When it comes to a sports event of a global magnitude is there anything bigger than world cup soccer?
And if you had to say what might come in second place in popularity, isn’t there a fair to middling chance that it would be the exciting, albeit headline-grabbing and sometimes performance-drug enhanced sport of world class bicycle racing?
Now I have some friends who would differ with me and put their vote on watching America’s Big 3–no, not the Used To Be Big 3 Auto Industry–the Big 3 of American Sports, namely, football (the American version with the pointy ball), baseball (which sometimes seems to flow with about as much animation as grass growing), or basketball (in which international players have become a big deal).
Well, as the above the fold headline news recently reported, this is your advance notification of a big, international sporting event coming to the state capital of California, right in downtown Sacramento on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2009.
No, as much as I truly wish it were so, it’s not world cup soccer (although I am going to Spain in ’09 with the hope of finally seeing my first world cup soccer match).
What is coming is our third visit by the nascent Tour of California bike race.
And for the first time, the prologue–or opening stage–will be right here in the front yard of Arnold Schwarzenegger (who actually handed out the awards on Year One, while he was on crutches).
The first stage will be a thrilling, high-speed time trial over a 2.4-mile course along downtown city streets.
The ubiquitous they are anticipating upwards of 100,000 people just for this, the first day of the eight-stage race that ends in Southern California.
The big draw for this event is certainly multi-faceted.
The wannabe bike racers will come out to get a glimpse of their cycling heroes on their über-expensive, ultra-lightweight composite race bikes.
The local businesses are looking towards their share of the hoped-for $8 million infusion into the local economy.
There will be a huge number of people just to see the legendary, seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong (who apparently raced with only one testicle which is rumored to have benefited him with reduced wind resistance).
Armstrong has announced his intention–at the near-grandpa age of bike racing at 37–to once again battle the crazily dressed, people-clogged mountains of next year’s Tour de France.
But there is another eager audience, who, based on the high number of hits I got on one particular post of mine, which is probably in the male category, and likely 15 to 50 age range.
This group very well may have the least interest of any of the above in watching the skin-tight, Lycra-clad male bike racers as they circle the state capitol.
Oh, make no mistake about it, they will be there to see skin-tight clothing, but for them it will hopefully be worn by beautiful models representing one particular bike racing sponsor, that being Rock Racing. The high-fashion designer-sponsor of that team, Michael Ball, travels with a bevy of beauties all wearing the official company color of sexy black.
After the bike race last year I wrote a story for this site that mentioned that one particular team and which included a couple of pictures, one of them of being a candid shot of Michael Ball standing behind one of the models.
All you will see of Ball are his two hands in a place that would get me divorced with prejudice right there on the spot.
Now, I would like to think that many of the over thirteen hundred hits on that particular post were there to read every word of my outstanding journalistic reporting, but then again, maybe not.
Do you think the Governator noticed them, too?