Lance Fever

I’ll admit it. I’ve caught the bug. Le Tour de France bug that is. My wife has been into cycling for years, even competing in triathlons. And now, I’m finally addicted, soaking up all the details on Lance Armstrong’s bid to win 6 straight.

I don’t even have a bike. Well, I have a mountain bike–but I might as well be pedaling with cinder blocks dragging behind. And even the knobby-tired beast hasn’t seen the top of the basement stairs yet this year.

Next year. I’ll get a real bike. One with curvy handlebars and pedals that you can only use with special shoes. I’ll wear lycra from head to toe, and I’ll carry liquid protein in a pack that sits on my lower back while I power through miles of self-propelled movement. I went straight from BMX to Mountain, skipping the lighter, faster Road bike all these years.

Last year, and now this year, watching Lance in amazement–hearing the commentators refer to cyclists going on an “attack” (I love this… attacking on a bike!)–the strategy and preparation that’s involved to win a bicycle race is fascinating. And I’m beginning to realize that part of the fascination with the Tour (cool people call it this), is the time difference here in the states. Wondering whether you’ll catch a live stage, a wrap-up or just read about it online. The damn thing is so long. There is endless coverage, but yet it’s not always that easy to know exactly what’s happening or who’s winning right now.

Yes, next year I’ll get a real bike.

Update: Lance has won, and as suggested in the comments–next year is too far away. A road bike has been purchased. More on this to come.

50 Comments

  1. soxiam says:

    Welcome to the family.
    What took you so long?

  2. Mark says:

    I’m excited for Lance even more than you are, but don’t knock mountain biking. Road riding can be fun but the thrill of a 50 mph downhill over crevices and logs, or the grueling uphills where you have to stop and jump up over rocks just can’t be matched on the road.
    Get that MTB of yours to a shop for a tuneup and hit a trail or two before you think about getting rid of it.

  3. Martin Lundberg says:

    Yea, taking the bike out is great, when it’s good enough weather. We’ve had like 5 days without rain here in sweden this far. The summer is raining away.
    Going 50 mph downhill sounds a bit dangerous though =P I think it’s fun enough to just go slow and consentrate on getting myself down without falling and breaking my neck =P
    Well, good luck on sucking everything in about the Tour =P

  4. Mike P. says:

    I’m with sox; welcome to the family!
    (p.s. ask your wife if she knows to what fiftyfoureleven refers; it’s cycling related, and no I don’t have em!)

  5. Robin Martin says:

    Another Tour junkie here…
    I followed the race pretty closely last year to see if Lance would get #5, and now that I’ve taken up mountain biking I’m watching it even closer to see him get #6. The conditioning and strategy employed by these athletes is amazing on its own, but the fact that Lance consistently destroys them is simply mind-boggling.
    The cancer awareness Armstrong has achieved is amazing, too – the yellow “live strong” bracelets are brilliant marketing and a fantastic fundraiser. Yes, I have one, and if you call me trendy I’ll run you over with my big, knobby tires. ;)

  6. I’m a big fan of the tour as well. Me(18) and my mom(54) have been big road bikers for about five years now, starting on our own self-supported trips for a week. Moving to organized week long trips. I love it, riding in the open country and actually getting somewhere on the two wheels that youre propelling with your own muscles.
    I’ve got a mountain bike too, but I haven’t really touched it in years, mostly because there arent any really good Mountain biking areas where I live, so its mostly road/path biking with big knobs, which ofc isn’t nearly as fun.
    Goodluck on your endeavor, you’ll like it.

  7. Jerome says:

    Tour de France ? Right.
    Well, it’s amazing what Amstrong is about to achieve. But what’s bothering me, like in the actual Formula One championship, I’m still not sure if he owes all of his victories to his incredible talent and intelligence or to the lack of it in all his actual opponents…
    Anyway, maybe it’s because I’m french after all, I’m glad american people are looking in a good mood to something from France and even enjoy it.
    Do you actually know Amstrong is not the first american winner of this race ?

  8. Max says:

    Mmm, I love the Tour muchly. Pity it’ll all be over by weeks end.
    Mark, though riding 50 miles/hour over varied terrain is certainly intense, riding more than 70 miles/hour down a road is I’m sure just as exciting.
    I’m too afraid to do either … I like my skin.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Vive l’EPO ! :o)

  10. Benjamin says:

    $20 says you dont get a real bike next year Dan

  11. Vive l’EPO??
    This man has won the Tour 5 times and is going to win another one. You mean to say he uses EPO but has never been caught? Oh please. Lance is clean, there is no doubt.
    Everybody is in awe that this man will break the record. Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault and Indurain won it 5 times and he will win 6. But Lance only focused on the Tour. Merckx for example did everything: Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix (the thoughest 1 day races), the Vuelta (Tour of Spain), the Giro, and so on. I applaud Lance Armstrong for his victory over cancer and for all his victories in the Tour, but I sometimes mis the good old days when cyclists didn’t just participate in one contest, but in all of them, not afraid to lose some.

  12. Andreas says:

    Ullrich rules! ;-)

  13. Online live coverage of the Tour is available at CSC Cycling. Follow the “Tour de France LIVE” link in the menu.
    Coverage normally starts around 12 CET and is available both in Danish (that is what I will be using) and English.
    CSC is a Danish team but with a US sponsor, so I guess it is OK to post it here ;-)
    So no more worries about who is winning right now.
    Results and standings are available at BBC here: BBC Sport

  14. Rogier says:

    Dan, did you know, that Lance actually started out as a triathlete?
    And he still competes in duathlons etc. En even wins them :-)

  15. Andy says:

    I think the biggest thing about watching Armstrong is that you are aware of the historical importance of it all. Even if you aren’t that into cycling, what is happening on the Tour is something that your kids and their kids are going to be talking reverentially about for years.
    Without even talking about the whole cancer recovery, I find him utterly inspiring. Going through barriers of what a human body can achieve day after day is amazing stuff to watch.
    The point about his opposition isn’t fair – the times they are doing stand up to the best of previous years. Just not against Armstrong…

  16. Claus Jacobsen says:

    Danish here too! actually the official page is http://www.letour.com and is has live coverage too (not video though) And to all the EPO sceptics out there! maybe he has, but he is definately clean now the thing that makes him different from the rest is that his whole season is preparing for this one race. Everything before that is buildup, and after that is preparing for next year! There are no one else (pretty much) that has the luxury to do that, and therefore has the disadvantage of being “out of shape” at this time of the year. Tyler should have stayed with CSC, he would have been a strong contender, but the phonak guys doesn’t have what the CSC-team has. (teamspirit!)

  17. Steven Huey says:

    I’ve been following the tour with the help of these couple sites:
    NY Times (no reg required)
    TDF Blog
    The first link has some great flash animation and details about the stages, teams, and riders. The second has a RSS feed so I can keep up with the status during the day using NetNewsWire.
    - Steve

  18. Lar says:


    One with curvy handlebars and pedals that you can only use with special shoes. I’ll wear lycra from head to toe, and I’ll carry liquid protein in a pack that sits on my lower back while I power through miles of self-propelled movement

    I thought the same thing back in 1998 when the Tour de France came to Dublin, Ireland for a couple of stages.
    That was the year that a huge percentage of the cyclists were done for doping. The problem is so widespread in cycling that no one can blow the whistle for fear that the whole sport will collapse.
    The book “LA Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong” by award-winning Sunday Times journalist David Walsh and Pierre Ballester, a cycling specialist formerly with French sports daily L’Equipe, alleges he used banned drugs.

  19. lolly says:

    Nooo, road bikes aren’t any more real than mountain bikes! Taking a decent mtb down a good trail is one of the biggest buzzes there is, no question.
    That said, i’ve just returned from an amazing mountain bike holiday in the alps – get the lift up, then blat back down on world cup level tracks. Rock right on!

  20. melanie says:

    Yes, your wife is indeed an amazing woman….and who could forget that she ran AND completed the Boston Marathon…AMAZING!

  21. So Dan you’ve caught the bug? I see alot of it around this time of year, hangs around for about a month, then people seem to go back to normal.
    Except the ones who get a taste for the wind in their hair, the whirr of tyres on bitumen and the slinky feel of freshly shaved legs wrapped up in lycra. Mmmm.
    Don’t wait ’til next year to get a bike, sieze the day!

  22. pointybeard says:

    I’ve been watching the Tour since before Lance was winning it. I look forward to it each year. I’m an Aussie, but for some reason, i love watching Lance win. heh. Hes incredible. I hope he gets #6.
    My dad used to ride MTB’s competitively, as did I. Its a great sport. Should get bak into it, i spend too much time at my computer. ;)

  23. Keller says:

    If you want a really good read, get his first book. I read it last year around this time and I couldn’t put it down. Very inspiring and it offers alot of insight on what it takes to be a champion cycler and some of the things that go on during the races.

    It’s funny, I don’t really follow cycling so when I stared hearing he has 6 minites back I was thinking “This is awful, he’s going to finish like 50th.” I had no idea it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. ;-)

  24. Sean Scott says:

    Been hooked on the Tour since Greg Lemond’s was winning it… Lance is just super-human that’s all i have to say. The way he can crush the competition on the hardest most testing stages tells you of his determination. Those who throw allegations of doping are just sour their favorite team cyclist, can’t even come close to him.
    As for biking i recommend cross country. Sure downhill is fun but the cross countriers actually have to pedal uphill before they go downhill (no chairlift or bus to take you to the top).

  25. Thank you Dan. I love bikes and I love you.

  26. I do web design and work as a bike mechanic…absolutely love both. Check out the Fixed Gear Gallery for some beautiful looking rides…

  27. ant says:

    It’s amazing isn’t it? Five times is amazing itself, but if he wins… SIX!! I can’t help but also marvel at what he does for cancer patients and survivors with the Lance Armstrong Foundation (www.laf.org).
    This guy rocks!

  28. Marcel van Lierop says:

    Hi there,
    Well, you might as well go for a REAL speed machine: buy a recumbent!
    http://www.challenge-ligfietsen.nl/
    Mars
    (nothing is impossible with a recumbent: http://www.marcelvanlierop.com/Rome)

  29. Kevin Tamura says:

    Watching Lance this year is like watching Lance circa 1999-2001. The team is the best UPS squad I have seen. IT amazing how the “blue train” is just crushing the competition. I thought Ulrich would have been more of a threat.
    Even better this year is seeing the young riders emerge. Volcker is tenatios. Basso it just damn good. I definitely feel there is a change in the guard soon.
    I feel bad for Tyler Hamilton. He’s just had two years of really bad luck.
    Dan if you’re serious about getting a road bike do it now don’t wait. Just remeber to stop at stop signs. I got pinched a month ago for running one.
    Cheers

  30. Ben says:

    Cool. What kind of Mtn bike do you have? When you get a “real” bike… …I’ll take your Mtn bike!
    Think of it as an incentive for you to buy that “real” bike…

  31. Go Lance, Go! BTW, you can watch the Tour live in the morning on Outdoor Life Network (OLN) (i.e. channel 81 in the San Francisco Bay Area, anyway).

  32. Hm, Lance did well today, I like the way he did it, pass Kloden just in the end. Finally he reminds me of Merckx (my fellow-countryman, yes I am proud). Finally he’s getting a bit greedy. I like it better this way, when he really shows he wants to win this thing in a decent way. It gives a touch of class,
    Anyway, I think all webdesigners should cycle. It gives transpiration, inspiration, aspiration … Yeah. Fabulous.

  33. jk says:

    as for myself:
    Ullrich rules!
    as Andreas already said… :)

  34. Mikhail Bozgounov says:

    Biking is great! As soon as found it (it was in January 2003), I became addicted to it. Since then I do not use anymore almost no other transportation vehicles:) I make approx 300-500 km per month (which is not much, I confess… but that’s a start, anyway!) and feel much better than before. In summer and in winter, in sun and snow. Way of Life. That it is what it became, for me.
    As a significant part of our lives is spent in front of a monitor sitting on a chair, biking can be of real help not to loose condition and to find more energy from Space:)
    Dan, go fetch that mountain bike of yours, take it to the nearest bike shop for checking/oiling, then make your first 20 km… and you’ll find something which thousands of people have found already – this is one of the best ways to get from point A to point B and feel great at the same time! :)))
    Then post your impressions here! Don’t wait for next year – that’s too much time:)

  35. Luuc van Hagen says:

    Lance just being pissed because Klöden and Ullrich didn’t agree on letting Landis win the etappe… ok, then he’ll get it himself…
    It’s ok, he’s great, deserves it, and he’s arrogant. Not even being German, I like the humility Ullrich exposes. He’s honest, fair. Tries, loses, but such a nice guy.
    Oh, and that cute little frenchman, Voeckler, fighting for all he’s worth, just darn great.
    Yeah, ok, so it gets a little boring when there’s, from day one, control riding from US postal… deserved, I know, but personally, I’ll bless the day he won’t start in the tour.

  36. Kerry says:

    Dan,
    I agree with Mikhail. No more “next year”. We’re going road bike shopping this weekend! Although I wouldn’t completely write off the mtn. bike either….

  37. wookie says:

    Good man, the Tour is the only sporting event I watch and I follow it religiously every year – Euro 2004 meant nothing to me, neither did Wimbledon – I can’t understand why these events get more coverage that the tour on UK TV! At least Eurosport saves the day with full coverage of every stage. Fantastic!
    Lance is putting in an amazing effort, yesterdays time trial up L’Alpe D’Huez was a simply astounding performance – only 1 second short of the (sadly) late Marco Pantani’s record for the climb (although he did it at the end of a pretty tough stage rather than fresh from the bottom!) Bear in mind though, Armstrong just couldn’t put in these kind of performances without having such a great team behind him. Azevedo put in a sterling performance the other day and the whole team have been really driving the pace pretty hard this past week, dropping a lot of riders off the back on the mountain ascents. Sure he’d still be up there with the leading contenders, but the USP team is so strong in the mountains he can stay relatively fresh until he wants to attack which gives him a great advantage. The only other team that have worked that well this year have been Brioches La Boulangere who have done really well, and Thomas Voekler has to be the man of the tour – just hope he can hang on to the best young rider jersey till Paris.
    I doubt Armstrong uses performance enhancing drugs, although I have an open mind – He wouldn’t be the first top-flight golden boy to fall from grace like that. I had no idea Robert Millar would be a user either. Also, Greg Lemond, 3 times winner of the tour and fellow American has openly said several times he’s not sure Armstrong is clean…
    Mike P. – The only thing I can think ‘FiftyFourEleven’ refers to is a gear ratio – a fifty four tooth chain ring on the front, and an 11 sprocket on the back – this would be the tougest gear to turn on many setups, although you can get larger chainrings if you’re a masochist! :o)

  38. Mikhail Bozgounov says:

    Hi, Kerry, hi, Dan!
    This is a really good idea – and the weekend is only one day away:) I have a request, an idea, rather – Dan, make a post after your first 20 km – and tell us, isn’t it really a very amazing feeling!
    BTW, if you knew, on how low quality machine I made my 6000 km from Jan’2003 till now (finance reasons only, uunfortunately…), you would be ashamed of ‘putting away’ your mountainbike! :))) You would probably buy a second one and make mountain tours… I would be most happy having a mountainbike, that I could use in my everyday rides…. alas! This won’t be possible, well, at least, until the moment I can afford one more credit from the bank ;-)
    Good luck and… don’t forget the ’20 km-post’ on Monday! ;-)

  39. ~bc says:

    Dan, couple things from a Boston area rider. First, I concur, don’t wait till next year, there’s months of good riding left road or off. I wouldn’t toss the mtb, you’re in a really good local for off-road riding. check out our awesome local non-prof off-road group: nemba.org. (BTW, they could use some webdesign help IMO, drop me a line if you’d like to collab!) MassBike is also a good site.
    Second, let’s love Lance, but let’s not forget our local boy Tyler Hamilton! 4th place last year after riding nearly the whole thing w/ a broken collarbone! Amazing in his own right.
    Third, it’s OK to have both a road and mountain. There’s tons of good shops in our area, including one of the nicest and largest in the country, wheelworks.com (relatively nice site, for a bike shop, huge selection, big sale in a week or two) where I got my new LeMond a few months back. I’ve been cycling to work 80% of the time for the last few months (DNC traffic doesn’t scare me!) since, and I’m so psyched I got back into it. My first (real) road bike. And soon I will get a new mtb (for me and my other half, about to be introduced to cycling) so I can get into that again. I’ve never experienced something that give so much physical pain, and so much mental pleasure. :-) (Lastly, a shout out to all the Danes from a Danish-American)

  40. MichaelD says:

    Just a thought: you already have a yellow and green version of your mast head / header / whatever it’s called.
    Maybe you should include a “white” and a “white-with-large-red-spots” version as well.
    (How do you call that jersey anyway?)
    That way, your collection would be complete.. ;-)

  41. John Peters says:

    The live coverage at cyclingnews.com is the best. Both humorous and informative. I have spent the last two weeks hitting F5 during the last hour of each stage.

  42. ~bc again says:

    (How do you call that jersey anyway?)
    The Polka-Dot jersey.

  43. ~bc says:

    Cool. Let’s see what you got. I’ll show you mine…

  44. Andy Budd says:

    Rather than neon lycra, why not deck yourself out in something altogether more fashionable.
    Like the gear one of our recent clients, rapha sell.

  45. Sean Scott says:

    Six baby… At this pace he could probably get to 8 easily…
    Congrats Lance…

  46. Scott says:

    Great, now that the OLN coverage is over I’m going through withdrawals. I’m going to have to order some of the DVD’s covering past races to get my fix.

  47. nuer says:

    Peter De Bouvere> Mouaaaawaaaawaaa, Lance is clean what a big joke ! Please come back to Earth, if he’s clean I’m a cow. Ok he doesnt take EPO, because EPO is an old drug now. He surely take a new drug which cant be detected by blood/urine tests. This guy just wanted to win 6 tour, and he put all chances in his side like new materials for clothes, bike and sadly new drugs.
    Win only win … But all cycling fans knows it’s not enough to make a really good cyclist.

  48. Jim says:

    Dan if youre serious about getting a road bike do it now don’t wait. Just remeber to stop at stop signs. I got pinched a month ago for running one.

  49. Taco John says:

    All the cycling fanatics here should take a pilgramage to Bloomington, IN. for the Indiana University Little 500. One of the most presitigous amatuer cycling events in American, not to mention possibly the biggest and most presitious intramural event at any American college.
    Quote from Lance himself:
    “I’ve been to Super Bowls and Monaco Grand Prixes, but the coolest event I’ve ever attended was the Little 500. Every sports fan should see it live.”

  50. Andy says:

    I agree that it will be amazing to see Lance go for a 7th. Even better if it’s a nail-biter!
    And, of course, the best place to watch it is on your bike and to be in it…Last year, I went on a TDF trip in the Alps with Dude Girl (for boys and girls) and had an incredible time. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to feel the excitement and to understand what it might take for someone to win this!
    Dude Girl Tour de France Cycling and Bulgaria Mountain Biking Trips