Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Time to bring you up to speed on what’s been a VERY good Tour in terms of my riding. Not sure why, but I think it’s my ‘commitment to fatigue’- in terms of not caring how much SLEEP I am getting, as well as my mantra of ‘I shouldn’t miss an opportunity to ride’.
So, I know it’s backtracking, but I have to tell you about the “REST DAY” ride. Bob and I were lucky enough to stay atop Morzine-Avoriaz after Stage 8. We bunked with Robbie Ventura and Frankie Andreu, and the intention was to ride early in the AM. Robbie and I barely slept four hours that night, mainly due to the Spanish celebrations after their World Cup win (way too many vuvuzelas in town), but also because we were so excited to get to do a ‘big ride’.
After fueling up on ‘pain du chocolat’ and making sure we had enough fuel to last w number of hours, we set off DOWN the Avoriaz climb (knowing that we’d have to ASCEND the beast as the last kicker of our workout. We retraced the course the peloton had done the day before, which meant we did the ‘reverse’ of the Cat 3 “Les Gets” climb, the reverse of the “Col de la Ramaz” climb (absolutely KILLER- for over 20 mins it averaged 12-14%!!- and that was just PART of it!), then we descended the front side of the Col de la Ramaz and turned around and went up it again.
Not much of a big deal, YET. Now we are climbing the RAMAZ the way the peloton did, and in fact, returning to Morzine-Avoriaz on the race route just like the day before. By the end, our ‘totals’ for the day were- 4hrs15min, 3 CAT 1’s, 2 CAT 3’s, 57 miles, almost 9,000ft elevation gain.
Since then, I’ve been able to get early morning rides in at our stops in Gap, and then this morning in Valence. Very happy with the chance to experience these roads and watch the sun rise in so many different parts of this great country. Speaking of 'sun'- had a chance to snap pics at the 'top' (sans sun) and then sun-flowers at the bottom...
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Two days after his worst day at the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong was back in fighting form. Although battered and bruised, his battling mentality served him well up the Col de la Madeleine.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
The excitement of Stage 7 must have set some strange cosmic forces in motion. Early in the day, I ‘hit the deck’ trying to walk down from our second-story studio. If you’ve ever been on a sailboat with very steep, wooden stairs, then you can picture the exact set-up of the avenue from the ‘ground floor’ to our upper-deck. I’m still unsure as to the exact minutia, but the end result was my feet flying out from under me, and hitting my back, head, right side ribs, and right upper arm. Yeah, exactly. All that? In one fall? Go figure. Seems nothing is broken, just bruised and sore. Commentating is NOT supposed to be a ‘contact sport’. Phase One of my ‘strange’ day duly noted.
Fast-forward a few hours. After the riders had crossed the line, and we were wrapping up, someone decided to unleash the heavens and Armageddon arrived. Torrential RAIN, lima bean-sized HAIL, gail-force WINDS, all while we tried to ‘shoot’ and ‘voice’ our final segments. A message was being sent- FINISH your day NOW, or it will be finished FOR YOU. Strange days indeed. Had the riders been caught in the atmospheric explosion, there would have been carnage. The Tour dodged an ice-ball sized bullet. Literally and figuratively.
On to the third ‘issue’ of the day. Station des Rousses had never hosted a stage…EVER. And it showed in the evacuation (the term the Tour uses for the ‘exit’ of each day). After scrambling and racing the elements to the car, we proceeded to sit (as in NOT MOVE) for over an hour. Well, I take that back…in the infinite wisdom of some (who shall go unnamed), I was asked to move my car LATERALLY three separate occasions so other cars could line up next to me. Our Vehicular Fan kept growing, all trying to merge into one narrow mountain road.
Because of the conditions, the ‘auto amnesia’, and the usual insanity of the fans, a commute that should have taken about an hour, took over three. Just another day at “Le Tour”.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
French heroics at the Tour de France are often limited to July 14th, Bastille Day, their national holiday. But this year, there has been one man unwilling to wait. Sylvain Chavanel has seized the moment TWICE, and not only won BOTH stages, but the hearts of his countrymen.
Friday, July 9, 2010
GREAT ride this AM from the town we spent the night in, Bourbon Lancy, over 65K in around 110 mins...only real issue were all the BUGS in the air...i had to floss them out of my teeth when i returned...lovely, huh...here's some info of the area:
Bourbon-Lancy is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgognein eastern France.It is a rural town on the Loire River with a walled medieval area on the dominant hill. It boasts an authentic medieval belfry, wooden frame houses and fortifications which date from 1495. Situated in western Burgundy in the heart of ancient Gaul, the city's history spans well over 2000 years. Bourbon-Lancy is a spa town with thermal springs which have been known since Roman times.
And for my PBR friends- a little reference of the local "charolais" cows:
Charolais cattle are a beef breed of cattle (Bos taurus) which originated in Charolais, around Charolles, in France. They are raised for their meat and are known for their composite qualities when crossed with other breeds, most notably Angus and Hereford cattle. The breed tends to be large muscled, with bulls weighing up to 2,500 pounds (1,100 kilograms) and cows up to 2,000 pounds.
The breed was introduced in the southern US as early as the 1940s. It was the first popular breed after the English breeds and Brahmans. It was known to produce beef animals that had more red meat and less fat. The breed was often crossed with English breeds.
In the 1970s Charolais crossbred steers won a number of prominent steer and carcase shows particularly in Texas. The first Charolais steer to win a carcase show was at the San Antonio Livestock Show in 1971.
This breed has been quite popular in the Top End of Australia where they are used for cross breeding. It has also become popular in the southern United States, where Charolais (often crossed with other breeds) have increasingly replaced Herefords. Despite their relatively northerly origin, Charolais tolerate heat well, and show good weight gains on even mediocre pasturage.
The coat is almost pure white.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Having lived in Venice, CA and visited Venice, Italy, it seemed appropriate i would gravitate to today's stage finish- Montargis- often referred to as the "Venice of the Gatonais".
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The riders decided to follow the script today. Sprint stage, Sprint Finish. All eyes were on Mark Cavendish and his HTC-Columbia team, but the Italian, Alessandro Petacchi, threw on the afterburners and flew PAST Cavendish and the other contenders.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
What a start to my day! Only five hours of sleep, no food, very little way, and a 'general' idea of how to get there was in NO WAY going to keep me from 'trying my hand' (and hopefully not breaking my HANDS in the process) the legendary COBBLES of the Arenberg area. Famous for the "Queen of the Classics" Paris-Roubaix, these roads greeting my producer and i this morning, and the first thing we saw, no lie, was a rooster 'rising with the sun' and making sure others followed his lead.
No one could have predicted the way events unfolded today as the course and the conditions caused chaos once again. Sylvain Chavanel led for all but eight miles, and for his efforts, he was rewarded beyond his wildest dreams.
Not just with his 2nd Tour de France stage win, but also with the grandest prize of all- the ‘maillot jeune’. He’ll stand a little taller, and pedal a fraction faster, with that honor tomorrow.
For the overall contenders, a crash caught out everyone- Armstrong, Contador, and the Schleck brothers- it was Fabian Cancellara who passed up personal glory to make sure the Saxo Bank team lost as little time as possible. He’ll lose the yellow jersey for now, but perhaps his sacrifice will ultimately pay off for his teammates, Frank and Andy.
Two stages, two days filled with scrapped skin, broken bones, and frayed nerves. And TOMORROW is the route everyone was worried about!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Talk about 'returning to the source'!! I've made a career out of excelling in and around water, so it's with great enjoyment that our stage ends today in SPA, Belgium. Here are some facts:
As the famed site of healing hot springs, Spa has been frequented as a watering-place since as early as the 14th century. Though other sources of healing hot mineral springs have become famous throughout the world, it is the town of Spa which has become eponymous with any place having a natural water source that is believed to possess special health-giving properties, as a spa. The place name is from Walloon espa meaning "spring, fountain." In 1918, the German Army established its principal Headquarters in Spa, and it was from here that the delegates set out for the French lines to meet Marshal Foch and sue for peace in the consultations leading up to the Armistice which ended the First World War.
Spa Reine (Spa blue). It contains no carbonation and has a very low amount of minerals.
Spa Barisart (Spa red). It contains few minerals and some carbonation.Spa Marie-Henriette. It contains natural carbonation.