Kids of Today – Odd Thoughts While Biking

Earlier this week I was pushing the pedals up a big hill near my house and just thinking of random thoughts to pass the time. I wasn’t going very fast as I wasn’t in any hurry. I begin hearing a strange sound and look back over my shoulder to see a golf cart loaded with pre-teens chugging up the hill behind me. There were probably five of them, with a pair standing on the back like they were guarding the president or something. I’ve seen this cartload of kids driving all over our neighborhood and just have to wonder if these kids ever get any exercise.

Then, as if on cue, another little girl comes in off a side street riding a motorized razor scooter. For a minute we were all on the same street heading up this hill – and I couldn’t help but wonder if I was a kid today if I would also opt for the easy route of those fun rides or if I would have suffered up the hill riding a bike. “When I was a kid” we didn’t have anything but our muscles to get around town…

Looking at my watch I noted that I am officially “old” in the cosmic sense of the word. Our triad broke up, each to our destinations.

Sports Tourism – Tour of Missouri Bike Race

This was the second year of going to this race here in St. Louis, and where last year was well hyped and well attended – this year we had to contend with Hurricane Ike going through the morning of the race. Thus, attendance was much lower, part of the race course was truncated due to flooding, and it rained a bit in the first part of the day. Despite all that, my dad and I still had a nice time seeing this race.

One of the biggest side effects of seeing all this enthusiastic bike riding was that it reignited my passion for biking.  Over the last few weeks since this race I have been riding locally to try to get back into good enough shape to hit the trails again.  In fact this weekend I have plans to actually find some dirt!  Thank you Tour of Missouri!

The race itself is a great experience for anyone interested in biking.  There is a lot of excitement, booths, and of course the hip bike-friendly people who show up for these things.  We will definitely be coming back next year, and doubly so if Lance Armstrong finds his way here.

Tons of pictures on my photo site.

Tour of Missouri Peloton

Tour of Missouri Peloton

Sports Tourism – PGA Tour BMW Championship

Lately I’ve been getting invited to some events from friends with free tickets, which has allowed me to go to see things I never would have paid for on my own. Earlier this summer I went to a NASCAR event at Gateway speedway in Illinois. That was a lot of fun and was well worth the time and energy of driving there and sitting and watching it. I highly recommend the experience and under the right circumstances I’d even pay to go see another race. It is loud, energetic, and there is always something going on while the cars are in motion.

On Friday I had another opportunity to see another sporting event which I never would have dreamed I’d see – the PGA tour! The event was hosted at the Bellerive Country Club in Ladue, Missouri.

First, the good news is that the event itself was pretty cool. We walked a portion of the course and saw a lot of the bigger names in golf today (no Tiger Woods, alas he was injured). It was pretty interesting to watch them play through a hole, see the crowd react to their shots, and generally see first hand all the oddities which you normally see on TV as you pass the Golf channel on the remote (I don’t watch golf, and haven’t played the game for 15 years). It is amazing to see a crowd of hundreds huddled around the green, all becoming perfectly quiet while these guys make their putts. The game of golf, as a sport, would hardly entertain someone who isn’t interested in golf as our day was mostly spent walking from hole to hole and if you didn’t watch carefully you wouldn’t even know who the big names were (they were however usually surrounded by the most people). On that score, golf is a hard sport to actually watch for the uninitiated.

The day itself was a bit of a downer though as the course parking lot was washed out which forced everyone to park at Riverport (miles away) and my friend and I literally spent 4-5 hours of our day either waiting in line for the shuttle bus, walking to or from the bus stops, or sitting on the bus. It was totally and utterly crazy to expect that many people to ride shuttles to the event (the bus ride was almost 30 minutes!). Imagine a line of people a quarter mile long and about 10 people wide! Bad form!

If I had free tickets again I might be pursuaded to go to another PGA tour event (we even had the high dollar tickets for free lunch, snacks, beer, etc which still didn’t help much) but I would never pay to go see another event. That said, if it did have one positive side effect I actually do feel the urge to get my clubs out, clean off the 15 years of dust, and go to the driving range. Golf is just one of those sports which is fun to play, but is a struggle to watch from the sidelines.