H-E-L-L Ohhhhh

11.10 Bicycle Hell (from "Puck")
Source: Library of Congress
Format: RGB tiffAGMA’s going to hell.

I’ve made that declaration in the past, but now I’m sure of it…

All thanks to that once a year sporting event that to me, is like catnip to a cat. Like an empty New Jersey public beach to Chris Christie on the 4th of July. Like a Mar a Lago chocolate cake to tRump.

In other words…totally irresistible no matter how fat you are.

I’m speaking, of course, of my totally inexplicable obsession with men’s elite cycling, espeically the Tour de France.

This year, AGMA has three TdF fantasy teams. I spent hours pouring over rider data on procyclingstats.com.

I agonized over whether I should have more GC riders than sprinters. Or more sprinters than punchy Classics riders. Or visa versa? Should I have a time trial specialist? Should I look for a ‘dark horse’ rider to emerge out of the peloton to do great things?

It was harrowing.

But the real trouble started when I shelled out $39.99 for NBC Sports Gold Cycling coverage. Live streaming coverage to your phone, laptop or tablet, unlimited replays, special features and over 30 hours of extra coverage. And the live streaming includes both commercial free coverage with some Thunder from Down Under commentators or the NBCSN coverage with commercials.

“Why would anybody choose the streaming coverage with commercials over commercial free?”, you ask?

Oh dear ones, you have so much to learn…

Because TdF announcing royalty, the Harry Caray and Vin Scully of cycling, Phil Liggett (73) and Paul Sherwen (61) are announcing on NBCSN. They do the commercial world wide English language coverage (except in Australia I guess) and are cycling announcing icons.

Plus you get to hear the NBC team of Bobke Roll, Christian Vande Velde, Steve Porino, Steve Schlanger and, my favorite retired cyclist of all time, Jens Voigt.

Be still my heart.

Numerous times in the past several weeks, AGMA’s had my cell phone propped up on the outside of our glass shower enclosure while the bluetooth speaker blasts Phil and Paul (and all of the commercials.)  I did this today as a matter of fact. God forbid I miss any of the action while I’m showering.

But this is a huge improvement over past years when I tried to shower and get ready in the morning during the commercial breaks.

We’ve never, ever had a TV in our bedroom so I would have to run up and down the stairs during the commercials. Round about 4 days into the race, AGMA moved my toiletries and hairdryer down to our 1st floor powder room so I could finish getting ready within ear shot of the race call.

But no more.

AGMA’s free to go where I want to do what I want and not miss a minute of the action as long as I have my phone.  I love technology!

I had a MRI scheduled a few weeks ago. I checked in, then settled into a comfy seat in the waiting room with my phone and earbuds. Based on past experience, I thought I had a good 20 minute wait at least before they called me back.  They called AGMA back 5 minutes later.

Seriously?

But the worst, and the reason I’m pretty sure I’m doomed, is that I’ve been watching the Tour in church. During mass.

H-E-L-L

I have my muted phone on the bench beside me sort of covered up with my sweater. But I only glance over a few times to see where things stand. As I told a friend, “I only watch during the Psalm singing and the offering hymn. Nothing’s really happening then anyway.” He burst out laughing.

H-E-L-L

But as Luther Ingram sang, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” And I DO love my boys in spandex!

Sadly, my fantasy teams are not doing well. A combination of riders dropping out of the Tour for various reasons and just plain stupid team selections have got me in the middle of the pack in most of my leagues. Not bad, but not the top 5% finish AGMA had last year in the Velogames league.

First world problem.

Stage 16 went off today. Australian Michael “Bling” Matthews won with a brilliant Team Sunweb plan and fabulous team support. He’s also very close to taking the Green Jersey away from German Marcel Kittel.

I can hear you now.

ZZZZzzzz….

But, mercifully for you, it’s all over soon.

Sunday is Stage 21. They finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris. It’ll be so exciting! It always is.

Then Monday. Monday. Monday starts PTDFM (post-Tour de France malaise)

Back to the present. Back to the news. Back to reality.

And back down the rabbit hole with the Family Von Trump.

H-E-L-L

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.

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.