So I'm watching the last stage of the Tour of California and for a change the weather is pretty nice. When you combine that with a long climbs the fans are suddenly able to get really close to the athletes. In cycling this is apparently an invitation for some loony behavior …
I think it all started with Didi Senft – the Devil of the Tour de France. This guy became famous for running alongside the racers in a devil costume brandishing a pitchfork. And not showering much from what I've heard… Now it seems everyone wants some camera face time at bike races.
Today I saw the following.
- A dude in a Speedo and nothing else. Back to basics I guess.
- Three dudes in Speedos with their helmets on backwards. Now that's just whacky.
- The usual group with painted faces, although they did not run too far from their cooler.
- All the flag waving fans that are always within inches of stuffing their flag in the spokes of some rider.
- Hundreds of people with some sort of handheld bell… did they issue these or something?
- Some guy with cycling shorts and tie. Need I say it? And nothing else.
- A person wearing a (really bad) Roman Legionnaire costume complete with sword.
- This character with a football jersey, matching shorts and enormous antlers on his football helmet. He has made more than one appearance this year. It says Montana on the jersey. And it probably says his mother smoked and drank during her pregnancy in some hospital filing cabinet.
- Two guys in giant fat suites/sumo costumes. They were the best, totally hilarious.
Truth be told I guess it's not much different than a playoff game in hockey or football. I wonder if living vicariously through athletes produces as many endorphins/testosterone/whatever as it does for the athlete and since you are not actually doing anything physical you need to vent this energy in some other way? Or is there some hard-core sports fan club that I'm not aware of and to get in you have to endure some sort of initiation.
"Okay Bill, you have shown extreme dedication and loyalty to your team by organizing the tailgate party and the keg chug for kids during spring training but tomorrow you need to go all the way. We're going to need you to wear nothing but your high school gym shorts and some body paint at the game. We know it's going to be 28 degrees but we want to be sure you really want to be in the club…"
Oh man, I just saw the guys in the fat/sumo suits again – they rule.