Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Open Letter to Tag Heuer

Dear Tag Heuer,

I'd like to open this letter by saying that I think you are fantastic!  You were the first Swiss watch I ever owned - I bought one of the rubber strapped Formula 1 models in 1990 - the year I graduated from the University of Oregon.  I loved that watch!  It was stainless steel with a green rubber strap and a red bezel - just like the ones my heroes on team 7-Eleven wore.  And one of my greatest heroes was Andy Hampsten - the first (and I believe still only) American winner of the Giro d'Italia.
Courtesy of others
So what?  What's the big deal?  Well, thank you for asking.  This year - 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of Andy Hampsten's historic win.

So what?  What was so remarkable about that?
Well, in the best of times, cycling is conducted in normal, sane, rational conditions.  You watch the Tour de France on tv - sunny, fields of sunflowers, a summer jaunt.  But now, let's talk about the Giro - as my uncle would say - a whole 'nother smoke!
Imagine a 3 week race.  That's pretty hard to get your head around.  But now factor in that this is the Giro - a race that prides itself on being a bit tougher than the tour.  The Tour is somewhat predictable - time trial, flat stages, gentle climbs, then the Pyrenees or the Alps (or vice versa).  But the Giro - forgive my French, but the Giro is a Bitch Goddess!  Like the girl you dated in college who might borrow your car to go meet an ex boyfriend - and drive the car into a ditch, getting a limo ride home and leaving you to call AAA on her behalf from 100 miles away.  Like dating that girl way out of your league, you know better, or at least you should know better.  You shouldn't get involved -but you just can't help yourself.

Enter Andy Hampsten.
On what should have been a normal late spring day, he rode with his teammates and competitors into a frozen hilltop.  In this particular instance these men were chased up the Gavia Pass by the hounds guarding the gates of hell itself.  Keep in mind, this was before the days of index shifting and a GAZILLION gears.  12 gears if you were lucky.  They rode through a blizzard of sorts.
And here is where real character lies.  Several riders abandoned - all of the sane people who surely knew better.  But Mr. Hamspsten continued on.  In the end, there were a few left upright.  Andy Hampsten was one of them.

In the era of Lance Armstrong, and cynicism, I am profoundly grateful that someone out there like Andy Hampsten conquered the Gavia Pass and the Giro d'Italia with a bike that in 2013 we consider an antique, with performance enhancing substances like hot tea - and GRIT!

So what does this have to do with Tag Heuer?  Simple - Tag Heuer was one of the sponsors of the 7-Eleven team back in the 80s and 90s - Andy Hampsten's team.  And he represents what is good, pure and honest in athletic endeavor.  So Tag Heuer - honor this champion!   Here is a TRUE ambassador for a watch company - for your company.  A man, alone, challenging the elements, and winning the race of truth.

Enjoy your watches.  

No comments:

Post a Comment