Saturday, July 13, 2013

Journey to the Moon

My brother, who should know, told me once that parts of Afghanistan seemed more like the face of the moon than the face of the earth.  Which reminds me of the summit of Mont Ventoux, tomorrow's finish line for the Tour de France ...

On most of the finishes in the Alps you are really high up, but there are usually trees strewn about in abundance.  Blankets of cool, green grass.  A mountain brook gurgling happily.  Plenty of nice places for a picnic which, if you had one, might feature a few bottles of wine as you wait for the peloton to arrive.  Perhaps a lovely cheese course to finish things off.  Punctuated with a half-bottle of 1988 Chateau d'Yquem.  If we're feeling flush.

None of that foolishness on Mont Ventoux, old sport.  It's the mountaintop finishes that separate the men from the boys in the Tour and this is traditionally one of the good ones, featuring a final ascent of 20+ kilometers.  Which doesn't seem like much if you are in an air-conditioned Bentley but does, I can promise you, if you're on a bike.

Question?
I typically ask that questions be held til the end.
But I'd like to pursue the matter now.
Okay -- fire away if you must.
Has your brother ever been to the moon?  And have you ever ridden a bike up Mont Ventoux?
No.
So you're both talking through your asses.
I might describe it as taking literary license.  And I, in my leaner days, have ridden a bike up a steep five kilometer hill, and found that to be difficult.
You're suggesting that, because 20K is longer than 5K that it, too, will be difficult?
Difficult doesn't begin to describe it, but yes, that's the gist of my thesis.  
Hmmm.  Fair enough.  But I'm still not comfortable about the moon thing.
Just work with it.

Yesterday my boy Chris Froome lost a minute-plus to Alberto Voldemort.  Wait ... slip of the tongue.  Make that Contador, not Voldemort.  So now Froome is only two minutes ahead.  Which is better than a stick in the eye, surely.  But it's become clear that his team is no match for Contador's in the mountains.  There's also a young Colombian rider whose name escapes me.  So we shall see.

Additional Note:  It should be acknowledged that the NBCSports mobile apps have worked flawlessly throughout the Tour.  I say this with some surprise, given the hash NBC has made in their first year of televising Formula One.  Frankly, my expectations were low.  But I'm a big enough man to say Well Done when it's called for.

Vive la France.


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