They were standing behind me chatting about the Tour de France. I wasn’t paying much attention. I had positioned myself on the top half of the killer climb at the circuit race in the Tour of Lawrence, Kansas. I was trying to get good shots of the ugly faces of the riders as they gritted their way up the hill. But my head snapped back when I heard one of the guys say, “Alex Zulle.” Spoken with a slow, earnest Kansas accent, it sounded more like, “Alex Zuuull-lah.”
I spun around and saw a man who looked like he could be a Midwestern real estate agent or insurance salesman in his early 50s. Not someone you would think would be familiar with Alex Zulle – the Swiss rider who was among the best in the 1990s. But the guy knew a lot about Zulle. With great authority, he was talking about a stage in the Tour when Zulle got blocked by a crash. I cherish such moments, times when people shatter your stereotypes and preconceptions.
In yesterday’s post, I slagged off Americans for having a low, low cycling IQ. I still believe this is generally true. But people will often surprise me. And in the age of the Internet and cable TV, people have easy access to great resources to educate themselves.
Unfortunately, I can’t provide much of a race report for the Tour of Lawrence. Because of family obligations, I was only able to stay for the master’s and Cat 5 races. And I wasn’t wearing my reporter hat that day. But the Web site listed on the race profile above offers plenty of information and results.
A few random pictures and thoughts:
These gals are pinning on their race numbers, getting ready for battle. American women are awesome. I love the way they really get in there and mix it up. While I was away from the U.S. for the past 10 years, I missed out on the tattoo craze. I’m constantly amazed by the huge, elaborate tats on women.
The Cat 5 guys line up. This is probably where I would be. I was reaching terrific form in March but with my move and other pressures, my training has dropped off. It’s really depressing to be gaining weight in the summer! But this will end soon.
The main SRAM mechanic wasn’t very talkative. He’s based in Chicago and drives this vehicle to races all over the country. His sidekick was friendlier and we chatted a bit. He’s based in St. Louis and works as a freelance wrench. He said he mostly works for some kind of Bud Light powerboat team. This is a sport I don’t understand well. When he’s not working for the boats or SRAM, he’ll do some wrenching on the weekend at bike shops who need some extra help. Apologies for not snapping a photo of him.wafflesandsteel | Filed under: Alex Zulle, Lawrence, SRAM | No Comments »