Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Take Back the Tour, and Take My USAC License

If I could afford digital cable, this would be particularly good news:

Tour de France advertisers are coming back to Versus--but not without some concern.
Gavin Harvey, president of sports cable network Versus, says many advertisers are returning from a year ago, including Hampton Hotels, Saab Motors, Anheuser-Busch and bike manufacturer Cervelo. Some new advertisers include Exxon and Nestle's Power Bar.
For the last several seasons, the Tour de France--the world's biggest bike race--has been hit with a series of drug scandals that have banished top riders from the event before and during the event.
"Our advertisers just wanted information," said Harvey, in talking about TV advertisers' reaction to the scandals. "We told them the ASO (Amaury Sports Organization, owner of the Tour de France) was doing everything necessary."
Versus isn't shying away from the drug controversy. It started up a new marketing campaign called "Take Back the Tour." In one spot, which shows slow-motion video of a long climber through a crowd of fans, the copy on the screen says plainly: "Screw the dopers, the politics, the critics. They ripped the soul out of this race. We're masochists, believers, and it's our time. Take Back the Tour."
Says Harvey: "We are reflecting the anger and passion of our viewers. It can be real good rallying cry."

For the full story, click here.

It's good to know that enthusiasm about bike racing remains strong somewhere, because it doesn't remain strong within me at the moment.
It's pretty clear that I don't have the time or the inclination to devote to the training I'd need to do to compete at my current level. There are so many distractions at the moment that it feels too good to get on a bike right now and just ride to escape the mounting stresses of real life. And with the short- and long-term future of my livelihood in peril, I don't have the money to blow on race fees.
The good news I got today -- my brother's chemo seems to have beaten back his cancer and gotten him back up to a 25-percent chance of survival -- was offset by gloom and paranoia at work and throughout my industry. Revenues keep plummeting, and one in every five of my co-workers will probably be out of work within a year. Those who survive will be working in what is shaping up to be a dismal work environment.
It's just not worth it -- right now anyway -- to suck the relaxation, the de-stressing and the joy out of riding my bike by turning every other ride into a protracted sufferfest. Yet that would be the only way to whip myself back into the shape to contend.
So I'm acknowledging what has become obvious: My racing season is pretty much over. I'll still do Westlake every couple-few weeks, and maybe a couple others. But all those races I'd written in red on the calendar for July and August are getting crossed off.
It's time to put some Zen back into riding.

- JN

1 comment:

Feel It: The Factory Rider said...

Hope your brother gets better!