Well, okay, we are both humans, we are both Americans, and I have been to Texas, and he's been to Wisconsin. Not long visits for either of us, I assure you!
But I'm addicted to the nightly coverage each year of the Tour de France. For those of you who do not know, the Tour is a massive three week bike race (That's bicycles, you know two wheels and pedals?) that takes place in and around France. The TV coverage on the Versus network (And if you don't have Versus, you need it!)is one part sports coverage, one part geography/history lesson, and one part Monty Python humor.
Let me explain: First of all, you can't watch five minutes of the tour and say, "This is boring." Because, yes, five minutes is boring. It's skinny guys on bikes that cost more than my yearly mortgage cycling around France. Aside from the rare crash, all you see are the backs of guys on bikes. For hours on end.
Which is why you have to watch for hours on end. Paul Sherwin and Phil Ligget, two cyclists in their own right, are brilliant at making hours and hours of guys on bikes seem like the single most exciting thing you could be watching. Paul and Phil are intelligent, funny, and best of all, British. What American doesn't feel smarter after listening to British people talk for a couple hours?
More than any sport, cycling is as pure as it can be. The riders are tested, yes, randomly during the year, but also daily after each race. The mere whiff of doping is met with a two year suspension from the sport. Floyd Landis won the tour a couple years ago, but was stripped of his title and suspended from the sport for two years because his testosterone level was slightly elevated in his second sample from one race during the Tour. Barry Bonds should thank the Almighty that he never took up cycling.
I've been watching the Tour now for five years. The whole family tunes in for most of the coverage. It's something great to have on if you're reading a book. It's great background for any summer gathering, especially if you have hi-def because when there is a crash...you get to see plenty of blood and booty in the shot.
Which brings me back to Lance Armstrong. I'm pretty sure everyone knows his story. He's overcome some tremendous things to be at the top of his sport and now, after being in retirement for a couple of years, he's sitting in third place after three stages of the Tour. (Brett Favre, take note, THIS is how you come out of retirement.)
As writers we have to overcome obstacles. Most of them are of our own doing. We don't make time for writing, we push it off, we write, but we don't market, we don't talk to anyone about writing. Well kids, that book ain't gonna publish itself! (Well, there is self publishing, but frankly, that's more work than actually getting published, plus you have to pay for it.) Sometimes others put obstacles in our way, but mostly we do it to ourselves.
So I'm here to say, people wake up! If Lance Armstrong can come back from almost DYING to win the Tour de FRANCE SEVEN TIMES IN A ROW and then take a couple years off to date an Olson Twin, have a baby, break up with Cheryl Crow, and jog on the beach with Matthew Moconahey (You know who I mean.) and come back AGAIN and now be in third place early on...then we can write, we can market, and we can publish a NOVEL!
Oh, and did I mention, Lance has a book out? Yup, he did that, too.
Now, take a couple hours, watch the Tour on Versus, get inspired and WRITE!