Gear Change Up

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Rest day.

For whom exactly I'm not sure. The riders still ride. The caravan drives the entire Atlantic coast of France. So its just that no one is racing, no one is waving, no one is fighting for a spot on the barriers, or killing each other for a rubber bracelet. That kind of rest.

So after a week of hitting the roads across northern France I find myself in Dax. Dax is what you would get if you combined Glenwood Springs with Miami Beach and stuck it in the middle of the field. A French resort town, but I'm having a hell of a time figuring out what they have resorted to. But its warmer. And folks are nice. And really, really this time, only one more day of racing before we hit the mountains.

A crazy game of poker it has been. One thing about watching the Tour live is that I tend to have no idea what is actually going on in the race until about two days later. So T-Mobile has the yellow, and the Americans kind of fell flat in the time trial, and all should be worried, except for the fact that the Tour De France is an interesting competition in the sense that you can race for a week and still not have even really started yet. I would be worried but there has been nothing to worry about yet. I think the Americans can climb better than the Ukranians. But then again I've never met a Ukranian.

I have learned a lot about watching the sport though, and I have discovered that cycling is so much easier to appreciate once you understand what's going on. And basically what's going on is that the riders are going through hell but they pedal on anyway. I used to fall asleep to the Tour on TV. But now when I watch and I see a guy hammer out just to catch a looks like just a guy pedaling...but make no mistake, that shit is hard.

Other good news is that the Tour has by far been the most successful part of my project, and there is so much more to go. Everyone here just wants to talk about cycling. Not just French but people all over the world. I may get that global cyclist yet.

Racing resumes today with sprinting. I drove the road into Dax the riders will be taking. Not only are there no hills, the road doesn't even bend.

Then tonight its off to Pau, because tomorrow its time to party with spanish separatists.*

The Pyrenees.



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