I went over to the dark side on Saturday: I signed up for Internet and phone service from the cable company, and it included 12 months of free 'broadcast' cable. So, for the first time in more than three years, I can watch television again. Maybe this will kill this blog for once and for all: Too distracting. Having gone for a long time without viewing television commercials, it's definitely something of a culture shock to experience the latest offerings from Madison Avenue.
Anyway, the point of this exercise was to reduce the cost of the Internet connection, I had been paying $40/month for a somewhat balky DSL connection, it seemed like a lot of money for what was being provided. The new service is 'economy' class cable Internet access, a 384kbps service for $25/month, it should be adequate for the needs of my household. After a couple of hours putzing around with two routers (the router I had been using, refused to work with the new service, fortunately there was a backup available, and I am becoming quite well versed with such equipment), I was back online.
Television, however, is very passive medium, the viewer absorbs whatever the networks chose to serve up, even as channels proliferate, many niches go unserved, which is to say, there is no television coverage of cyclocross in North America. Anyway, I tested out the new connection by watching Superprestige race #2 online, streamed live online by Belgian television (schedule here), the technology is getting better, the images below are murkier than the video (perhaps because of higher fps rates?). There were a few hiccups with the stream but all in all it was a pretty cool way to waste an hour on a Sunday morning.
A hectic race start as usual.
Belgian champion (and heavy favorite) Sven Nys leads world champion Lars Boom near the end of the race, however they never made it to the very front. Nys blasted out of a group and the coverage gave a good sense of what is like to try and hang on when the pace is high through the technical sections.
Niels Albert had a dominating ride and led most of the race unchallenged. It's somewhat disconcerting that he lists his favorite sportsman as "Vinokourov" on his website... hmm.
And on the subject of cyclocross, congratulations to Jamie Driscoll for winning both races in Northhampton over the weekend, another dominating performance, especially for a young rider.