Le Tour de France

The world's largest cycling race, Le Tour de France, has begun again! This televised, 21 stage event will test the limits of international riders with over 2200 miles of picturesque -- albeit arduous -- French countryside for the next three weeks. The Tour began on July 5th, and the champion will be crowned on July 27th. If this year's race has you excited about bicycle racing then check out the AADL's collection of books and magazines on the sport of cycling.

Hitting Things With A Stick

Ah, the freshly cut fairways, the slice of a favorite driver through the morning air -- it must be golf season. This Thursday, June 12th, Tiger Woods takes on the field at the U.S. Open Golf Championship at Torrey Pines Golf Course in sunny La Jolla, California. But if the clubs are pinging you right now, you don't need to buy a plane ticket to check out the lush greens right here in Ann Arbor. And if your swing is still feeling the rust of a discontented winter, then stop in at your nearest library and brush up on the game that takes a day to learn, and a lifetime to master. The AADL offers a wide range of materials on golf instruction and technique, including DVDs, magazines, and books.

"I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone's golf game. It is called an eraser." -Arnold Palmer

On the Run

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Wow, student runners at Pioneer, Gabriel Richard, and Greenhills should be recognized for a great showing at the recent state Track & Field finals. The girls' teams from Pioneer and Gabriel Richard were 1st in State in their respective divisions. Whether you're a seasoned runner, or maybe thinking about giving it a try, these titles may help: Complete Book of Running, which covers tips on endurance, nutrition and injury prevention, or Getting Started for runners like me. Two websites for advice and information are Runner's World and Running Times.

Ann Arbor Triathlon/Duathlon

Half mile swim? Easy. 14 mile bike ride? Name the day. 5 mile run? No problem. If these sound like your answers to these questions, then you're probably planning on competing in the Ann Arbor Triathlon/Duathlon on Sunday, June 8th, at Pinckney Recreation Area. But if your answers are -- like most reluctant athletes -- a laundry list of excuses, then consider the resources the Ann Arbor District Library has to offer to help you mentally and physically prepare for your first triathlon. Highlights from the Library's collection include: Triathlete Magazine's Essential Week-By-Week Training Guide, by Matt Fitzgerald; Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals, by Steven Jonas; Triathlon 101, by John Mora, and many more.

Why tri? Namely, because it's fun to swim, to bike, and to run! Training for a race is a great way to motivate yourself to get outdoors and to stay healthy. Also, you don't have to be Michael Phelps, Lance Armstrong, or Wilma Rudolph to participate; triatholons are for everyone. Competitors can choose between 4 distances based on their level of preparation and personal preference. The distances are The Sprint Tri: 700 yard swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run; The Olympic Tri: 1760 yard swim, 25 mile bike ride, and 6.2 mile run; The Half-Ironman Tri: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13 mile run; and The Ironman Tri: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. The only triathlon held in Ann Arbor this summer is June 8th, but there are many other races held in Michigan this summer, so sign up for your first tri today.

Got Guts? Try Guts Frisbee!

Got Guts? Try Guts Frisbee!Got Guts? Try Guts Frisbee!

No, Guts Frisbee isn't Ultimate Frisbee, think Dodgeball with a Frisbee.

You can read about the Michigan roots of this game in the June issue of Traverse Magazine at the Downtown library.

For more information about this game, try the United States Guts Players Association website.

Pedal Power

Hey Commuter Challenge enthusiasts! Check out the book Pedal Power: The Quiet Rise of the Bicycle in American Public Life. DePaul University Professor J. Harry Wray takes a look at how the simple act of riding a bike may impact perceptions of the world. Professor Wray says, "Because the world is experienced in a different way on a bike than it is in a car, the rider inevitably thinks of that world differently than does the driver." (page 18). The author had the idea for the "Biking and Politics" class in which he and his students ride 35 miles through the South and West side of Chicago.

Send Me to Summer Camp

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It's FREE! Really, mom. Washtenaw County's Summer Camp for Kids has camps in Football, Track, Golf, Wrestling, Basketball, Cheerleading and Tennis for kids ages 8 to 15. The camps are offered this summer from June 16 through July 31. Just print off the Registration Flyer and send it back to Washtenaw County Trial Court - Juvenile Division 2270 Platt Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Need more info? Call (734) 222-6900.

That’s One! (Can Anyone Else Smell a 34 game winning streak?)

For those not aware, the Detroit Tigers have been the center of attention in the baseball world since last December when a series of huge trades left the Tigers stacked in offence. Of course, that focus shifted recently to the fact that they became the team that couldn’t (literally) buy a win, having gone 0-7. But yesterday they won! And decisively, too. Tonight, as we all prepare for Detroit’s Nate Robertson vs. Boston’s Tim “Knuckles” Wakefield, curl up with your favorite baseball book, whether it be about the game’s history, a work of fiction, satire, or hardcore analysis of the game.

I’m looking forward to reading the greatest poem ever written, the 1888 classic “Casey At The Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung In The Year 1888,” if for no other reason because it shows how one hundred and twenty years later, the game remains remarkably unchanged. I also think I’ll reread my favourite chapters of Baseball Between The Numbers: Why Everything You Know About The Game Is Wrong by the stat geeks at Baseball Prospectus. It has a wonderful chapter which actually uses Nate Robertson (and Jeremy Bonderman) as an example why a pitcher’s Win-Loss record largely has no bearing on his pitching ability (I seem to remember last year, Nate Robertson left a game winning against D-Rays 4-0 after 6 2/3, only to have Jason Grilli surrender a grand slam in relief. That’s called Nate’s entire career.)

Fore!

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Weather's going to be great all week so be the first one on your block to get back in the swing at Huron Hills Golf Course. Walk-ons are welcomed at the Home to Affordable Golf In Ann Arbor. There are all kinds of special events coming up at Huron Hills and Leslie Park including plenty of golf instruction courses.

Grant José No Quarter

Today, kids and adults across the country are calling into work or school sick, conveniently allowing them all to watch Opening Day of baseball. I myself spent many an April 1st (or March 31st,) my favourite national holiday, home “sick” watching the Tigers. Of course, in those days, the Tigers played at The Corner and hadn’t entered their winning drought. But today has special significance beyond Opening Day, and not just because the Tigers enter as heavy October contenders, despite bullpen issues. Today is also the eve of José Canseco’s new book, Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball, a book no one should read.

Vindicated follows 2005’s Juiced, José Canseco’s exposé on many high-profile steroid users in baseball, himself including. He accused players he directly injected/supplied, suspected due to enlarged physiques, and those he suspected due to “c’mon, they’re probably doing steroids.” The gossip novel, full of innuendo, pointed fingers, and flimsy hearsay was meant not shine a light on the steroid problem in baseball (like Game of Shadows slightly dubiously did in 2006,) but to put the former All-Star—who couldn’t buy a spring training invitation in 2005—back into the spotlight.

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