Thursday, July 23, 2009


ONE MORE TIME. What draws or drives Tour de France cyclists to ride over 100 miles at break-neck speeds and make gut-wrenching mountain climbs day after day? Take it to the limit one more time!

11 YEARS FOLLOWING THE TOUR. I've done more Twittering during this year's Tour than my usual precise recapping and commentary. Each of the eleven years I've followed the Tour, I've e-journaled or blogged it. I've enjoyed this year's race no less than usual. But I've felt less possessed to describe the essence of each stage in detail. There have been some awesome moments and I'll likely reprise them in a "Top 10" on my Tour de France for the Rest of Us blog tomorrow.

TWITTERING THE TOUR. Twittering fits my circumstances this year. And it's new media for me to match with the message. I find the invitation/challenge of saying something meaningful within the measure of 140 characters a good thinking and writing discipline. I've followed the "Versus" channel's/site's tweets during each stage, which kept me in the loop when I couldn't be watching on the Internet. Quick recaps also seem to capture the essence of a stage, a rider's feat, or the next day's challenge.

EVENING BEFORE PARIS. I'm thinking of what it must be like on the eve of the ride into Paris. It must feel happy/sad. Relief, surely, that no more Mt Ventoux's loom. No more break-neck chasing down a breakaway. But camaraderie within the peloton grows among and between the riders and teams over 2000 miles and three weeks. Competitors and contenders, to be sure. But an elite cadre of athletes who gel together over the torturous journey.

ON TO THE CHAMPS ELYSEES. The past stage is largely ceremonial...until the peloton hits the Champs Elysees circuits on Sunday afternoon. To win a stage before that throng...oh my! No doubt Mark Cavendish would like one more sprint-finish victory to add to the 5 stage wins he's collected this month. If things go as they should, Alberto Contador will claim his second (though not consecutive) Tour title. Luxenbourger Andy Schleck will be runner-up. And the cancer-surviving Texan who stood on the top of the podium seven consecutive times before retiring three and half years ago, will claim third place. I hope to be watching.

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