Real People at le Tour

Hey, Doc – I’m all about a pilgrimage

Walking up the hill, I was aware how quiet everyone was. That is, until I turned a corner and saw hundreds of Flemish folk parked up on the hill. There were a couple of tents higher up, with a great sound-system belting out what are presumably Belgian hits from the past (or maybe it was the current top 10, I’m not sure). In any case, everyone around me knew the words, and were clapping and singing along – a great atmosphere.

The smell of burgers and onions on the barbeques filled my nostrils, and I suddenly realised that I hadn’t eaten anything today – we skipped breakfast at last night’s hotel because the place just didn’t inspire us at all and got on the road as soon as we could. I said to Ed this morning that the hotel reminded me of what a borstal would be like (a “bad boy’s school” as my mum would have called it). [From PezCycling News – What’s Cool In Pro Cycling]

2008 Tour de France

Here’s the deal – I’ve got nothing concrete to say about this year’s Tour de France. In a way, it’s a phenomenal race – after two and a half weeks, there’s seconds separating the top riders, and a couple of time trialists within minutes before a 50km trial on Saturday.

But I’m still kind of cold on the whole thing. All of the leaders have been riding the careful, calculating, race that’s all about waiting for other riders to make a mistake instead of riding away with the race.

But if that’s what a clean Tour looks like, I’ll take it.

Other observations:
Podcasts – The best, by far, is the ITV podcast (search for “ITV Cycling” on iTunes). Great British regulars, and a regular dose of Bob Roll. Today’s stage, stage 18 (day late), started with Phil Sherwin and Johann Bruyneel, and the rest of the commentary is the greatest.

My second favorite is the podcast with James Start. It’s short, and the production value is terrible, but Start’s got a great combination of wide-eyed wonder and akwardness, highlighted by his handling of the sponsor – the Saab 9-3 Turbo, Born. From. Jets.

The last one I’ve found worth listening is the podcast. The biggest drawback is the intro and outro by Brad Gibson. He just sounds artificial in a way that isn’t amenable like Start’s. But aside from that, it’s usually pretty good.

***Breaking News***
Astana, Johann Bruyneel’s team, and somewhat a continuation of USPS and Discovery Channel, canned Vladimir Gusev today for abnormal blood chemistry in the team’s internal testing program. Sucks for the Goose, and a bold, bold move by Bruyneel, who wasn’t invited to the Tour despite having last year’s winner.

iPod Touch Blogging

So, I’m all excited about being able to post via the iPod touch. Things I dig:

– good interface
– easy to add multiple blogs
– Much easier to lug an iPod Touch or iPhone than a MacBook

Things that need work:

– cut and paste
– a “blog this” bookmark for Safari
– a way to put in hyperlinks other than spelling them out, such as
– bold, italics, other formatting

Most of the stuff about which I’ve got gripes is probably somewhere in the docmentation, but I’m too lazy to read it right now.


NB: I went in through the web interface to make a couple of corrections, such as adding f’n hyperlinks.

I Want to Believe – Drug maker cooperated with WADA

Freakin’ awesome.

Revealing the now high-tech nature of the fight against drugs in sport, WADA chief John Fahey said his organization worked with drugs giant Roche on the newest version of EPO (erythropoietin).

He said Roche had included a molecule in the third generation of EPO, called Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator (CERA) that acted as a marker in drug tests.

“In the development of that particular substance, close cooperation occurred between WADA and the pharmaceutical company Roche Pharmaceuticals so that there was a molecule placed in the substance well in advance that was always going to be able to be detected once a test was taken,” Fahey told public radio in his native Australia. [From VeloNews | Drug maker cooperated with WADA | The Journal of Competitive Cycling.]

Though, truth be told, I’m a bit bummed by this, as all it takes is a couple of rogue chemists to brew a “special” batch to beat the system.


So, I didn’t get in the long run this weekend – camping kind of got in the way. We hiked a ton, and by Sunday afternoon, I was feeling awful sore – knee and ankle especially.

Yesterday afternoon, I hit the road on Jamestown after work, and had a pretty good 5 miler (except for a little bit of heat). Amazingly enough, my legs feel great this morning, which makes me scratch my head.

Anyway, it’s back to work after a long-ish lunch. Had dental work this morning – only one more quadrant of the mouth to get re-filled. Will swim this evening, and then go see The Dark Knight.

CubScout Campout

So, I’ve been running pretty regularly. Work’s been busy, so most (if not all) of the cross-training days have been dropped lately, which is kind of fine. It’s been hot. I’ve notched up a Jamestown run in each of the last two weeks – still cannot believe how lucky I am to have that on my drive home, especially now that it’s possible for a human to immerse himself in the North Atlantic without a wetsuit.


This weekend was CubScout campout weekend, so of course it was HOT, and there were bugs, and skinned body bits and a bit of sunburn, and of course, tears from . But other than that it was great. The pack headed up to Gay City State Park – about three-quarters of the way up to Hartford. My boys and I went up Friday night to check out the place.

I’ve got to say – there are advantages to car camping – namely a cooler and fresh food, but, all-in-all, I think I prefer a good old-fashioned backpack trip. Just something nice about leaving stuff behind and stripping to the essentials.

Like a ground pad – which I did forget.

Vermont is a cult

We’ve been summer-vacationing up in Stowe for, oh, let’s call it three years. Absolutely great – few mosquitoes, great hiking, spectacular views, good food, great roads for riding, good paths for running. We dig it. I’m tempted to buy 15 acres and start raising organic goats and sheep, making cheese, and growing my hair long. Go off the grid, and all that sort of stuff.

My brother-in-law says “Vermont is a cult.”

Ah, so be it.

But it’s been good up here so far. The boys are having a blast riding the bike path – Jake made the entire 11 miles on Sunday, and Nate’s cranking on the trail-a-bike, such that I really don’t have to push other than to go up and over hills. Pretty stinking cool.

Running is good. Sunday morning, I did 9 miles, looping through Moscow and back through the village to pick up the toothbrush that I inevitably forget when I go on travel. The upside is that I’ve now got a toothbrush in pretty much every bag I travel with, provided I don’t clean out the bags before I go.

Yesterday, 45 minutes, or 5.1 miles on the path. I didn’t really want to push myself, so I didn’t. Nice how that works. We then drove over to the Cabot Creamery, getting only slightly lost along the way. On the way home, we stopped at the Green Mountain Club headquarters to pick some maps. One of the guys stopped me on the way out, and pointed me towards the Short Trail, a quick 1 mile loop behind the hiker center. The boys had a blast.

Have I mentioned I love my wife? She sent me out fishing last night. Two stocked rainbows on dry flies. Cannot beat it.

Vermont is a cult.


Postscript: I’m kind of surprised – “Vermont is a cult” seems to be an original phrase. I could have sworn I’d at least seen it on a t-shirt before my BiL said it.