Gear Change Up

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The logistics game...Stages 4, 5, 6

Following the tour is one of the most logistically complicated endeavors I have ever taken on. Somehow, you need to find the stage, watch the stage, find you car, get to the next town, all while making sure you somehow eat, hydrate, sleep and shower.

Usually you have to choose between a few of those. Meals and showers tend to be the first to go. Bobke tells me that everyone has that problem. The Tour de France is the hardest sporting event in the world to cover just because it is so massive and covers such a physically large territory. And even guys that have been covering the tour for years still find it to be a massive grind.

It creates for long days. But a awesome day each day, so when you don't want the day to end its good that it's long. I have my mornings which is nice, so I can ride or run. Then I pack up the tent and move my car to a strategically advantaged getaway position (away from the tour, close to the highway). I jump on my bike and ride the few kilometers to the finish line and scout out a good position to watch.

The tour is inadvertantly one of the best promotors of cycling I have ever seen. Not just because its a bike race. When the tour comes through a town, or when it stops in a town, everything shuts down. Roads, local public transportation, regional transportaztion, everything. The only way to get around is by bike. Way more effective than any Bike-to-Work day has ever been. Even if you're going to watch the tour you ride from home and get to the finish. Then to find a good place the ebst way to scout is by bike. Sometimes you want to get to the other side of the barrier, and that involves riding a few kilometers around the barriers. Or you just need a place to sit.

So bike to the bike race. Its great fun and you can see all the sights of the town pretty quickly as well. Then grab some food and find a spot (preferably in a tree) to watch the race on TV as it comes in. Avoid getting pegged by the publicity carvan, because after a week of waving those girls are getting pretty buff and winging the freebees at folks. Then cheer like hell for 15 seconds, watch the presentation, jump on the bike for the sprint back to the car, throw the bike in, foot to the (car) pedal and pedal to the metal, because then I drive to the next town which can be 2-3 hours away. Set up the tent by 11, crash, do it again tomorrow.

Time trial today. After watching McEwen have his way with the peloton for the past few days, the GCers are gonna start to come through.

Time to stop screwing around.


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