Batsh*t one last time

…in 2015 that is.

I know, I know.  I said I’d post my last Tour de France post before Sunday.  I meant to say by Sunday.  By midnight on Sunday.  In my time zone.  So I’ve got like over three hours to spare.

Tada!  Here it is!

Still crickets…

But OMG – I now totally understand why people do those fantasy league thingys! American football, soccer, basketball, baseball; I could never understand why these fantasy leagues are so popular.

Until now.

This year, AGMA decided to participate in the NBC Fantasy Cycling Challenge and is now O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D!   Notches up the enjoyment of watching like 100%.  I didn’t know that was even possible…   You “hire” 15 riders but get a total salary “budget” so you can’t just pick all the awesome riders.  Crap.  Now I’m angsting every night about my 9 rider “starting” line up.  It’s so much fun!

So I’m finding even more ways to love my beloved TdF.  Even more ways to be batsh*t crazy about it.  Lucky you.

Here’s my final post from last year.  I can here an audible sigh of relief from some of you.  Okay, most of you.

Thank you all for indulging AGMA this week!  I mean, if you can’t share your passion with your friends, who can you share it with?  Ya’ll are the best!

Batsh*t Crazy Part III (originally published 7/26/14)

archdetri

I don’t want to whine, but it’s lonely being a Tour de France fan.

Most people don’t understand why the hell you watch it. And they sure don’t want to hear about what happened on yesterday’s action packed stage that you are bursting to share with somebody. Anybody. Hello….

You end up talking to the barista at Starbucks or the checkout person at Target. They’re at work; they can’t walk away from you. Captive audiences. Maybe I should go to some cycling shops to “browse”. When one of the employees asks if they can help me, I can say, “How about the stage of the Tour yesterday? Crazy, right?”

Not just crazy. It’s batsh*t crazy.

So, the great thing about my trip to France last year was that I was surrounded by people with the same obsession. They know who the riders are and what teams they’re on. And what a GC rider and a peloton is. And, most important, they know that the English language television announcers of the Tour are like rock stars!

Yeah – rock stars.

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin are the Tour announcers who broadcast to all English speaking countries. Bob Roll, or “Bobke”, is a former American professional cyclist who augments – along with a couple of other guys – the broadcast for American audiences. All 37 of us.  R-O-C-K S-T-A-R-S.

I had my picture taken with all three. Now just let that it sink in.

It happened this way children… On that first fateful day of my TdF experience last year – Stage 17 in Chorges, France – remember, just when I though things could not get any better? They did. Both are long stories – blah, blah, blah. But I got to meet Bobke and Paul. This is a big deal and the 36 other people in the US who are cycling fans understand this.

These guys, along with all of the other media type folks and broadcast vans from all over the world, are behind an impenetrable fortress of chain link fencing at each stage finish. No credentials = no access. Without access, it’s hard to stalk…eh…talk to you’re favorite “rock star” announcers.

Honestly, it was dumb luck. It was being in the right place at the right time. Twice. It was being bold enough to holler “Hello!” Asking if they’d mind getting their picture taken with you. Granted, the pictures are with them on one side of the chain link fence and me on the other, but I’m getting the “shoulder touch” from both.

R-O-C-K S-T-A-R-S.

Our group went on to watch three other stages in the French Alps. I couldn’t even get close to the media area for me to try to stalk…eh…find Phil Liggett, the missing link in my triumvirate of cycling broadcast gods.

Then, quite unexpectedly, in Paris, the amazing city of lights, magic happened. Ah Paris!

Stage 21 of the 100th edition of the Tour de France. The cyclists were going to be coming into Paris at dusk. It was 90 degrees F at 9AM.

To kill time, I decided to walk down the entire Champs Elysees from the Arch d’Triumph to the Place de la Concorde. Wanted to “soak” up the TdF experience. It was hot, humid and crowded. I was soaking it up alright…

Almost at the end of my walk, by the media trucks and busses, BEFORE of the chain link fence was erected, I spied HIM. It was Phil out in the open – no credentials needed. He was a sitting duck! I walked up to him and babbled like a tweener meeting Davy Jones at a 1968 Monkees concert. Some nice bystander took a picture of us. Got the “shoulder touch” again. Yeah – that’s right. I needed a cigarette. I don’t smoke.

The fence eventually went up, the cyclists arrived, the Arch d’Triumph lit up, the awards given and it was over. It would have been a serious let down if I hadn’t stayed in Paris 10 more days… Ah Paris!

The 2014 Tour de France ends tomorrow. I’ve been watching it on TV. I’m in Atlanta.

Pass the Prozac please.

Guano loco parte II

Hello….   Anybody out there?

(crickets)

As expected, I’m a stranger in a strange land.  A voice crying out in the wilderness.  A Tour de France fan.

I told somebody who commented on my last post that I won’t extend the “torture” too long.  The other two promised (threatened?) posts will be catipulted into the blog-o-sphere in the sky by Sunday.  Next week, the AGMA you know and love, that crazy, wacky, post-menopausal imp will be back with her “normal” abby-normal musings.  My cycling maniac persona will go back into retirement.

At least until next year when, I’m sure, all hell will break lose and I’ll totally lose control. Again.

Batsh*t Crazy Part II (originally published on 7/16/2014)

KeepCalm
Yeah – I’m going to write about the Tour de France again. I warned you in my last blog post that you’d hear more about it. Sorry. But ya’ll know that even if you don’t like professional cycling or sports in general, there may be a few things to smile at below…

And I can use “ya’ll” because I live in Georgia.

Today is the first anniversary of a most momentous occasion in my life. One of THE most momentous occasions of my life. It ranks right up there with my wedding day, the birth of my two children and the time I got to see “Dancing With The Stars” live. But probably not in that order…

A year ago today, I stepped off a train in Grenoble, France. I had a bag full of American flags and custom t-shits, a digital camera full of pixels waiting to be pixelated, and visions of rotating road bike wheels and cyclists in spandex in my head. I was on a pilgrimage. I was excited beyond words. I was going to see the Tour de France!

My roommate during this adventure was a delightful 36 year old woman from Australia who didn’t mind rooming with a woman old enough to be her mother. Easily. Actually, there were quite a few Aussies in our tour group. Australians are wild and crazy cycling fans. They dress up in crazy hats and wave very large Australia flags. They have blow up kangaroos and blow up guitars. They like to drink beer before, during and after the race. Of course, I hung out with them instead of the Americans. Duh.

Before I left the USA, I had custom t-shirts made up to take with me. The first one cheered on the American cyclists. It had all their names listed on the front and on the back it said “Born in the USA”. The second one said “I (heart) le Tour de France 2013” on the front and “Please sign here” in French on the back. I had fellow travelers and strangers by the side of the road sign it as a keepsake. The third one, my favorite – see above – said “Keep Calm and Shut Up Legs” in honor of my cycling hero and huge cycling fan favorite, Jens Voigt. “Shut up legs” is his famous – amoung cycling fans – catch phrase. The back said “Jens Y’all”. Yeah…Georgia.

I wish I could say I was making this up, but sadly it’s all true. My name is Aging Gracefully My Ass, I have no life, and I’m a uber geek.

There are 21 Stages (cycling days) to the Tour. Our first big day watching the Tour live and in person was on Stage 17, a time trial stage. Normally, at the end of a “regular” racing stage, the cyclists go to a restricted area with their team buses that’s off-limits to the general public. General public like me. Bummer. But if you have lots and lots of money then it’s possible to get what they call “VIP Access”. No $$=no access. Bummer.

Without going into detail that’s boring – but it’s probably too late – under the right conditions, a time trial stage can give you unrestricted, uncensored access to these incredible world class athletes. It’s like hanging out with the German team right after the World Cup or chilling in the locker room with the winning team at the Super Bowl or being back stage during “Dancing With The Stars”. Like “you can see the glitter on their sequins” access. Serious.

We had the right conditions last year.

And that’s when this late middle age cycling fan’s dreams came true… I saw some of my very favorite elite professional cyclists up close and personal. Like “you could smell their sweat” up close and personal. Like “get an autograph and a hug” up close and personal. Like “have a conversation with Brent Bookwalter” up close and personal. At this point, my experience was getting close to exceeding that of my wedding, the birth of my children AND “Dancing With The Stars”.

Combined.

The scales tipped and I went over the edge of “best experience ever” when I met The Jensie (Jens Voigt’s nickname.) He signed my “Keep Calm and Shut Up Legs” t-shirt. While I was wearing it. I think he may be my “senior crush”. He was the oldest cyclist in the Tour last year at the ripe old age of 41. He’s the oldest cyclist in this year’s Tour. I’m old enough to be his mother. Okay – a very young mother but still… Does this make me a cougar?

Okay, this post is getting too long and there are still LOTS of good stories to tell. One more post maybe…? It’ll be the last, I promise.

Batsh*t Crazy Part III – coming soon to a WordPress blog near you!

Still batsh*t crazy after all these years

Okay – I’m free-handing this.  Normally I type my posts into Pages and edit the crap out of them before I post.

Not today.

Today, I’m a woman of few words.  Today, I’m honoring the start (this past Saturday) of the GREATEST SPORTING EVENT EVER in the history of the world.  Today, I’m reposting a series of posts (one at a time) from last year.   I’m not reposting because I’m lazy (maybe a little), but because I pretty much said it all last year and, as of Saturday, it’s seriously begging to be said again.

Join me.  Be part of AGMA’s strange and unlikely passion.  I need a cigarette…  Again.

Batsh*t Crazy (originally published on 7/7/2014)

crazyfans

Some people love professional football (American or the other kind), basketball, hockey and/or baseball.  Translation… love = go batsh*t crazy for.  They plunge into a deep and wide valley of depression when the season is over.  The Internet provides a critical, possibly life saving service to these diehard (translation… diehard = batsh*t crazy) fans.  They‘re able to connect with other like-minded (translation… like-minded = batsh*t crazy) fans via email, message boards and social media.  They can immerse themselves into an alternate reality, like a 14 year old with World of Warcraft, that appears to decrease the anxiety of the wait until the start of new season.  My husband is one of these types.  I’m thankful.  It keeps him off the streets.

Some people live for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the chance to relieve Warren Buffett of (say it like Dr. Evil) “one billion dollars” with their bracket selections. This year I got ten correct picks out of a possible sixty three.  Banner year for me.

Some people have been in a state of ultimate bliss since the World Cup started on June 12th.  The “every four year” type of event allows for forty seven months of depression and hysteria-building.  That’s pretty special.

I watched the USA vs. Belgium match last week at a very crowded, hot, stinky bar.  I’m on the wagon, was at least 15 years older than the next oldest person there, had to stand up the entire game crammed up against a very large sweaty man who was drunk, and the USA lost.  It pretty much sucked for me.  I did win $36 in an idiot proof random pool though.  That notched me up to being okay with it all…

Add Wimbledon (OMG) into the mix and some people out there have been chain smoking since Sunday they’re so positively orgasmic.

But honestly, none of the above can even remotely compare to the greatest sporting event in the entire universe which started last Saturday.  I see heads nodding out there in total agreement…

The Tour de France! Ta da!

(cue cricket sounds…)

No really – it is!  Everyday for three weeks in July, I’m glued to the TV set for 5 to 6 hours starting at 6:30 AM or so to be able to watch it live.  It’s way better when you watch it live.   Except for the commercials.   You get really tired of the same seven commercials after three weeks.

Of course I DVR the entire thing as well.  You never know when you might need to revisit a particularly interesting section of cobbles that caused three cyclists to brake their collar bones.  Or see moronic, idiotic fans get mowed down again while trying to take selfies in the middle of the road with their backs to 200 charging cyclists.  It’s all great fun!

My son’s to blame. He became interested in cycling as a hobby during the late 2000’s and was smitten. Instead of a daughter-in-law, I have three-bikes-in-law – road, time trial and mountain.  And two grandkittens.  I think that’s going to be it from him.

He started watching the Tour de France right before he took up cycling.  It inspired him.  I started watching it with him for a little “mother-son” bonding time.  But it all seemed a bit silly – grown men riding bikes trying to beat each other to Paris over three weeks. It would have taken them a lot less time to get there if they had taken a direct route, but they went all over kingdom come to finally end up in Paris.  What was up with that?  I did, however, love the breathtaking scenery on many of the stages and those fit young men in their little biking shorts.  Hey – I’m old, not dead!  Aging gracefully my ass…

Over the course of the next two years, I learned the real skinny about professional cycling.  The Tour de France (and other similar cycling races) is an athletic symphony blending world class talent, strength, skill, courage, daring, strategy, dedication and intelligence in the perfect song of sport.  I’m not biased.  Really.

Expect to hear more from me on this in the next three weeks.

Cycling = Best. Sport. Ever.

Yeah – I’m batsh*t crazy.

Batsh*t Crazy Part III

archdetri

I don’t want to whine, but it’s lonely being a Tour de France fan.

Most people don’t understand why the hell you watch it.  And they sure don’t want to hear about what happened on yesterday’s action packed stage that you are bursting to share with somebody. Anybody.  Hello….

You end up talking to the barista at Starbucks or the checkout person at Target.  They’re at work; they can’t walk away from you. Captive audiences.  Maybe I should go to some cycling shops to “browse”.  When one of the employees asks if they can help me, I can say, “How about the stage of the Tour yesterday?  Crazy, right?”

Not just crazy.  It’s batsh*t crazy.

So, the great thing about my trip to France last year was that I was surrounded by people with the same obsession.  They know who the riders are and what teams they’re on.  And what a GC rider and a peloton is.  And, most important, they know that the English language television announcers of the Tour are like rock stars!

Yeah – rock stars.

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin are the Tour announcers who broadcast to all English speaking countries.  Bob Roll, or “Bobke”, is a former American professional cyclist who augments – along with a couple of other guys – the broadcast for American audiences.  All 37 of us.  R-O-C-K S-T-A-R-S!

I had my picture taken with all three.  Now just let that it sink in.

It happened this way children…  On that first fateful day of my TdF experience last year – Stage 17 in Chorges, France – remember, just when I though things could not get any better?  They did.  Both are long stories – blah, blah, blah.  But I got to meet Bobke and Paul. This is a big deal and the 36 other people in the US who are cycling fans understand this.

These guys, along with all of the other media type folks and broadcast vans from all over the world, are behind an impenetrable fortress of chain link fencing at each stage finish.  No credentials = no access.  Without access, it’s hard to stalk…eh…talk to you’re favorite “rock star” announcers.

Honestly, it was dumb luck.  It was being in the right place at the right time.  Twice.  It was being bold enough to holler “Hello!” Asking if they’d mind getting their picture taken with you.  Granted, the pictures are with them on one side of the chain link fence and me on the other, but I’m getting the “shoulder touch” from both.    R-O-C-K S-T-A-R-S.

Our group went on to watch three other stages in the French Alps.  I couldn’t even get close to the media area for me to try to stalk…eh…find Phil Liggett, the missing link in my triumvirate of cycling broadcast gods.

Then, quite unexpectedly, in Paris, the amazing city of lights, magic happened. Ah Paris!

Stage 21 of the 100th edition of the Tour de France.  The cyclists were going to be coming into Paris at dusk.  It was 90 degrees F at 9AM.

To kill time, I decided to walk down the entire Champs Elysees from the Arch d’Triumph to the Place de la Concorde.  Wanted to “soak” up the TdF experience.  It was hot, humid and crowded.  I was soaking it up alright…

Almost at the end of my walk, by the media trucks and busses, BEFORE of the chain link fence was erected, I spied HIM.  It was Phil out in the open – no credentials needed.  He was a sitting duck! I walked up to him and babbled like a tweener meeting Davy Jones at a 1968 Monkees concert.   Some nice bystander took a picture of us.  Got the “shoulder touch” again.  Yeah – that’s right.  I needed a cigarette. I don’t smoke.

The fence eventually went up, the cyclists arrived, the Arch d’Triumph lit up, the awards given and it was over.  It would have been a serious let down if I hadn’t stayed in Paris 10 more days…  Ah Paris!

The 2014 Tour de France ends tomorrow.  I’ve been watching it on TV.  I’m in Atlanta.

Pass the Prozac please.

Batsh*t Crazy

crazyfans

Some people love professional football (American or the other kind), basketball, hockey and/or baseball.  Translation… love = go batsh*t crazy for.  They plunge into a deep and wide valley of depression when the season is over.  The Internet provides a critical, possibly life saving service to these diehard (translation… diehard = batsh*t crazy) fans.  They‘re able to connect with other like-minded (translation… like-minded = batsh*t crazy) fans via email, message boards and social media.  They can immerse themselves into an alternate reality, like a 14 year old with World of Warcraft, that appears to decrease the anxiety of the wait until the start of new season.  My husband is one of these types.  I’m thankful.  It keeps him off the streets.

Some people live for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the chance to relieve Warren Buffett of (say it like Dr. Evil) “one billion dollars” with their bracket selections.  This year I got ten correct picks out of a possible sixty three.  Banner year for me.

Some people have been in a state of ultimate bliss since the World Cup started on June 12th.  The “every four year” type of event allows for forty seven months of depression and hysteria-building.  That’s pretty special.

I watched the USA vs. Belgium match last week at a very crowded, hot, stinky bar.  I’m on the wagon, was at least 15 years older than the next oldest person there, had to stand up the entire game crammed up against a very large sweaty man who was drunk, and the USA lost.  It pretty much sucked for me.  I did win $36 in an idiot proof random pool though.  That notched me up to being okay with it all…

Add Wimbledon (OMG) into the mix and some people out there have been chain smoking since Sunday they’re so positively orgasmic.

But honestly, none of the above can even remotely compare to the greatest sporting event in the entire universe which started last Saturday.  I see heads nodding out there in total agreement…

The Tour de France! Ta da!

(cue cricket sounds…)

No really – it is!  Everyday for three weeks in July, I’m glued to the TV set for 5 to 6 hours starting at 6:30 AM or so to be able to watch it live.  It’s way better when you watch it live.   Except for the commercials.   You get really tired of the same seven commercials after three weeks.

Of course I DVR the entire thing as well.  You never know when you might need to revisit a particularly interesting section of cobbles that caused three cyclists to brake their collar bones.  Or see moronic, idiotic fans get mowed down again while trying to take selfies in the middle of the road with their backs to 200 charging cyclists.  It’s all great fun!

My son’s to blame. He became interested in cycling as a hobby during the late 2000’s and was smitten. Instead of a daughter-in-law, I have three-bikes-in-law – road, time trial and mountain.  And two grandkittens.  I think that’s going to be it from him.

He started watching the Tour de France right before he took up cycling.  It inspired him.  I started watching it with him for a little “mother-son” bonding time.  But it all seemed a bit silly – grown men riding bikes trying to beat each other to Paris over three weeks. It would have taken them a lot less time to get there if they had taken a direct route, but they went all over kingdom come to finally end up in Paris.  What was up with that?  I did, however, love the breathtaking scenery on many of the stages and those fit young men in their little biking shorts.  Hey – I’m old, not dead!  Aging gracefully my ass…

Over the course of the next two years, I learned the real skinny about professional cycling.  The Tour de France (and other similar cycling races) is an athletic symphony blending world class talent, strength, skill, courage, daring, strategy, dedication and intelligence in the perfect song of sport.  I’m not biased.  Really.

Expect to hear more from me on this in the next three weeks.

Cycling = Best. Sport. Ever.

Yeah – I’m batsh*t crazy.