Tag Archives: sports

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!

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!

And the Iditarod Begins!

The Last Great Race on Earth

I love this race.  I have followed this annual dog sled race off and on since it began in 1973.  More on than off, but college, small kids, and cable TV issues interfered here and there.  Thank heavens for the internet!

I enjoy watching all the mushers and their dogs, but I  sorely miss Susan Butcher who died in 2006 after battling leukemia.  I do have two other favorite women mushers I keep track of, though,  Aliy Zirkle and DeeDee Jonrowe.  Here are a couple of quick videos:

For those of you unfamiliar with the Iditarod, The Last Great Race on Earth, here are some quickie facts:

  •  Normally the Iditarod is run from Anchorage, Alaska (Which is actually the ceremonial start.  The official start is in Willow just outside Anchorage.) to Nome, Alaska.  The Iditarod is around 1000 miles.  It differs a little between the Northern Route (run in even years) and the Southern Route (run in odd years).  Except this year!!! This year due to lack of snow in the lower part of Alaska, they moved the start to Fairbanks! That means that they’re going straight across the middle of Alaska.  All the checkpoints below Ruby have been eliminated.  Added are Fairbanks, Nenana, Manley, Tanana, and between Galena and Koyukuk they added Huslia.  So the mileage is roughly the same as normal years.  But minus some of the more difficult parts of the mountain ranges.
  •  More than 50 mushers enter each year.  This year there are 78. Only experienced mushers can participate and must have completed three smaller races in order to qualify.  No one convicted of animal neglect is allowed to participate.  If the Iditarod Trail Committee feels a musher is unfit before or during the race, they will not be allowed to compete.  And, yes, they have yanked mushers out in the middle of the race.
  •  There are 26 checkpoints on the Northern Route and 27 checkpoints on the Southern Route.  All mushers must check in to these checkpoints in order.  This year there are only 20 checkpoints.  This is a problem for the mushers as the distance between some of the checkpoints is quite long.  This means carrying more gear and food than usual and spending more time resting in the rough on the trail. This will be harder on the dogs.  The lack of the more difficult sections in the mountains should help balance this out.
  •  All mushers start the race with 16 dogs on the tow line.  With 78 teams this year that’s 1,248 dogs on the trail.  They must finish the race with no less than 6 dogs.
  •  Mushers are allowed to drop dogs at the various checkpoints but must check in with all the same dogs they left the previous checkpoint with.  If you lose a dog out on the trail, you’re done.
  •  Vet checks are required for the dogs before the race and they are also inspected when a musher stops to rest at the checkpoints.  Any dogs that do not pass the pre-race vet check are not allowed to start.  Dogs not in good shape at the checkpoints are not allowed to continue. Like with human athletes, no performance enhancing drugs are allowed.  If you want to know all that’s required, read this article:  http://www.adn.com/article/20150305/start-line-iditarod-dogs-all-get-ecgs-blood-chemistry-scans-and-worming
  •  During the race the mushers are required to take one 24 hour layover anywhere on the trail, one 8 hour layover along the Yukon River (a difficult and often nasty portion of the race), and one 8 hour layover at White Mountain, just before the last hard haul into Nome.
  •  Dogs burn about 5,000 calories a day.  This along with the need for regular hydration means that the mushers must stop regularly along the trail to feed and water their dogs.  This entails building a fire and melting snow for water.  The mushers are required to carry a pot that holds no less than three gallons of water, but it still takes a serious chunk of time to get the dogs fed and watered.  Did you know you can burn snow?  You have to add water to the pot to avoid this.
  • The fastest winning time is 8 days, 18 hours, 46 min., 39 sec.
  •  In Nome, at the start of the race, a lantern known as the “Widow’s Lamp” is lit and hung on the Burled Arch. This lantern remains lit until the last musher arrives safely in Nome, which takes anywhere from 13 days to thirty. The last musher is awarded the Red Lantern award, which is, in fact, a red lantern with a plaque on it.  Here’s an article about the fact that this year there are 5 returning red lantern recipients.  http://www.adn.com/article/20150308/iditarods-5-returning-red-lantern-recipients-hesitantly-embrace-races-most

Well, so much for a few facts.  I love this race and could go on and on.  Here are some links if you want to follow the race:

The official website Iditarodhttp://iditarod.com/   I like to read the news stories here as they often include local cultural and historical facts.  But this is the place to go to find out where everyone is on the trail.  And they have musher profiles.  Just click on “Race Center”.  They occasionally  have some videos you can watch even if you haven’t paid to be an “Insider”.

The second site is the Alaska Dispatch News: http://www.adn.com/section/iditarod    You do not have to subscribe in order to read articles and watch videos.  And they also have a map and standings listed as well.

Just one more tidbit!  You may occasionally hear them comment that someone’s running with a single leader.  “What’s that?” you say.  When the going gets tough, the mushers put their tough guy lone wolf type leader on a single lead out in front of the rest of the dogs.  This is the dog that gets the job done and prefers doing it alone.  “Quit” isn’t in their vocabulary.  They not only help “marshal the troops”, so to speak, they also have to have an instinct for the trail.  Knowing the best line of travel and where the trail is in a white out situation is invaluable to the whole team.  It takes a lot out of them being out in front on their own, but when it’s nasty, that’s where they prefer to be.  A good lead dog is priceless.

Nome, here they come!

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!