LARAMIE, Wyo. (BRAIN) — LiveUpdateGuy.com will offer live interactive text coverage of the Tour de France for the third year, starting Saturday. The website is run by former VeloNews.com editor and RedKitePrayer.com contributor Charles Pelkey, with contributions from freelance cycling journalist and cartoonist Patrick O'Grady and occasional guests from the competitive cycling world.
Pelkey covered several grand tours in person for VeloNews and provided most of VeloNews.com's live text updates during his years there. On the live feed, he became affectionately known as the Live Update Guy, or LUG. He is now practicing law in Wyoming and also running, unopposed, for the Democratic nomination for a state House seat.
LiveUpdateGuy.com went live for the 2011 Vuelta a España, while Pelkey was receiving treatment for cancer. The site typically gets 2,000 to 2,500 viewers each day, with more for major climbing stages. The site is supported by a virtual "tip jar."
"People have been wonderfully generous," Pelkey told BRAIN on Thursday. "It's why we keep coming back. People ask how or why I am doing this (given the schedule, my law practice, family and a political campaign), but LUGing is kind of fun. It's like a little family ... or a group of friends sitting around at a bar watching a stage together."
The LUG commentary is unafraid of going off topic, especially during long boring stages. One reader who didn't appreciate the diversions called them "Non-Race-Related-Blah-Blah-Blah," which Pelkey dubbed NRRBBB.
"We embraced it. I think a lot of people come by for the NRRBBB, which includes wine recommendations, recipes, Monty Python quotes, poetry and anything that comes to mind. A six-hour stage has lulls now and then. It's definitely ADHD race coverage, but we get damn serious when we hit the 20k-to-go mark," he said.
The LUG community extends around the world and offline. One regular viewer is a monsignor at the Vatican.
"He's been following since the VeloNews days. We've had three separate times where people who know him only from Live Updates have gone to Rome to meet him and have lunch with him," Pelkey said.
O'Grady, who has penned a column and a cartoon for BRAIN in every issue for more than 20 years, contributes commentary and the occasional illustration. His alter-ego Old Guy Who Gets Fat in Winter is a crowd favorite, appearing when "the fat lady sings" for a doomed breakaway.
Full Disclosure Department: BRAIN Web editor Stephen Frothingham worked with Pelkey at VeloNews.com for several years, and occasionally filled in as a backup auxilliary LUG, but never quite got the hang of NRRBBB.