Thursday, July 14, 2005

Odd and Ends

Some semi related items today...

First, John Scalzi's By the Way today points to a really cool picture from the Tour de France in the New York Times. I've no idea how long NYT links stay good -- hopefully it will work at least for a few days.

Second, although I still disagree with him, yesterday Eric Zorn posted an update on his Tour criticism. It is too bad that many of his detractors had to be all nasty in their replies. Fortunately, some people were a little more reasonable. Eric quotes one of his e-mails:
Bill Hannahs-- As you suggested, the Tour de France did once try sending the riders out according to their position, but it was difficult to manage and the modern stage race has evolved to be a very stable and fair playing field. Please, don't be offended when I tell you I don't think you really understand the underlying dynamics of the event.

I think your criticism is much to be blamed on the television coverage because television does not convey the wonder and awe of the event. Dismissing the Tour without seeing it in person is like dismissing Moby Dick because you didn't like the movie.
I would love to see the tour in person. This next part particularly resonated with me, given my comments regarding the team aspects the other day:
Cycling is a team sport. But unlike football or baseball, it is also an individual sport. In this respect it more closely reflects real life which is a fabric of loose alliances and individual efforts. Alliances are made and dissolved on the spot.

It is not uncommon for strange alliances to form in the middle of a race or for teammates to betray their comrades. To try and remove the team aspect of the sport would be harder than removing it from football, because not only are there teams that wear the same jersey, but there are alliances that form between teams and amongst individuals and it is fascinating to watch.
Finally, I have to make one last remark. At the end of Eric's latest entry, he says this
I watched the news reports Tuesday night of Lance Armstrong, with apparent nonchalance, let Alejandro Valverde pass him in the last meters of the day’s heat because Armstrong knew he’d already regained the right to wear the yellow jersey. Maybe that’s the way it should be. But maybe not.
Perhaps he looked nonchalant, but I'm not so sure of that. Go take a listen to Day 11 of the Sirius radio Lance Armstrong Reports podcast. It suggests that Lance was giving all he had and just couldn't manage to "lose those guys."

Finally, not really related to either of the above, Laura got about 500 hits yesterday because of a New York Times article about New Jersey bloggers. Yes, I thought it was odd too. The article makes a mention of the Rascal Fair, which is a blog carnival for Montana bloggers. Since Laura's blog has a rather unusual name, I think it caught the attention of the author. The funny thing is, of course, that at the moment Laura is a Montanan in exile here in the Midwest.

Looking at my own referral logs, most of my visitors over the last 2 days have been from Laura's site, so apparently I'm picking up some of those hits as well. Amazingly, Laura started her blog in April, I started mine last November, and she is rapidly catching up to me in number of hits.

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