So what else are we looking forward to in 2011? Well, how about another season of bike races. We love to ride and race, but we also love watching other riders give it their all in 2-wheeled combat. It could be the local Cat 4 cyclocross race (where you never know what will happen) or a hotly contested elite criterium… we’re just cycling fans through and through! There’s something about the noise of a passing peleton: the whoosh of spinning spokes, the whirring chains, the snap of a gear change before the final sprint, and the kaleidoscopic array of jerseys and bikes.
But we’ve got to admit, our favorite cycling spectating is watching the sport at its highest professional level. You’d be amazed at how popular the break room in our office becomes at the end of a Grand Tour stage! Yes, we know that our sport has been known for its fair share of disappointing doping scandals, but the cheats are getting caught and we still love to watch some of the world’s greatest athletes racing in amazing scenery that can’t be topped by any sport! Plus it also gives us an excuse to check out their drool-worthy gear.
Pro cycling has a little something for everyone: the solo breakaway, the mad dash of the bunch sprint, the mano-a-mano mountain-climbing duels, the pure efficiency of the time trial, and the epic scope and controlled chaos of the Grand Tour. Just the sheer logistical madness of contesting an equipment-heavy professional sport across hundreds of kilometers of roads is impressive in its own right.
Of course if you want to get the full experience of a major race (including the pre-race caravan, the crowds, the team cars, and the TV helicopters), you really need to see one in person. And if you can only see one race in person this year, we can personally recommend going to see the Tour de France. Where else can you get so close to pro athletes without paying any admission fee, plus the very next day you can grab your bike and try out the same roads for yourself, to see how superhuman their exploits really were!
So we’re ready for a new year of pro bike racing (the Tour Down Under starts only a few days from now)! Bring on the Classics of Paris Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege; the Grand Tours of the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France… we’ll be watching all the way to the Giro di Lombardia late in the fall (and there’s always cyclocross in the winter). We’ll even get a few major international races here in the US this year with the Tour of California and the new Quiznos Pro Challenge.
Forget what happened in pro racing last year? Check out this really thorough year in review video (just be prepared for some dramatic musical selections):
And if you ever want to know when any race (at just about every level of the sport) is scheduled to take place, then you definitely need to bookmark the VeloNews race calendar.