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Beer, Bikes, and Bob Roll Bingo

Tales from the Lardbutt Peloton, March 12, 2004

Team Lardbutt isn't the fastest team in the US, it isn't the best-equipped team, and we sometimes wonder if it exists at all outside the imaginings of Chief Lardbutt Greg Taylor. Here's some Lardbutt philosophy on a subject we've all pondered - life's contradictions and ...

Football has its Superbowl. Baseball has its Game 7 of the World Series. Auto racing has its Indy 500. Cycling has its... its...

Well, up to now, American cycling hasn't had squat when it comes to one of those big "gather the neighbors, have a party" television-extravaganzas. You know, The Big Game. An athletic contest that serves as an excuse for sports fans to gather with friends to drink 'til they are bleary, shout incoherently at the TV, and crawl into work the next day with a throbbing head.

The sport of cycling has traditionally been treated like a bastard step-child by your average American TV sportsman, ranking slightly below ice dancing and those public access channels that broadcast algebra classes from the local community college. The television networks are well aware of this fact, meaning that there is precious little TV coverage of cycling here in America in the mainstream media. So while your regular Joe Six-Pack can debate the nuances of Ford versus Chevy in a NASCAR extravaganza at Talladega or spout off from memory Payton Manning's quarterback rating from 2001, he probably wouldn't know the difference between a derailleur and his big fat derrière even if you drew him a picture.

That is, until now.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Stage 16 of the 2004 Tour de France: the Alpe d'Huez individual time trial. Cycling finally has its event worthy of official buy-your-beer-and-chips-please-pass-the-TV-remote "Big Game" status: a monumental clash of titans, a legendary contest pitting man against mountain. Or at least a bike race with that Armstrong guy who is in all of those Nike and Subaru commercials.

Confirmation that professional cycling is finding its place in the pantheon of primetime sports came when one of my neighbors and riding buddies, Todd, decided to throw a big party and watch the rebroadcast of the Stage 16 on the Outdoor Life Network. Better yet, he invited the Lardbutts over to explain it all to the uninitiated and to provide commentary as the race unfolded:

"Dudes, we're here! Hey, is all of that pizza for us?"

"Do you have a bottle opener? I bought some of that fancy-schmantzy Euro-beer."

"Hey Todd, is your dog always that freaked out? Pass me the TV remote and a beer."

"I call couch."

"What's that smell? Jack... ?"

"Okay, here's the rules. We're playing Bob Roll Bingo. Every time that freak Bob Roll calls the race the "Tour day France" during the broadcast, you have to drink. Got it?"

Shoot, we'll run out of beer before nine o'clock with those rules. Hey, turn up the volume, I can't hear."

"Who's that on the course now?"


"Looks like an Euskaltel rider... Lord, that looks painful."

"Dude, it looks like he's climbing the Alpe du Wheeze. Pass me some of that pizza. Is that Mayo?"

"Naah, Mayo abandoned on the rest day. Hey! Don't eat all of the pepperoni! Save me a slice!"


"Bob Roll is obviously not from this planet. This TV gig is just a way for him to bide his time until the Martian rescue ships return for him."

"What's that smell? Dave... ?"

"Hey, there's a Postal guy on the course now. It's Hincapie."


"Dude, sorry about the carpet. You can clean that up later."

"Hey Todd! The phone's for you. It's a telemarketer. How many magazine subscriptions do you want?"

"Is that the pizza guy at the door? Oh, hello officer... "


"Damn you, Bob Roll."

"There's Ullrich. Look at him go!"

"JAN!! JAN!! JAN!!"

"No officer, I don't know whose car that is parked in the hedge. Obviously some youthful hooligans. Would you like a beer?"

"What's that smell? Steve... ?"


"Bob Roll is a misunderstood genius. It's why the French love him. 'Tour day France'... brilliant!"

"Damn, Ullrich is really rolling now. Lance will have to haul ass to beat those splits. Where's Basso?"

"He's out on the road. Lance is up next."


"You'd like to see the owner of the house? He's passed out right over there, Officer. The one wearing the pizza box as a hat. What's my name? My name is Mario Cipollini...'


"Did Armstrong just pass Basso? Duuuude!"

"What's that smell... oh, never mind."



"Damn, I need another beer."

"Hey, get me one too while you're up."

"Shhhh... .they're interviewing Lance."

"Oh, are you still here Officer? Yes, we'll break it up. Have a nice evening. Yes, you can take some pizza with you. Oh, take one of those yellow "Livestrong" bracelets too. The guy throwing this shindig was handing them out as party favors. Yes, Lance is the real deal, isn't he?"

All in all, the evening was quite a success. Lance decimated the field, the Lardbutts decimated the beer, and Todd's non-cycling neighbors got caught up in the excitement of watching the Tour.

"Is every stage of the Tour this exciting?"

"No, just every other stage. They have to pace themselves, you know. Even Lance."

Results Stage 16
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