I’ve been enjoying the 106th edition of Le Tour de France thus far, but I’m way behind watching it. I’m streaming it on NBC Sports, and just finished Stage 10, which was July 15th, the day after Bastille Day. If I can’t manage to watch five hours of cycling a day, imagine trying to ride as fast and over hill and dale as these guys do. For many it’s confusing, boring, or “they’re all on drugs.” Forget those negative nobodies and start watching it now.
Needless to say, the premier cycling race of the year on the planet has had its share of chills and spills. The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. Strategy, bravado, risk-taking and raw emotion. Far better than any staged reality show, I could just go on and on about it. So I will. (I don’t like spoilers so will try to avoid them, but may be a few. If you haven’t started watching after 10 days, that’s on you, so be forewarned.)
I’m sitting here at my computer in Austin, Texas on a Monday night, staring at the title I just wrote, and now, the blinking cursor. It’s taunting me to sum up in 500 words (usually many more, in my case), the life, times and relevance of Paul Sherwen. He died at his home in Kampala, Uganda last night at the still relatively young age of 62, cause unknown. The simple fact is that no one’s life can be summed up so tidily. But in all the years I watched the Tour de France, it was his voice, along with that of Phil Liggett, that provided the narration to that epic race and many others. He did it with style, grace and panache, and forever won the hearts of legions of pro bicycling fans. He was also a racer himself, finishing five of the seven Tours he entered, and winning the British road racing championship twice. Born in Kenya, but living in Uganda, he was a staunch advocate of African cycling, and a humanitarian to boot. All I can do from my tiny corner of the internet is shine a little light on his life if you haven’t heard of him and to chime in. Continue reading