Fixing the Tour de France

Never settle it with a time trial. Well, unless you’re willing to tweak it.

Brilliant job drawing me in with three straight weeks of intense racing, minimal discussion of drugs (I’m choosing to ignore the race speeds), relentless climbs, beautiful scenery, whacked out fans, attacks, and the emergence of several exciting young riders including one from Big Sky country.

Like watching the fourth quarter of an NBA game, my normal routine was to forward the Tivo to the final 20k after an early morning run or swim.

Finally a Tour with some suspense.

Then deciding it with a 42k Time Trial?! After three weeks of watching guys throw down against the elements, the geography, and one another, let’s all stare at our wrist watches. Boring. As. Hell.

Without a rider like me out there as a frame of reference (“Byrnes is 9 minutes down at the first time check”), it’s impossible to appreciate how fast they’re going. And because they race individually, it’s like watching 19 separate Kentucky Derbies. Or 12 separate 100 meter Olympic runs. I know, what if in London we have Phelps swim, and then Lochte a few hours later?! Or at the next heavy weight fight, why don’t we just measure the respective force of each combatants’ punches (against a bag) and then tally up the results. Riveting stuff.

Easy to fix and happy to help.

Instead of sending Andy Schleck three minutes after Cadel Evans, send him 57 seconds before him (his advantage at the start of the stage). That way there’s the potential to see Cadel gradually close the gap, or in actuality, not so gradually. Imagine how cool it would have been to see Cadel reel Andy in within the first third or half of the ride. I would have loved seeing him let Andy dangle, dangle, dangle, until deciding now is the time to CRUSH him.

Even better. As Cadel closes in, Phil and Paul go completely silent as the theme from Jaws starts playing softly, then progressively louder. At the same time, all the fans lining the course make the universal shark sign right before the pass.

The Universal Shark Sign

A plane ticket to France. A croissant. Schleck’s ashen face. Priceless.

Or like in baseball, let each racer pick their “pass song”. Again, 30 seconds before the pass P&P go silent and the tune slowly builds to full force. I’ve thought long and hard about my “pass song” and I’m going with Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown. . . Look at Me Now.

The toughest sporting event in the world desperately needs a grittier, more dramatic ending.

And yes, Monday will be more tolerable thanks to my 2011 RAMROP (Ride Around Mount Ranier In One Piece) report.

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