Monday, July 22, 2013

Post-Tour Blues

For the past three weeks I have been on a cycling binge, trying to soak up every moment of the Tour de France that I could fit into my schedule – and then getting out and riding as hard as I can. For me, these have become the best few weeks of the summer because wheels are spinning in my head as much as they are on the ground an ocean away.

This year was particularly awesome,
with the most iconic stages included in the Tour. Mont Ventoux and L’Alpe D’Huez did not disappoint. I was cheering TJ Van Garderen (the American hope of the future) as he climbed L’Alpe D’Huez both times in the leading group hoping that he could hang-on to win the most iconic of stages. It looked like he would do it, however, following at about 30 seconds behind for most of the last climb, Christophe Riblon found something special and overtook him in the final 2km for the win, giving France its only stage victory in this 100th edition of the Tour.

Looking back, Riblon’s kick at 2km during that stage, his celebration approaching the finish line, and his humble expression as he crossed are for me the best moments of this year’s Tour. 

That’s not to say there weren’t a lot more awesome moments. The funniest for me was when the peloton was stopped at a railroad crossing to allow a train to pass. The lights flashed and the arms swung down which prompted a bio-break for some of the riders. All of the riders seemed highly amused, and it was nice to see smiles and laughs all around the peloton as they got underway again. This is not unheard-of at smaller races, but I think it pretty rare at the Tour de France in the modern era.  

It was also cool to see the bikes circumnavigate the Arc de Triomphe for the first time. Why did it take them so long to figure out that this is better? 

Another gem from this year’s tour was the presence of Canadian Svein Tuft, the oldest “Rookie” in his first tour at age 36 (no more hope from me when I turn 37 later this year) and who finished with the unique distinction as the Lanterne Rouge.

Not to mention the presence of Richie Porte as the “Trusted Lieutenant” to Chris Froome, (I loved the image of him getting bent at the fans on L’Alpe D’Huez) and the emergence of  23-year-old Nairo Quintana as a mountain stage powerhouse, wining the Polka-Dot Jersey, the White Jersey, and taking 2nd in the General Classification.

It was a great tour, and I am enjoying reflecting on the moments in my mind. Perhaps I will add to this posting as I think of others. For now, I will try to stave off the emptiness that comes with the Post-Tour Blues with the help of “instant” re-play.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

La FĂȘte Nationale

Happy Bastille Day!

I pulled on the French national jersey, parked in front of the tube and munched some Madeleines while I watched Chris Froome climb Mont Ventoux, showing everyone why he leads the Tour de France. Fantastic day of racing and fun to feel a little French again!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th

Been getting out to ride a lot as I soak up the Tour de France this month. Doing my best to beat my personal records on established routes and exploring new ones. Life is good, and even better with some extended time in the saddle to be one with your bike and to think about all of the blessings we have. Riding has always meant freedom to me, but I have to recognize that the freedom and safety we enjoy comes at a cost. Thank you to all that have sacrificed so that we maintain this freedom.

Found this beauty (and lots of other sweet vintage racers) to add to my wish list this 4th of July: