Let’s Talk About the Tour de France 2012

I am a total Tour fangirl.

Ever since I was a teenager my family and I watched almost every stage of the Tour France and loved it.

I mean, when you think about it, it’s the most epic race/competition in the World. This year it lasts from June 30th to July 22nd—that’s 23 days! What’s even more amazing is that within those 23 days, there are 20 stages which means that they only have 3 rest days the entire time.

Check out the map from the official TDF site:

tour-de-france-route

These guys are literally biking over mountain ranges. That’s freakin’ insane! This year they will start off with a short time trial, move to mostly flat and “medium” mountain stages in the first week, and high mountains in the second and third weeks. There are some flat days interspersed with the high mountain stages, thank goodness. Two individual time trial days, where the riders race by themselves for the best time, come on Stage 9 and Stage 19 days.

And if these little tidbits haven’t convinced you of the sheer epicness of the tour, take a look at this video (mute your computer first, music NSFW…and bad).

Tour de France Crashes

 

Watching the Tour de France without Cable

I’m so excited, and you better believe there will be updates here about the event. But I have one problem: no cable! The tour will only be shown on NBC Sports. I’ve lamented about my lack of cable already in this post on the Olympic trials. However, this time for the first time two stages will shown on NBC proper: stages 7 & 8, which are crucial mountain stages in the event.

My options to watch the entire show are limited. I could buy a subscription for $29.99 from NBC Sports. I don’t think so. I will actually be home and on vacation for 16 out of the 20 stages so I’ll be able to watch most of it. For the days that I can’t watch I may rely on a mirror site instead. I will post here if I find a dependable one (edit: see the very end of this post).

Argh. The woes of being broke with no cable.

My Favorite Things about the Tour

Some people think that watching a bunch of guys bike is boring. On that point, I strongly beg to differ. You’re watching people pushing their physical abilities to the brink. That alone is awesome.

If you’re not into watching people men themselves, the beautiful scenery is there to distract you.tour-de-france-scenery1 tour-de-france-scenery2tour-de-france-scenery3 tour-de-france-scenery4 tour-de-france-scenery5Castles and mountains and flowers—oh my!

The Tour is incredibly inspiring to me. In 2009 it prompted me to join Map My Ride and do one of their biking challenges. I was in the best shape of my life after that. They have a cool tour challenge as well where you can bike along with the riders and win prizes.

The only negative aspect to the sport is the amount of controversy surrounding doping. Since the tour started in 1903, the cyclists have been doping. For the first 40 years of the sport it was accepted as necessary. In the 50s and 60s it was questioned and in 1965 was banned altogether after a death due to doping. The cyclists still found a way to dope most of the time, using drugs that the tests couldn’t detect. Even now, through all the controversy in the past 10 years (and winners losing their winning status and getting banned from the sport), bikers dope.

On one hand it sounds crazy, but on the other I can completely understand it. The race is nearly impossible without it. However, this article from Discover contends that the race is getting cleaner overall. It’s an interesting read.

Historically my favorites in the race (that are racing this year) have been Levi Leipheimer and Bradley Wiggins. We’ll see if that changes once the tour starts–it usually does. This year will be interesting because the Olympics start a week after the tour ends and some of these guys will be riding in both events.

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Anyway, Joey and I have a much needed and exciting date night planned tonight. I’ll report back tomorrow!

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