, and don’t throw your bike.

Other bike tossers we love to hate, Alberto Contador without performance aids will be human like everyone else and might even become likeable. It’s clear the entire field has been tossed in the air and come down wearing different team jerseys. Everyone riding now knows George Hincapi’s secrets to winning….can you spell TRAIN? So what will be the key to sprint finishes this year? Impossible to tell but I hope Cav has some ideas.

We’re sad to see televised coverage of the European races falling off as a result of the merger between NBCSports (used to be Versus) and Universal. We LOVE Phil and Paul, and Bob, and we’d like to see more of Robbie McEwan in the box. We’re warming up to Steve and Todd but their shows really suffer from a lack of on the ground interviews. It’s not enough to know that Todd got to talk with someone on the phone.

Next up, we’ll blog ‘live’* from the living room while we watch recordings of Tour of the Basque country, famous for their spectators who walk around with boxes of tacks in their pockets.

*remember the good old days when ‘live’ really meant ‘live’? No? Well, I’m older than you then.