KLAUS’ RACE REPORT
by Alps & Andes
The weekend that my wife and I moved into the house that we currently own the floor in the master bathroom collapsed, nearly sending the toilet crashing down into the garage (and our cars) below. Apparently, the house had been vacant for so long that a slow ongoing leak had rotted out the entire bathroom subfloor. All it took was me walking into the bathroom a few times for the whole thing to give way. And once that happened, I spent the following days trying to lift a toilet through pounds of soggy drywall and plywood (as sewage-y water fell on my head), while learning how to fix the damaged support beams and plumbing. During a Monday morning meeting at work after that weekend, I relayed the story as my way of explaining my exhaustion that morning. There was a brief pause, followed by the inevitable. “The joys of home ownership, huh?”, said the guy who was way too young to have an un-ironic mustache. His comment was followed by maddening laughs. It was then and there that I realized how much I detest Stock Phrases, ones that range from shallow to pseudo-ironic truisms. Things like “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity that gets you” (or its evil counterpart, preferred by those in the Southwest: “…it’s a dry heat”). Then there’s, “Location, location, location!!!!”, “Only in New York!”, along with the enviable sense of certainty that backs up statements like, “In this city there are two seasons: winter and construction”. They all make my blood boil in the most boilingy way possible.
Based on what I just told you, it should come as no surprise that listening to commentators at the Tour de France can be a maddening ordeal for me. Especially in the first week, when all you hear is how a rider “May not win the race during a first week like this, but he sure can lose it.” Of course that’s true. Just as it’s true that it IS in fact the humidity that gets you. Believe me, I lived in Miami for a while, I know. But that doesn’t make it okay to repeat phrases like that six thousand times. Which is why I hope no rider loses the Tour during this first week, and perhaps one may win it instead. Just to prove these idiots wrong.
Sure, Quintana lost time on stage 2, but he hasn’t lost the Tour as a result. He hung in with the main group on Stage 4 despite the cobbles, and the riders who had to retire due to crashes on Stage 3 were not really destined for GC greatness anyway. Okay, Thibaut Pinot’s mechanical might not have happened in a non-cobbled stage… but really it was his unwillingness to ride a bike from a rider one inch taller than him that cost him time on Stage 4. That could have happened anytime, anywhere.
Yes, there’s still a good bit of racing to be done in this first week, but all I can tell you is that I’ll be sitting here, praying to the Cycling Gods above that this most annoying of cycling truisms doesn’t come true this time around. And if it does, all I can say to any team owner out there who suffers as a result is… “Ah…the joys of cycling team ownership.”