Well, the day has finally come when I have the urge to stand around and watch bicycling rather than do it. That day will be February 21 when Stage No. 7 of the nine-day, 750-mile 2009 Amgen Tour of California (Feb. 14-22) comes to town. Starting out in Santa Clarita the finish line will be 89 miles away at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
What’s the big deal? Granted you have to be something of a cycling geek to get overly excited about it, but even if you aren’t and the sport doesn’t draw much interest from you, this year’s Amgen Tour promises to be an unparalleled milestone event in the history of United States of Americyling in large part because it’s fielded the most talented group of pro cyclists pretty much ever assembled in this country. Not “arguably,” not “one of the…” The. Best. Ever. Evereverever!
And that’s not just me geeking the hell out. I’m talking the world’s top racers: Leipheimer! Basso! Cancellera! Landis! Hincapie! Boonen! Freire! Vande Velde! Cavendish! Shleck!
OK, so some of those names don’t mean much to me either, but here’s one you’re gonna recognize: Lance. As in Armstrong. As in the seven-time champion of the Tour de France who’s come out of retirement and is getting set to go back to see if he can win it an eighth time. For him, the road to that prize goes through California.
So after years of watching tape delays of Armstrong thousands of miles away, the thought of seeing the world’s greatest cyclist in action cranking by me is more than enough to get me out of the saddle to watch him on his. Hell, I even submitted a volunteer application to help with course control!
I know, I know: GEEK!