Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tour de France Blues

(or shall I say "bleues" Oui?)

Each July, for the past few years, my schedule revolves around the OLN broadcast of the Tour de France. I wake up to it. I go to bed to the re-broadcast of the day's stage. I hang on every well-turned descriptive phrase and witty remark of Phil, Paul, Bob, and Al as they do the non-stop announcing. I thrill at the competition, shudder at the climbs, panic through the mobs of fans on narrow passages, laugh at the clever commercials, and find refreshment in the scenery, villages, and behind the scenes extras. I eat French Toast for breakfast during Stage 1. My vocabulary now includes phrases such as "reach deep into the suitcase of courage." I feel at a loss when it all ends in Paris, though exhausted from the stress of who will win and all the nuances and strategies of how that is calculated and achieved.

As former American football fan who has switched her loyalties, I now fully appreciate the athleticism of cyclists and have developed a distaste for the body slamming shoving of a small orb across merely maybe 100 yards on a flat surface, with an occasional kick. Football has lost its appeal.

I am grateful to Lance Armstrong for the skill and character he has displayed, the thrills and chills that has brought to our house, and the education I have gotten just watching this event over three years. I am grateful when the other riders excel, too, making it all the more spellbinding.

I acknowledge how it has impacted the way I handle personal challenges. I had a difficult challenge on Saturday in my kayaking class. I had to get back in the kayak from deep water. I am not an athlete, though I love the water. This was a very hard task for me. I kept at it and said aloud, "There are tougher things than this!" My instructor asked if I'd had children, and I said, "No, riding a bike in the Pyrennes." And I did get in the kayak eventually, but it was a big struggle. And I didn't bonk.

On Sunday, July 24, it all ends for another year. Back to my normal routine. Sigh. Thank you to everyone involved in making it a great event to share via broadcast. I will miss the Tour de France and look forward to watching again next summer, and I'll be looking for a bold new leader to emerge as Lance Armstrong retires.

1 comment:

Glen said...

Wow, that sounds exciting! I'll have to get up earlier to watch this thing--just kidding. And, I had french toast this morning at Mimi's that "french influenced" restaurant.

The kayaking was fun, thanks for taking me along with you.