Posted by: George | July 5, 2010

Searching for Bob Roll

July 4, 2010 (morning)

At about 6:00 am, I broke camp in Mesa Verde and began a long drive to Sterling CO for a family reunion. The day of driving would take me from the far southwest corner of Colorado to the far northeast corner, and there is basically no good way to get there. It would be a day of Blue Highways over, around, and through the Rockies.

The first town I hit was Durango, whose most famous resident is Bob Roll. You won’t know the name unless you are a fan of the Tour de France. Bob rode for the 7-Eleven team, the first significant presence of an Americans in the Tour. A few individual American riders had competed in the race before, but never an entire team of Americans and never a team sponsored by an American company. To everyone’s surprise, the 7-Eleven team held the Yellow Jersey for a few days.

Bob later became an announcer for the Tour, but was let go. Reportedly, the producers were annoyed that Bob couldn’t exactly Tour de France. He said “Tour DAY France,” with the accent on “Day.” But the fans missed Bob and complained. A few years later, the producers caved and brought him back. Bob has become a cultural icon for cycling fans.

I am a big Bob Roll fan. Over the years, I sent several emails to Bob Roll’s website, asking him to send me an autographed photograph that I could put on the wall of my office. I even offered to send Bob $5 for shipping. Each time, someone (not Bob) responded and said, “We’ll see what we can do.” I never got my signed photo.

So, I decided to try to find someone who knows Bob Roll, a friend who could put in a personal appeal for me. When I stopped for gas, I asked several people if they know Bob Roll. They all responded, “Never heard of him.”

I went on into town to look for my Bob Roll connection. As I was driving down Main Street, I saw two grown men standing in the middle of the street (yes, the middle of the street), go-cups of coffee in their hands, talking. I rolled down my window and asked, “Is there a good place to eat breakfast around here?” One of the guys pointed to the Brew Pub, about twenty feet away.

Then I asked, “Do you know Bob Roll?” They both shrugged and said, “Sort of.” Then one of the guys said, “You aren’t one of the ex-husbands, are you?”

That was pretty quick and pretty funny.

Just for the record, Bob is married to a woman and has some kids. The guy was poking fun at me. I guess I was coming across like an ex-spouse who wanted to track down Bob for child support.

I went into the restaurant, sat down, and ordered. Then I asked Jenn, my waitress, if she knew Bob Roll.

She said, “Yea. He comes in here all the time. He’s kind of . . . strange.”

“You mean the hand gestures?” I said as I mimicked Bob’s odd use of hands when he explains the fine points of the race.


I asked Jenn if she would be willing to give Bob a note when he came in, after the Tour was over. I wrote a note, asking Bob for the autographed photo, including my address. I even promised to pay Bob $20 for his effort. I think Jenn is going to get it done for me.



  1. Hope you get that picture! Let me know.


  2. Bobke married ?? Really?? Is that true!! hummmmm…….I wonder who the lucky girl is and what his kids are like — those little “Bobke’s”


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