This speedskating jamboree -- literally, "Eleven Town Tour" when translated -- is organized in a scramble as soon as the canals in Holland's Friesland province freeze over. It's open to all Dutchmen and Dutchwomen willing to strap on their skates, and is usually won by some utterly unknown tulip farmer who has been training diligently in solitude for years. (Forget about actually being there, I'd be pleased even to learn that the
I've done the Great Alaska Shootout and Oahu's Rainbow Classic, but I still need to punch my ticket for this non-Lower 48 holiday classic, where D-I basketball powers cycle through Lahaina to begin the college season. Big-name coaches relaxed and approachable in aloha shirts: Not just a sight to see, but also an interviewing opportunity to take advantage of.
The king of the one-day classics on the pro cycling circuit, the race goes over cobblestones and hills in the raw early spring of northern Europe. Fans line the route to partake in the mud-splattered mess and witness the bone-shattering crashes. Seeing a video of it as a teenager, American cyclist
I don't really know track, but Eugene is ground zero for the sport in the U.S., and this is the Ducks' gemstone event. There's nothing -- seeing a pattern here? -- quite like watching others watch an event in which they're deeply invested.
For the city. For the time of year. For the ochre of the clay and the teal of court-level signage. For the mesmerizing length of the rallies. And for the way the Eiffel Tower pokes just above the tops of the trees.