Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Tour de France Tours: These Cycling Adventures Will Make You More Than Just Another Spectator

March 29, 2010

Tour de France toursWhile most of my cycling these days is limited to Spinning class at the gym, I totally get the attraction of a challenging bike ride.  Not to mention the desire to have a truly remarkable once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the process.

Which got me wondering if there was a way that hardcore cyclists like my friend Julie—a die-hard Tour de France fan whose idea of a good time is grinding out a 50-miler before lunch—could combine these two passions into one extraordinary experience.

Following my curiosity lead me to Robbin McKinney, a man who’s been leading cycling trips to Europe for 20 years.  For the 2010 Tour de France—which many sportswriters believe may be Lance Armstrong’s last—McKinney’s company Great Explorations is offering two different adventures that allow serious pedal pushers to be more than just passive spectators at the world’s most grueling cycling event.

The Alps tour—McKinney’s favorite—runs July 8-15 and includes the chance to ride legendary Tour de France routes including the 21 hairpin turns of the Alpe D’Huez.  Their Pyrenees program, which runs July 19- 26, offers an opportunity to be there for the event’s exciting conclusion, as the riders circle Paris’ Champs D’Elyssees before crossing the finish line.

Tour de France Cycling tourNo matter which Tour de France program you sign up for, you’ll have a choice of several daily rides—many on the same roads the peloton will be passing over just hours later—plus special behind-the-scenes access at the start or finish lines and prime viewing locations for several important stages.  Not to mention great meals at quaint local bistros, wine tastings, and swanky spas.

SPECIAL DEAL:  Call Great Explorations at 800-242-1825 to book your Tour de France trip by Monday April 12th, and you and a friend will each receive a $250 discount when you mention XTRORD.com.

MORE COOL STUFF:

Amazing Race, Leisurely Pace: CompetiTours Offers A More Challenging Way To See Europe

A Mondo Motorcycle Tour: 248 Days, 30 Countries, 1 Extraordinary Experience

Advertisements

March Madness: These Basketball Fantasy Camps Keep The Final Four Frenzy Alive Year-Round

March 19, 2010

It’s that time of year again, when basketball fans everywhere—from Barrack Obama to Joe Sixpack—begin to get swept up in that annual springtime NCAA basketball binge known as March Madness.basketball fantasy camps

Now, even though I’m not a huge fan of college hoops, I have to respect any event that can generate such widespread enthusiasm that it actually causes a drop in the nation’s productivity.  That said, of course I’m also a big-time cheerleader for the idea of getting up off the couch to actually live out your dreams rather than just watch someone else having that same extraordinary experience on TV.

Which brings us to a couple of completely over-the-top basketball fantasy camp programs.  While these lucky campers may not be playing in front of Final Four grandstands packed with screaming fans, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll end up having nothing short of a truly remarkable once-in-a-lifetime adventure:

Michael Jordan’s Senior Flight School

Rub shoulders with Michael and his staff of legendary NCAA and NBA coaches at this three-day camp scheduled for mid-August at Vegas’ Mirage Hotel & Casino.  In addition to going one-on-one with His Airness in drills, you’ll play for glory in camp championship games and leave with tons of swag including autographed photos and a one-hour highlight reel on DVD.

Rick Barry’s Basketball Fantasy Camp

Want to know how this Basketball Hall of Fame member became the only player to lead the NCAA, ABA, and NBA in single-season scoring?  Find out at this three-day camp set in the heart of California’s wine country as you work on your fundamentals under the watchful eye of Barry and other notable players including “Nate The Great” Thurmond.

MORE COOL STUFF:

Knock One Out Of The Park at Baseball Fantasy Camp

Hit The Stage at Rock-n-Roll Fantasy Camp

The Wildest Ride At The Winter Olympics

February 19, 2010

Utah Olympic Park Comet bobsled rideLet’s say you find yourself watching the opening rounds of the Olympic bobsled competition this weekend and thinking “Man, that looks like fun!” Well, here’s the cautionary tale of how you can experience this wild ride for yourself—and why you may not want to.

You see, I had the same thought when I visited Park City’s Utah Olympic Park last August.  When their PR person offered me the chance to try their Comet bobsled ride, well, I couldn’t say “Yes!” fast enough.

The park offers these rides year-round, though the number of public runs is limited during the winter months when dozens of world-class athletes use the mile-long track for training.  The modified 400-pound Comet sleds wrap a professional driver and three passengers inside a steel roll-cage as they go hurtling down through the track’s 15 turns in just under a minute.

While they tell me the ride is a little less extreme in the summer—the wheeled bobsleds only hit 70 miles-per-hour and subject you to 4 G’s on concrete—it was still the wildest ride I’ve ever experienced.  So much so that it actually made my Air Combat USA fighter pilot experience look downright tame by comparison.

Which is why you need to take the warnings in the Comet’s pre-ride video briefings seriously.  Even though I’m in pretty good shape, I walked away from this ride with a collection of physical complaints ranging from bruised shoulders to a sore lower back.

Though I’m now perfectly content to go back to watching the bobsled competition on TV, I can tell you those 60 seconds I spent watching the world go by in a serious bobsled-induced blur are something I’ll never ever forget.

More Cool Stuff:

VIDEO: Utah Olympic Park Comet Bobsled Ride

Bonneville Salt Flats: Utah’s Other Home For Those Who Feel The Need For Speed

Celebrate Babe Ruth’s Birthday At Baseball Fantasy Camp!

February 6, 2010

While most of the country’s attention is still focused on football, another group of sports fans are spending this weekend marking the Bambino’s birthday (February 6, 1895) at one of a dozen-plus baseball fantasy camps.

baseball fantasy campsVirtually every MLB team offers these week-long events where amateur athletes can play with—and oftentimes against—baseball legends like Goose Gossage and Bucky Dent.  While each program is slightly different, perks generally include your own team uniform, personalized instruction from some of the biggest names to ever round the bases, one or more daily games, and nightly social events where life-long fans can actually spend time schmoozing with the players they idolized growing up.  Many programs also offer summertime reunions where campers take the field before one of their team’s home games for a little batting practice.

If this sounds like your idea of a good time, you’ll want to start planning now to attend next year’s sessions as spaces are limited and often fill up months in advance.  To get you started, here’s a list of some of the most popular baseball fantasy camps:

Boston Reds Sox

Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs/White Sox

Cleveland Indians

Detroit Tigers

Milwaukee Brewers

New York Yankees

Oakland Athletics

Philadelphia Phillies

Related Experiences:

Rock-n-Roll Fantasy Camp