I was in a bit of a hurry during this morning's Cyclologic group ride. I wanted to get back so I could see as much of the race as possible. What race?
You know what race.
The Tour de France, of course! That's right... It's Tour de France time again! We have three incredible weeks of racing ahead of us, and for the first time in years, the fight for yellow looks wide open. There is a Team Sky rider in yellow... and it's not Chris Froome. Nairo Quintana lost his most powerful ally in a horrific crash, but turned in one of his most impressive time trials to date. Contador, Aru, Porte and the rest of the contenders kept their tinder dry, despite the pouring rain... AND IT IS ONLY DAY ONE!
But back to this morning...
When we got back to the shop, I immediately pulled up the live feed for the last half of the TT. We all gathered around, drank coffee, ate croissants and French cheese, and watched in real time, as the riders battled the clock, half way around the world.
We've come a long, long way.
I grew up in a very small town a very long way from anywhere. As a kid, I had a consuming fascination with all things Le Tour. It was a frustrating obsession. We were very isolated from the rest of the world. For a long time, there were only three TV stations (none of which covered the race), one country/oldies radio station, and a small local paper. I usually wouldn't even know who won the race until months after it ended. There was no internet. I had to wait for the next time my family and I would travel six hours to the closest B Dalton bookstore. I would sprint to the magazine rack and look for the latest issue of VeloNews.
I'd sit down on the floor, and read it cover to cover while my family shopped.
I'd read it again during the long ride home. I remember the ink smearing onto my fingers.
I kept those magazines in stacks in the corner of my room, and would reread them constantly. My favorites were the ones that had Hinault or Roche on the cover. I'd carefully cut the covers off and thumbtack them to my closet door.
If I'm not watching it live, I get live updates on my phone. I know who won at the exact same moment that the winner's themselves do.
Is it better now?
Of course it is. Absolutely.
I'll never be able to recreate that feeling.
The feeling of weeks and months of anticipation finally being fulfilled.
Viva Le Tour.
PS- There's another big difference I forgot to mention. Back then, I rode a yellow, Huffy BMX bike that easily weighed 30 pounds or more.
Now? I've upgraded just a bit.