Monday, July 07, 2003

I Want My Tour!

OK, so the Tour de France is upon us once again, and I'm going through withdrawals...

I've been a fan of the big bike race for over 10 years now, dating back to the last of Miguel Indurain's five straight wins (the record Lance Armstrong is going for this year). For the first several years, it was on ESPN and/or ESPN2, sometimes playing more than once a day. It was never actually "live" because of the time difference between here and Europe, but it was enough to get us our "fix"...

Then a few years ago, the main contract went to this cable offering I'd never heard of, called Outdoor Life Network. Even though it's not listed in the newspaper or TV Guide, they still had some sort of deal with ESPN to where they could broadcast it tape-delayed, even if it was at hideous times of the night...but no big deal, that's what VCR's are for. I was still able to watch...then last year, I think the basic cable thing went over to Fox Sports Net, but that's still a channel I get on basic. This year, I was hoping for more of the same...

But alas, as I thumbed through my TV book, I found that there wasn't any other basic cable showing this's OLN or bust. There's a thing on their website where you can "call your cable provider to get OLN added to their lineup" but what's the chance of that happening during the three weeks of the Tour? So now all I have is the three Sundays it'll air on CBS...even the OLN website's video clips didn't work; all I got was audio. :-P

It won't be the same this summer without the picturesque French countryside coming into my TV set every day (reminded me of my Switzerland trip four years ago)...the lilting British tones of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen calling the action, and of course cheering for Lance (he grew up in Plano within rock-throwing distance of the college where I teach, just across the alley from an old friend of mine). He's already off to kind of a rough start these first two days, and I haven't been able to see it. Just like in the Dire Straits song where Sting wanted his MTV, I WANT MY TOUR!!!!

So I hope that, whenever this contract runs out, that either OLN will find its way into the cable mainstream or cede the action to someone who's already there.

...or maybe I'll just win the lottery and buy a satellite dish. ;-)

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