Tag Archives: bike racing

Le Tour De France or Don’t Talk To Me In July

July 1st is THE day! Yep, it’s that time of year again!  YAY!

Le Tour de France.  The toughest bike race in the world.  Twenty-one days of racing in 21 different places, 22 teams, 198 riders risking their various body parts 4-6 hours every day on the flat and in the Pyrenees and the Alps, averaging 23 – 54 kph (14.3-33.6 mph) depending on terrain, 3,540 km (2,199.65 miles) total,  and just 2 rest days. For 3 weeks I will be watching online mesmerized by one of sports most breathtaking and grueling spectacles.  I love it!

My dad got me hooked on the Tour de France as a child.  Every July, every day, we looked for news of “Le Tour”.  It was the only bike race covered on the news channels in the U.S. at that time.  And all we got were the highlights.  Later came cable.  But that got way too expensive.  And then one year I found out you could get it online.  Swoon!   Every summer I pay to watch Le Tour de France online.  Live and on demand so I don’t miss a thing.  So don’t talk to me in July.  July is for “Le Tour”!

Here are some numbers:  There will be 4,500 people making this happen, 500 hotels in four countries (Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France), 635 cities visited, 17 medical personnel, 7 ambulances, 2 medical cars and a radiology truck,  7  planes (some passenger, some signal relay), with 2000 journalists providing 6,300 hours of coverage for 190 countries.

Fun Fact:  There is a Caravan of advertisers that precedes the race start by 2 hours. Think Macy’s Parade for the whole length of the stage. That’s around 200 km (124.2 miles) a day.  170 tricked out vehicles that are spread out over 12km (7.5 miles). Over the 21 days 14 million goodies tossed to 10 – 12 million spectators.

But what’s really fun? (Not so much actually.)  These vehicles have to be stripped down to street legal every day for the road trip to the next day’s start and then reassembled.  So, too, all the media booths, awards stages, advertising booths, and staging areas for the race.  Every single day.

So there’s virtually a small army moving around the country of France for 3 weeks every year. Have I mentioned how much I love this race? 😀

Here’s video showing the ambiance! Enjoy!

Let “Le Tour” begin!

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Le Tour! (Don’t Talk To Me In July)

WOOT!

Le Tour de France.  The toughest bike race in the world.  Twenty-one days of racing in 21 different places, 22 teams, 198 riders risking their various body parts 4-6 hours every day on the flat and in the Pyrenees and the Alps, averaging 23 – 54 kph (14.3-33.6 mph) depending on terrain, 3,535 km (2,196.55 miles) total,  and just 2 rest days. For 3 weeks I will be watching online mesmerized by one of sports most breathtaking and grueling spectacles.  I love it!

Like road running, road cycling is easily accessible by the fans.  Take 33 seconds to watch what it is like for the riders being ‘cheered on’ by their fans.

http://www.cyclingfans.com/node/23937

Some quick tidbits:

  • There will be 14 million goodies passed out by the publicity caravan to roadside spectators. Caravan vehicles have to be stripped down to street legal every single day before they can move to the next day’s stage.
  • There will be an estimated 10-12 million spectators.
  • 40,000 night beds reserved for those involved with the race.
  • 2,000 journalists
  • 660 cities crossed

Want to know more?  Visit Cycling News’ Tour de France by the Numbers.

My children are already rolling their eyes and ‘Le Tour’ doesn’t start till tomorrow!  Hmmm, actually in about 7 hours from now… 😀

I like to spread the cheer.  If you live in the U.S. and would like an all access pass for online viewing (cost $29.99), go to NBC Sports here.   Sometimes you can view for free on sites like Eurosport, but it’s limited to whatever coverage they have. Quite often you can watch in real-time, which isn’t bad if you’re an early riser.  Two good places to look for links:  Cycling Fans dot.com and Steephill TV.

Let ‘Le Tour’ begin!  WOOT!

My Favorite Part Of Summer – Let “Le Tour” Begin!

Le Tour de France begins tomorrow!  Squee! The next 23 days will be filled with thrills and excitement!  My family will groan and complain, “Not again! Noo…”. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, Le Tour de France is one of the premier bike races in the world.  It is held every July for 3 weeks and for 3 weeks I will be watching online mesmerized by one of sports most breathtaking and grueling spectacles.

This is an aerial view of Le Tour – the views of the French countryside are breathtaking.  Who knew you could build on the tips of the mountains?!

My dad got me hooked on the Tour de France as a child.  Every July, every day, we looked for news of “Le Tour”.  It was the only bike race covered on the news channels in the U.S. at that time.  And all we got were the highlights.  Later came cable.  But that got way too expensive.  And then one year I found out you could get it online.  Swoon!   Every summer I pay to watch Le Tour de France online.  Live and on demand so I don’t miss a thing.  So don’t talk to me in July.  July is for “Le Tour”!

Le Tour de France is the toughest bike race in the world.  Twenty-one days of racing, 22 teams, 198 riders risking their lives every day, 4-6 hours every day, averaging 23 – 54 kph (14.3-33.6 mph) depending on terrain, 3,360 KM (2087.8 miles) total,  and just 2 rest days!

Fun Fact:  There is a Caravan of advertisers that precedes the race start by 2 hours.  Think Macy’s Parade. It costs 150,000 Euros for 3 vehicles.  There can be up to 250 vehicles in groups of five roughly covering 20-24 km (12.4 to 14.9 miles) along with 600 caravaners, 12 gendarmes, 4 traffic motos, and 3 medical vehicles.  They estimate that the advertisers put out about 11 – 16 million pieces of merchandise a year, roughly 3,000 to 5,000 a day, each.  Investment by advertisers can cost 200,ooo to 500,000 Euros.   One total kept by a 1994 advertiser:  170,000 caps, 80,000 badges, 60,000 plastic bags, and 535,ooo copies of their race newspaper.

But what’s really fun?  These vehicles have to be stripped down to street legal every day for the road trip to the next day’s start and then reassembled.  So, too, all the media booths, awards stages, advertising booths, and staging areas for the race.  Every single day.  It’s a small army moving around the country of France for 3 weeks every year.

I like to spread the cheer.  If you live in the U.S. and would like an all access pass for online viewing (cost $29.95), go to NBC Sports here.   Sometimes you can view for free on sites like Eurosport, but it’s limited to whatever coverage they have. A lot of times in real-time which isn’t bad if you’re an early riser.  Two good places to look for links:  Cycling Fans dot.com and Steephill TV.

Woot!

Let “Le Tour” Begin! or “Don’t Talk To Me In July”

The Tour de France begins tomorrow! (Oops, today! It is now after midnight. *sigh*)  Squee! The next 23 days will be filled with thrills and excitement!  My family will groan and complain, “Not again! Noo…”. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, the Tour de France is one of the premier bike races in the world.  It is held every July for 3 weeks and for 3 weeks I will be watching online mesmerized by one of sports most breathtaking and grueling spectacles.  For an overview of “Le Tour” read my post here.

My dad got me hooked on the Tour de France as a child.  Every July, every day, we looked for news of “Le Tour”.  It was the only bike race covered on the news channels in the U.S. at that time.  And all we got were the highlights.  Later came cable.  But that got way too expensive.  And then one year I found out you could get it online.  Swoon!   Every summer I pay to watch the Tour de France online.  Live and on demand so I don’t miss a thing.  So don’t talk to me in July.  July is for “Le Tour”.

I like to spread the cheer.  If you live in the U.S. and would like an all access pass for online viewing (cost $29.95), go to NBC Sports here.   Sometimes you can view for free on sites like Eurosport, but it’s limited to whatever coverage they have. A lot of times in real-time which isn’t bad if you’re an early riser.  Two good places to look for links:  Cycling Fans dot-com and Steephill TV.

Here are some videos for warm up.  This first one is “Le Tour” from the air.  If you aren’t into racing, watch it for the breathtaking scenery.  It has castles and sunflowers!

A fun one where you can see the crowds and some of the events that go on before the race.  There are even some shots from the caravan.  Remember all this is packed up and moved to a new location every day!

Scenery, crashes, race shots, and victories!

And the last video is of Yorkshire, England!  It’s gorgeous! The first days of the race will start in England this year.

LET “LE TOUR” BEGIN!

Le Tour de France (Just Past Half Way)

Random Thoughts

Le Tour de France.  The toughest bike race in the world.  Twenty-one days of racing, 22 teams, 198 riders risking their lives every day, 4-6 hours every day, averaging 23 – 54 kph (14.3-33.6 mph) depending on terrain, 2,173 miles (3,496.9 Km) total,  and just 2 rest days.

I said it before, I’ll say it again.  Bike racing is the toughest, most grueling sport around.  I love it.

The race first started in 1903.  A couple of nasty wars got in the way so this is only the 99th edition.  It runs from June 30 to July 22 this year.  I could write a novella on what’s happened so far this year, but I’ll leave it to you if you’re interested to read about it here http://www.cyclingnews.com/ .  Go down to Races and Results and under Tour de France you can click on whatever stage you’re interested in.  Want short video Stage Wrap-ups?  Go here: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/42363489/ns/sports-cycling/  Just scroll down to the videos.  And if for some reason you missed signing up to watch the stages live online or at your leisure, there is still time to fork out your $29.95 here:  http://tourdefrance.nbcsports.com/stages/   Just click on ‘Get Access’ in the video square.  You can watch every stage anytime for the next year.

Fun Fact:  There is a Caravan of advertisers that precedes the race start by 2 hours.  Think Macy’s Parade. It costs 150,000 Euros for 3 vehicles.  There can be up to 250 vehicles in groups of five roughly covering 20-24 km (12.4 to 14.9 miles) along with 600 caravaners, 12 gendarmes, 4 traffic motos, and 3 medical vehicles.  They estimate that the advertisers put out about 11 – 16 million pieces of merchandise a year, roughly 3,000 to 5,000 a day, each.  Investment by advertisers can cost 200,ooo to 500,000 Euros.   One total kept by a 1994 advertiser:  170,000 caps, 80,000 badges, 60,000 plastic bags, and 535,ooo copies of their race newspaper.

But what’s really fun?  These vehicles have to be stripped down to street legal every day for the road trip to the next day’s start and then reassembled.  So, too, all the media booths, awards stages, advertising booths, and staging areas for the race.  Every single day.  It’s a small army moving around the country of France for 3 weeks every year.

Life At Our House

Not much to tell here.  Did some shopping and found out that they have all the school supplies out already.  This year I will shop early, I swear!  And I took Spider Bait’s clarinet in to be repaired and cleaned and about passed out when I heard the cost.   Credit card/savings account time!  Yeesh…

Fur Babies and Other Critters

In an effort to keep my lizard from bankrupting me (this is what I get for assuming things…), I am raising crickets.  I’ve had the tub set up for a week or so, but no one was obviously laying eggs in the egg tub.  So I decided to put a ‘ladder’ (toilet paper tube) on the egg tub.  Now the females are fighting each other for good ‘spots’.  I watched one female watch another female dig her hole and when she was done the first female knocked the digger out of the hole and took it herself.  A few more days of egg laying and I’ll move that Cool Whip container into a tub by itself so when the babies hatch the parents won’t eat them.  And, of course, put a new container in for more eggs.

No cats allowed! (They think crickets are yummy, too!)

 Out In The Yard

Our header today is a rose that was here when we moved into this house.  (Ignore the blasted date.  It is my camera’s default setting.  Argh.)

I spotted a Preying Mantis hunting on my window screen over the sink at night but the pictures sucked.  Then, presto!, there it was (or maybe another smart one) on the window at lunchtime.

Movement 

One of the fun things that happened to me while the boys were away at Boy Scout camp was I fell down the basement steps.  No, I don’t know from how far up.  See, I was carrying boxes of cereal and snacks and stuff down to the pantry, using my chin to balance the load, and my mind was fussing and chewing over other things.  (I really need to stay out of my own head sometimes.)  The next thing I knew, lumpity bumpity,  the world was spinning and there’s pain and, bam!, I’m on the floor looking up at the light.  I think I overshot a step and slipped on the edge, ’cause the last three toes on my left foot felt like I curled them up and jumped up and down on them.  The balls of both feet were unhappy and the joint below my pinky toe on my right foot was really unhappy.  And I must have been an idiot and tried to hold on to the boxes ’cause I had edge bruises on my arms and a deep bruise under my jaw up into my mouth, like maybe a box corner got me, so talking and certain tones of voice were interesting.  But the good news?  I landed on my hip and nothing broke!  So all these years of iffy health haven’t trashed my bones into a bad zone.

Anyway, no walking for awhile.  I was going to try going out today, but was told ‘no’.  Somebody threw up in my shoes.  My one and only pair for walking/running.  *sigh*  I hope the sun is out tomorrow so I can wash them.  It’s too humid to let them dry without help.

Mug of the Day

Another by Marjolein Bastin.  And it’s midnight, so I’m off!

Paris-Roubaix Tomorrow

Random Thoughts

 Spartacus/Superman Fabian Cancellara broke his collar-bone in four places in a crash caused by a water bottle tossed into the midst of the Peloton (the bulk of the racers in a bike race) as they rode through a feed zone during The Tour of Flanders.   I am an unabashed bicycle road racing fan.  Tomorrow is Paris-Roubaix (The Hell of the North)  a 100+ year old Classics Race and my favorite rider for this event is down and out. 

 Cancellara is a four-time World Time Trial Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist.  The ‘race of truth’, as it is known, pits the rider, his physical capabilities, his mental resolve, and his capacity for pain against the clock.   Cancellara has been the standard by which others measure themselves.   Cancellara is also a tough, no holds barred Classics (old 1 day races)  rider earning him the title ‘Superman’ for not only his ability to power away from his competitors, but also his ability to just keep coming regardless of the conditions.  This year at E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke he was involved in 2 crashes and had 3 flat tires and yet he still finished with the first group of riders across the line.  Move him into the ‘Tours’ (the 1 to 3 week-long races) and Spartacus becomes not only a winning time trialist, but also a super domestique  (workhorse) for the team.  Using his time trialing abilities and his capacity for pain, Cancellara can put the hammer down on the front of the peloton and reduce a group of 150 riders to a long thin line or tear it to shreds, leaving groups scattered behind.  For you non-bike enthusiasts, this leaves only the toughest at the front before the climbs begin.  One of whom should be Cancellara’s team’s (this year RadioShack-Nissan) GC contender ready to rumble in the mountains.  (The GC-general classification winner is the rider with the shortest time over the course of the race.)  He will do this over and over again as needed or until he completely buries himself.  All the GC contender has to do is hang on for the ride.  His abilities are so respected, that if you’re lucky enough to be watching the races live and get a helicopter shot, you can see the riders shoving for position behind him as he moves to the front of the pack.  No one wants to be caught out when Spartacus  puts the hammer down.  Can you tell I am a fan?

 I’m disappointed my favorite won’t be there tomorrow.  Yes, there are other riders to root for, Ballan, Hushovd (God of Thunder), Boonen, Chavanel, Flecha, Eisel, Hincapie (who, unfortunately, will most likely be Hushovd’s lieutenant), and Rast (who is taking Cancellara’s place and came in 4th last year).  So the race will not be boring.  But, still, there will be a bit of fire missing tomorrow.

Paris-Roubaix is known as the ‘Hell of North’ for a reason.  A tough race with multiple sections of ‘pave’ (paw vay) it reeks havoc on the racers and their bikes.  The trophy is an actual brick/pave.  If you would like a taste of Paris-Roubaix, you can check this link out for photos from Cancellara’s 2010 win www.cyclingnews.com/features/photos/paris-roubaix-from-behind-the-lens

And if you also want  to see the carnage the ‘Hell of the North’ can inflict, check this out www.cyclingnews.com/news/photo-gallery-carnage-on-the-cobbles  Click on ‘thumbnail gallery’ to the right under the small pictures.

Life at Our House

There was no post yesterday cause it was monthly shopping day.  A bit from this store, a piece from that store, you get the picture.  By the time I was done, put away, and sitting down, it was 11 pm and I’m trying to get to bed at a decent hour.  Today was a finish up of about 2 and half hours.  Done.  I was going to post after dinner.  HA!  It is currently 1:06 am (which I said I wasn’t going to do, right?).  But I claim emotional trauma that I blame on my cat.  See below.

Fur Babies and Other Friends

My cat, Raven, scared the hell out of me tonight.  We were getting ready to eat dinner and I was in the bathroom getting my ‘drugs’ for the evening.  As I was doing this, the teapot yelled and I nipped into the kitchen and poured the water into my cup and went back to the bathroom just in time to see Raven slurping up a Motrin pill.  Quick as a flash I had him by the mouth, stuck my finger in and got the pill.  I checked my pile, all Motrin accounted for.  But I couldn’t for the life of me remember whether or not I had taken out my muscle relaxant.  It was an awfully big pill.  Could he have eaten it already?  He needed to throw up.  NOW.  In my younger days it was ipecac.  Now it’s hydrogen peroxide.  Spider Bait checked to make sure it was 3% not 5% and I dug around for a dropper.  Cats do not like having things poured down their throat.  Especially things that taste awful and fizz and foam.  After a couple of treatments, even wrapping him in a towel wasn’t working.  (I have a nice hole, now, in my sweatpants.)  And neither was the hydrogen peroxide.  Apparently I have a cat that doesn’t react ‘normally’ to hydrogen peroxide so no vomiting occurred.  I put salt down the back of his throat (that was fun).  Nothing.  At this point I realized with the time elapsed, had he eaten that pill, he would have been showing signs.  The muscle relaxant works fast.  Nothing.  Which was good.  But what about the hydrogen peroxide?  I hadn’t heard of it not working.  The stuff is nasty.  I checked the internet.  Nothing.  They said it wasn’t toxic cause it didn’t stay down.  GAH!  So off to call the vet’s.  They were surprised.  But fortunately, it still isn’t toxic to cats if it does stay down.  Whew.  We might have diarrhea later, but he’ll be fine.  Totally blew our evening, emotionally.  I don’t know how many times he got checked on between the 3 of us here.  He still hasn’t come to me since the fun.  But at least he’s not growling at me anymore!

Here’s a pic from Saver of Bugs stash:

 Out in the Yard

Our header today is a Japanese Painted Fern.

I also scored some 99 cent violas and pansies today.  Pics to come.

And here is my mug for the day:

Taking Time Back

Random Thoughts

A few years ago I was blissfully ignorant of blogs and sports sites.  Then one day I found out I could read about bike races on the internet!  Yes!  No more gleaning American newspapers and newscasts for their woefully thin coverage of bike racing.  And then one year I found out that for $29.95 I could watch LIVE coverage of the Tour de France on the internet!  I did a snoopy dance and whipped out my credit card.  I began following racing online.  I began following bike racers on Twitter.  Every night and sometimes in the day I would be glued to the screen.

And then one day I was looking up an author to see when the next book came out.  And something about her blog title caught my eye that day and I shrugged and clicked to see what was what.  OMG.  It wasn’t just the post that amazed me, it was the community of people talking on the site.  It was wonderful.  From there I found more wonderful places to be.  And then one day I got really brave and actually posted a comment!  For me, the technologically challenged, that was a big day!  But it was also addicting.  And part of my problem was the need to ‘Know More’ that would send me into the archives.  More and more time was spent cruising the interwebs.  Into the wee hours of the morning.  Again as soon as I got up.  I was losing time out of my day and night.  My neck was bothering me more than usual and my lower back was screaming ‘Enough!

This was interfering with ‘life’.  So I had to make some cuts and set some limits.  It took longer than I thought it would and was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  What if I missed something good?  But what about the sleep schedule I don’t have?  What about the million and one things that I want to do or need done?  What about them?  It was hard, is hard.  But I’m down to just one bike racing site and 7 twitters.  The blogs I look at everyday (just 4) are the ones where I got started or I’m supposed to be at for some reason.  If I get through them quickly (breakfast is blog time), then I allow myself a quick peek at some of the others.  But no more additions for now.   I’m happy to say there is more time in my day (I’ve got time to do this blog, for instance) but I’m still having trouble with that midnight bedtime even though the blog hopping is over.  But at some point I’m going to kick that in the butt too.

********************

I was out collecting more yard pictures and the sun was shining and the wind was blowing and I had this insane urge to just walk into the woods and not look back.  It was so lovely out.  So this quote jumped out at me:

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.  — L.M. Montgomery

Life At Our House

It’s a little weird around here.  For the first time in years, heck maybe ever, we have an actual full Easter break from school.  Our school system usually tacks on days to the Easter weekend, not so much for an Easter break , but for snow day make-ups.  Only we didn’t get that much snow.  And they didn’t take any days for something else.  In fact, the Spring Band Concert got shoved to another week because it was scheduled for one of the break days that no one thought we’d get.  So we get a Thurs. to Tues. school break.  Weird.

Fur Babies and Other Friends 

Squirrels are very much in our life right now.  Gotta love spring!  So here’s a couple of pics from out kitchen window.  It was harder than I thought.  The little suckers don’t sit still for long, even when they’re eating.

Out in the Yard 

Todays picture is of wild violets.  They are all over our yard.  I really should try to grab some to press in a book.

And so to finish, here is my mug for tomorrow: