Merced-Bike City

Merced-Bike City-10 Years Back-Tour of California

In 2009, Merced was one of the cities for the 2009 world-class Tour of California that came to the city. On February 2009, the Tour, including the hero of those days, Lance Armstrong, raced through Merced. A decade ago, the Tour of California was really among the country’s premier cycling events that drew the best cyclists from all around the world to the 9-day race across California.

In 2009, Merced became “Bike City USA”

In February 2009, Merced became “Bike City USA” when it hosted three world-class cycling events. The cycling trifecta attracted the best riders from around the globe, along with ardent fans and spectators who enjoy the fast-paced sport.

It all started on Wednesday, February 18, when the Tour of California rolled into town. Starring 144 of the globe’s best racers, Merced was the fourth stage of the nine-day event.

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My feet thrust in the air, I stared at the needle sticking out of my foot framed against a wall and the backdrop of Highway 140 from Merced to Yosemite while a woman in the next room loudly whispered about her venereal disease.

I tried to shut it out by thinking about my upcoming visit to Yosemite National Park, the history of Merced, and my creative projects. Any of them. Obscure ones. About a public domain comic book idea. About the newest iPhone app I’m working on with my publisher. About my blog.

My thoughts invariably shifted to thinking about my last few weeks at work, how long it would take to pull off these projects, and if I’d sustain a living from them afterward. Sustain. Hmmm… Reminds me of that episode of The Judge Hatchett Show I worked on as a video editor where she sustained a motion…

I snap to and remember what my acupuncturist said. “Quiet down your mind, Carlen.” And backed that sentiment up by sticking another needle between my eyes. I looked up at the needle, of what I could see of it, and sighed. Quiet. My. Mind.

It was my very first foray into acupuncture, and despite my foot needle hurting more than I anticipated when she stuck it in (and hearing someone whispering about venereal diseases), I felt calm. Centered. And the restlessness I tend to feel was slipping away. It was powerful.

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Before the advent of online news and entertainment, advertising and its cousin, public relations, were like pornography: You generally knew it when you saw it.

But with the ever-increasing torrent of Internet “content” splashed across the Web, much of it not only corporate-sponsored but corporate-created, sussing the actual message from this medium gets pretty tricky. So how do you spot Native Advertising? Maybe this John Oliver video helps:

This trend toward dressing (some would say disguising) advertising and public relations as news is driven by economics. A standard press release costs only a few hundred dollars to compose and distribute electronically, making the Net a low-cost distribution channel.

Content-hungry publishers, in turn, can generate fresh text fast and cheap by just forwarding the corporate handouts. ScreamingMedia, ad guru Jay Chiat’s content consulting company, estimates that companies with a significant online presence could spend as much as $500,000 per month generating their own content. The price of news sites for most PR content? Free.

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