September 14, 2013

The USA Could Make History Today in Cycling

While there are 1000s of bike races all over the world each year, there are only 3 grand tours with 21 days of racing in each, the Tour, Giro and Vuelta. While the Tour de France is considered the biggest race in cycling, the Vuelta de EspaƱa tends to be a more mountainous race. This year's Vuelta is the hardest ever, harder than the Tour. It features 11 summit finishes and 41 categorized climbs (these are hard climbs that most of us could never do). The hardest climbs make climbing Mt. Washington look easy.
Forty one year old Chris Horner from Oregon is positioned to win the entire Vuelta today. While tomorrow's final stage is merely ceremonial, today's stage finishes with a grueling climb with 24% grades. (Have you ever been down a road around here and seen that warning sign for trucks? You'll never see pitches greater than 10%.) Horner carries a mere 3 second lead going into today's decisive stage. While that doesn't sound like much, he has consistently out climbed the others and is favored to win today.

Take 30 minutes out of your day today at 11:00 to watch the end of the race. You'll see the oldest rider in history to lead a grand tour, and you very well might see the first American (without PEDs) to win a grand tour in 30 years. While Horner isn't a specialist at all disciplines in cycling, he is simply an amazing climber, particularly when the ramps are ridiculously steep. He is light, powerful, wise and just a funny guy.

You can watch the race today from 10:00 to 11:30 on Universal Sports, a channel available if you have the right cable package, or you can watch online at: At least try and watch beginning at 11:00. The race is already underway. The Alto de L´Angliru is coming in just a couple of hours. Go Horner!