Monday, July 3, 2017

TV, AV, And My Knee

I was no couch potato over the weekend—the new cuts and bruises I acquired on Sunday while mountain biking at Alpine Valley are evidence of that—but I did watch a lot of cycling. On both Saturday and Sunday I watched the Tour de France on NBC Sports Gold. The coverage was a little disappointing because the audio frequently cut out. Numerous comments on NBC’s various Facebook pages prove I was not the only one with that technical glitch. And a lot of people are disappointed that the streaming coverage includes commentary by Matthew Keenan and Robbie McEwen instead of the more familiar team of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, but I don’t mind. The Phil & Paul act has grown a bit tedious in recent years. Keenan and McEwen are Australians whose commentary NBC is borrowing from an Australian TV network, so there’s a strong Australian bias in their presentation. Complaining about that, though, would be silly when the only alternative is the shamelessly pro-British commentary of Phil & Paul.

Infinitely better in its presentation was the coverage of the UCI World Cup mountain bike weekend from Andorra. That began on Saturday with the downhill and concluded on Sunday with the cross-country races. features multiple cameras, knowledgeable commentators, and entertaining pre- and post-race segments with course previews and racer interviews. You can check out the next round of the World Cup from Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on July 8 & 9. is completely free, but it’s so good you might feel a little guilty watching it without having to pay.

Coverage of American bike races doesn’t measure up. Nevertheless, I tuned into YouTube late Sunday afternoon to watch the US criterium national championships from Louisville KY. The old Chicken-or-Egg argument came to my mind again: Do we have minimally-acceptable coverage because there are no fans, or are there no fans because we have minimally-acceptable coverage? There was almost nobody watching our national championships in person, despite warm and sunny weather. And the hit counters at the websites with streaming video suggested that not many people were watching online. Pretty sad.

About those new cuts and bruises … I crashed on some rocks at Alpine Valley and that’s not good. My right knee got the worst of it and we’ll see how it feels in the days leading up to the WORS Cup. I’m registered for both the cross-country race and the short track race next Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Yesterday’s visit to Alpine Valley was supposed to be a confidence-building pre-ride, but I left there injured and with no better understanding of the cross-country course. So, fail.

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