If you’re visiting New York this fall (and you should, it’s the best time to go), and you like football, there’s an important thing to keep in mind. Jets and Giants fans may seem to run the show, but many — if not most — people in this city hail from somewhere else. And they’ve brought their football allegiances with them.
New York has a bar for almost every pro football team’s fans (and countless college teams as well, but that’s another can of worms). Some teams have a few bars to choose from. Others, like the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, share one space (usually peacefully, though that 2009 NFC championship game sure made things exciting…). Most of these spots are a microcosm of the place they’re cheering for, dishing out potlucks, swag and a chance to meet other people from your hometown. At the very least, you’ll have someone else cheering for the same touchdowns and interceptions that you are.
So don’t cut your NYC trip short — stick around on Sunday and cheer for your team at one of these bars:
The reporter asked Young if he thought a gay wrestler would be successful within the World Wrestling Entertainment organization, so Young gave it to him straight:
“Absolutely, absolutely! Look at me. I’m a WWE Superstar, and to be honest with you, I’m gay. And I’m happy, very happy.”
The stunned cameraman told Young he was “flabbergasted” and had no idea the star was gay. After some prodding, Young continued:
“I guess if you want to call it coming out. I really don’t know what to say it is. But you know, I’m just letting you know that I’m happy [with] who I am. I’m comfortable with myself, and I’m happy to be living the dream.
After a few more questions, Young rolled out of the airport with his luggage, becoming the first openly gay male wrestler to come out while actively participating in the sport.
There are less expensive tickets; online source Ticket Liquidator has a view from the cheap seats starting at $235 each right now. Assuming ticket price does not knock attending the All-Star game out of the ballpark, less expensive hotels are on deck too.
Checking in with hotel search engine Room 77, travelers can expect to pay an average $286 per night during All Star Week. They have the 3.5-star LaGuardia Plaza Hotel, located 2 miles from Citi Field, for $120 per night. Or make a vacation out of it at the Ritz Carlton Central Park for $608 per night.
At the park, major league expenses continue with the cost of food and beverages to get through nine innings. Offering a hot dog for $6.25, Citi Field ranks high in a recent CNNMoney report on which ballparks charge the most.On the topic of ballpark food, it could be worse though. Rangers Ballpark, home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, has a $26 hamburger among other offerings, as we see in this video:
When thinking of iconic Tour de France climbs, three mountains immediately spring to mind – Alp d’Huez, Col d’ Tourmalet and Mont Ventoux.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of riders flock to France to test their mettle against those three mountains and the ghosts of Tour riders past. On Bastille Day, July 14, the pro riders will race up Mont Ventoux during stage 15 of the Tour. Ten days earlier, it was my turn.
When I learned I would be climbing Ventoux during my trip, I was immediately intimidated. Although it’s considered to be in the Alps, Ventoux is far enough removed from the mountain range that it stands virtually alone on the horizon, rising nearly 2,000 meters from the ground. The steep climb has humbled better cyclists than me; riders have actually died attempting to reach the summit.
Days before the ride, Keith, one of my Sports Tour International teammates, recounted the two nonstop hours of pain and suffering he’d experienced on the mountain years earlier, calling it the hardest thing he’s ever done as a cyclist. The night before the Ventoux ride, his words continued to ring in my ears as I tried to fall asleep, with little success.There are three roads up the mountain, but we chose the “classic” route, starting in the town of Bedoin, about 22 kilometers from Ventoux’s summit. (Malaucène and Sault are the two other start locations.) The first five or six kilometers are relatively easy, averaging about a 4 percent grade. But as you reach the forest, the road kicks up to nearly a 9 percent grade.
Heading into the forest, I clicked into my easiest gear, where it would remain during most of the climb. In the days leading up to Ventoux, my right pedal had developed an annoying squeak, but as the climb passed the first hour, the familiar sound became almost comforting, allowing me to bang out a steady rhythm as I continued up, up, up.
Pedaling up, I recognized the look of concern as I passed riders and riders passed me. We were all wracked with doubts. Am I fit enough to make it to the top? Does my bike have the right gearing? Will this suffering ever end?
Ironically, Keith’s warning made the climb easier mentally. I waited for the road to go from merely steep to monolithic, but it never did (much to my relief). As I passed out of the forest, I knew I had the climb beat.
After the forest, the landscape turns almost desolate. The top third of the mountain is completely devoid of trees. Only a few man-made structures can withstand the brutal wind – sometimes reaching up to 200 kilometers an hour – and winter cold. In the distance, I spied the famous observatory that spelled the end of my journey about six kilometers away.
The first four of those kilometers offered a slightly respite, as the grade shifts to between six and eight percent. But in the last couple of kilometers, the road kicks up a bit, offering you one final test before you’re able to crest the top and coast into the parking area.
A few kilometers from the summit, I passed the Tom Simpson memorial, which honors the British Tour de France rider who passed away during this climb in 1967. It’s a stark reminder of just how dangerous the climb can be. Traditionally, Britons leave a small memento at the monument, whether it’s an empty water bottle or a trinket from home.
The last two kilometers were the hardest of the day, as the road jumped up to nine and 10 percent grades, with a steep kicker during the last switchback heading into the parking lot. My legs screamed as I rose from the saddle and put forth the extra watts needed to crest the summit. It was finally over.
A few minutes after my arrival, other STI riders followed suit. Di, a delightful Aussie who’d been fretting the climb even more than me, was overcome with emotion as we embraced.
“I made it,” she said, her eyes nearly welling with tears. “I didn’t think I could do it, but I did.”
I snapped her and her friend Gillian’s photo underneath the famed summit sign, 1911 meters up. The queue for the coveted photo opp can last several minutes, but riders are quick to get out of the way as soon as the shutter snaps, knowing how hard everyone worked to get there.
Pros can climb Ventoux in about an hour – former pro Iban Mayo holds the record at just under 56 minutes, although there’s no telling what he may have been on when he did that – but amateurs are going to take nearly twice as long. If you’re a relatively fit enthusiast cyclist, expect to finish the climb between 90-150 minutes. The fastest rider in our group did it just shy of two hours. Even in my relatively beefy state, I finished in about two hours and five minutes.
After picking up a small souvenir from the gift shop, I swung my leg over my Cannondale’s top tube and began my descent down. I was glad that I’d put on a wind vest and arm warmers at the summit, as the cold wind cut through me. I concentrated on navigating the tight switchbacks, but my eyes kept creeping back down to my Garmin. During one long straight stretch, I let my speed creep up to 72 kph, but spent the majority of the descent squeezing my brake levers for all they were worth.
It took me more than two hours to complete the climb, but less than 30 minutes to make it back down to Bedoin. Once back in the village, I found the rest of my teammates, where we devoured pizza and recounted our experiences on the mountaintop. We’d taken on a giant of the Tour de France and won.
When I told many of my friends and family I was riding some of the Tour de France routes, they automatically assumed I would be participating in the race. As nice as that would be, I would be shelled off the back of the pack before the Tour had left the start village.
Although I’ve occasionally dreamed of joining the pro peleton and perhaps donning the maillot jaune – the yellow jersey of the Tour de France leader – pro riders are on a whole other level than average cyclists like me.I’m lucky enough to know and have ridden with several domestic elite and professional riders. While I’m a decent enough cyclist – I’ve won a couple of amateur races and lead my share of segments on Strava – I know my pro friends could ride me off their wheel with little effort. They’re on a whole other level, and the elite international pros that contest the Tour de France are at a whole other level above them.
Your typical cycling enthusiast averages up to 18 mph on flat roads and about 10 mph on hills. But according to Bicycling, the pros in the Tour de France average up to 10 mph and 15 mph faster, respectively. Your elite Tour de France rider averages more than double the wattage of the enthusiast, and can top an incredible 1,400 watts in the finishing kick of a stage sprint.
How do they get so fast? A lot of it is genetics for sure, but it’s also insane amounts of training and discipline. (We won’t get into other, less-legal reasons why.) I average about 150 miles a week on my bike; pros can average up to 800 miles during that same seven-day period.
But we do have advantages over the pros. While I can reward myself with a beer or three after a particularly grueling ride (or a not-so-hard ride as well), pro riders need to be cautious with every calorie they consume in order to maintain a body-fat percentage under 10 percent. If I have a bad race, I might be upset at myself for a day or two, but for a lower level or budding pro, a few bad races could mean the end of their career. Best of all, pro riders must look at cycling as a job, while we can just hop on our bikes and have fun.