Thursday, July 16, 2009

Try Not to Kill the Riders: Fan Etiquette 101; and, an Update

Look, fellow fans. I understand. I've been there shoving a camera two inches from Ivan Basso's game face among a frantic horde of 6-foot Germans. Hell, I've even been far-too-close-to-there when we still love Bobby Julich unexpectedly let it rip in a roadside orchard. So I fully get how desperate one can be to press right up to the best, and most beloved, athletes on Earth. But as the rider body count seems to increase every year by the reckless actions of over-impassioned spectators, I hereby offer this handy Guide to Fan Etiquette in the hopes that some lucky rider will remain alive to claim the maillot jaune in Paris:

1. Leash the dog, you dimwit!

2. Come to think of it, leash the kid. Both tend to wander. Alternately, try duct tape.

3. The camera goes adjacent to, not into the actual nose of, the rider.

4. The razor-edged, plastic or cardboard promotional tchotchke, at 50 meters to the line in a bunch sprint, belongs *inside* the barrier.

5. Grocery-bag handles go over the shoulder or wrist, *not* into the course.

6. Flags, while admirably patriotic, can be inconvenient when shoved into one's face on a narrow climb with a 6,000-foot drop to certain, rocky death.

7. Riders only appreciate a quick push on the back up the mountain occasionally. Hint: the presence of a race-moto or camera with the power to time-penalize them, an angry torrent of probable curses in an indecipherable foreign language, or an actual slap to your face or body generally mean "no."

8. If, by contrast, you should inadvertently trip up a nearly-naked runner in a thong and neon clown wig, it's not exactly polite, but it's not like anyone (the trippee perhaps excepted)'ll fault you. If you trip up the Devil, however, whom I love, you are personally bound for the Searing Lake o' Burning Fire in the next world.

All spectators intentionally violating said restrictions will be summarily whacked upside the head with 900 pounds of Rabobank's most formidable blood-doping setup. All spectators merely accidentally violating said restrictions shall be forced to watch a two-hour continuous tape loop of Alberto Contador making that assy "pistol-shot" salute when he crosses the line. Well, that oughta about do it, tho' if I've missed anything, by all means let me know. So let's let the boys ride their race in peace (and in one piece), and do go ahead and yell, Allez Allez!

And remember: enter my contest, and Win Free Stuff Part Deux!

Update: Holy crap Levi Leipheimer's out with a broken wrist! Poor Klodi. It's all on you now. And not to be a total !@#$%^%$, but Carlos--here's your chance.


Rosemary said...

I replayed the scene today of Fabian getting a wheel change. A woman runs up to pat him on his back as he's getting to ride away...I think he tried to backhand her to get her away.

Tom said...

One of the things I loved about watching the Giro and some parts of the Tour is seeing people running and riding to keep up with the guys racing. It was so cool to see their faces, because you could tell that this was the coolest, most amazing moment of their lives. There was so much joy and excitement in them.

But crowd involvement is also the big drawback to professional cycling. It's CRAZY to let fans so close that they can grab, snag or push riders, or to allow them to run into the race course.

Can't we sprinkle a bunch of guys named Guido throughout the course and have them break some knees any time a fan does something really stupid or harmful?

Or maybe just shoot them in the head, right there on the spot, then stick the body up on a stick or a cross as a warning to other over-enthusiastic fans?

mindtron said...

Laurens Tendam sent a tweet about Oscar Freire having an airgun pellet in his leg today.

haven't seen it anywhere else though

racejunkie said...

yep, velonews and cyclingnews now have it as well.

Silly me. How could I have forgotten to include "Don't shoot the riders, you sick !@#$s!" as Etiquette Tip #9?

Rosemary said...

Oh my, and Julian Dean too. Were they riding next to Lance? He's the one who said he was afraid of the French fans.

Mary said...

Yes, definitely no shooting the riders. Seems like that should have been covered in the Fan Handbook somewhere...

After getting over the shock of Levi being out (still sad tho!), my first thought was - And not to be a total !@#$%^%$, but Christian--here's YOUR chance. I'd be happy to see Carlos on the podium as well, of course.

Still rooting for that all-Astana FU podium, but think Klodi is going to be too busy working to make it. I want this to happen even more now that the French are whining that Lance is getting treated too lightly by the dope testers. I can only assume that means "we can't believe you have not given him a positive result, one way or another, yet!"