Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ship Shape, the Heavens Open Up, and Just Drive

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”.

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