TEST, TEST. Time to brush the dust off The Tour de France for the Rest of Us. "Check, check. Hello, hello? Is this microphone on? Can you hear me now?"
CATCHING UP. Lots to catch up on in the coming days and weeks leading up to the 2008 Tour de France. I'll be coming up to speed steadily. Check back frequently for current 2008 TdF info, team and rider situations, fresh links, and an early take on "the contenders"...like Australian Cadel Evans.
SETTING THE TABLE. As is the custom, the world of professional road cycling is a whirlwind of upheaval and intrigue, though I can sense it settling down somewhat. But the stretch from September 2007 through May 2008 deserves a good summary/briefing in order to appreciate the Tour team and rider participation. The leading line will be that Alberto Contador, last year's Tour de France Champion, will not be in this year's Tour (barring last-minute changes). I'll have that post in a few days.
TECH STUFF. I'll also offer whatever tech/equipment and/or rules changes that may impact the Tour and its outcome. I'll include a doping update. That will be an upcoming post.
POSTING FROM WEST VIRGINIA. I am living in Indianapolis, but will be posting TdF for the Rest of Us from deep in the hills of West Virginia from July 10 to20, as I will be participating in a camp near Grafton during the heart of the Tour de France. Not sure yet what my Internet and cable TV access will be. We'll see. I will find a way to follow the Tour! I plan to take my road and mountain bikes with me to West Virginia--a great training ground for mountain racing and riding. Lance refers to training there in It's Not About the Bike.
TOUR PREP VIA DVD. Nothing can get your Tour de France blood pumping like watching a DVD or video of a past Tour. These are readily available at libraries. Lots of clips are online at various cycling sites, too. I like to watch a couple of bike racing movies before the Tour. I'll watch Breaking Away (for the love of Indiana!)...again. I found a wonderfully fun, low-budget movie titled "The Tour Baby!" a few years ago. An avid fan takes a video camera and goes behind the scenes of the Tour de France (maybe in 2002?) and gets great insights and interviews with the great ones. It's fun to watch.
GET ON YOUR BIKE! So, check back. Every year the Tour de France produces more drama and achievement than expected. There will be great feats and heart-crushing defeats. It may even inspire you to get on you bike and ride! So, why aren't you riding your bike for all it's worth?
Photo: That's me in 2007, lifting my Cannondale touring bike at India Gate in New Delhi after a 2,000-mile ride through the heart of India. We started at the southern tip of India and rode north to New Delhi. Someday, perhaps, there will be a Tour de India! I blogged the 6-week trek at http://bicycleindia2007.blogspot.com. Lots of photos and local info.