Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rest Day Thoughts

These helicopter shots in the Pyrenees are worth the price of admission! My kingdom for a large flatscreen HD TV! I'm watching the mountaintop fans, dubbed "the shmengies" (sic) by Bob Roll, and thinking how fast one gets drunk in this kind of altitude. Are they drinking kirsch, brandy, white Bordeaux (mostly Sauvignon Blanc grapes, in case you were wondering)? What kind of BBQ food do they eat there? It can't all be fondue!

What vertiginous descents into Pau! It's views like this that made Graham Watson's career! (Official photographer of the Tour, that's who he is.)

The casual question, "What will we do for our 20th wedding anniversary next year?" has yielded a slam-dunk of an answer--"We'll go see the Tour!" We could bike through Paris on those Velib rentals. Apparently Paris is now just chockablock with bike lanes! We did it in Rome (no helmets, to our shame--we had assimilated the local attitude, and now I will surely get some ribbing from my friends here who may think of me as a bit of a helmet-fascist). And then we could head down into the Pyrenees.

I love the way none of the commentators can agree about what Contador did yesterday when Schleck popped his chain. Should he have waited for Schleck and then take his win fair and square? You can tell from my question what I think. As my husband Stoney said, Contador never fails to do something a bit douchey. He's becoming the rider we love to hate. And then he made an apology claiming he didn't know what was happening. Liars are without honor, Pistolero. Go, Schleck!

Today Lance got into the breakaway and actually sprinted at the finish! A game effort, but to no avail. It was great to watch--another chance to shout at the TV. I'm guessing our neighbors might be starting to wonder what we are up to in the mornings in July. I'm watching his group stampede to catch that lone leader, poor Carlos Barredo. This is great stuff!

It must be the last week of the Tour because yet again a coworker asked me, "Isn't that over?" and I tried not to bark, "It's 3 weeks long, just as it's been for 100 years or so." Sorry I am such a bike geek. But July is about the Tour, and I'm never getting over my Tour Fever.

Tomorrow is the last rest day, though, and so I'll be jonesing for some Tour action and wonder what the heck I am supposed to do with myself once it's over. I know I'll have plenty to do--training at Zuma, boogie boarding, trying new cocktails, going to Cabo, trying new Tequila cocktails, buying silver earrings, raising money for Children's Hospital Los Angeles, tackling the unbelievable volume of work chez The Mouse. But the Tour is like summer camp. You love it, you make new friends, and it's sad when it's ending, and after it's done, you miss it for a while.

My fingernails and toenails are yellow now. What color will I paint them after the Tour?

And if we go to France in the summer for the Tour, does that mean we can't go to Italy in March? That would not be so good. Hmmmmm....

Thursday is the last Pyrenees stage--big steep mountaintop finish--expect fireworks. Then the final flat sprinting stage into Bordeaux. Cavendish versus Thor Hushovd, Petacchi and the other fast-twitch muscle boys. Then the long time trial through the fanciest Bordeaux vineyards--Chateaux Margaux, anyone? And finally the long victory lap stage into Paris--probably it will be Contador sipping champagne from the team car with his manager and teammates--and onto the circuit from the Louvre, along the Champs Elysee, and Place de la Concorde. Even if you don't care at all about cycling, watch that last set of circuits. It's gorgeous, the culmination of 3 weeks of drama and pageantry rivaling the most lavish Medieval courts. And I bet you'll see Mark Cavendish win it, always good for a last shot of adrenaline.

Just 4 precious days left.

Vive le Tour! Vive la France!

A demain, o, peut-etre, plus tard!

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