Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tour-de-Francing

It is the 100th tour this year and it is all inside France. And ESPN has decided to show the live feed from France though with English speakers that stumble badly on words like Céüze. Never mind that they have little clue about the lovely landscape and chateaux that the live feed shows but that they are unable to translate (or understand?). Still, the scenery is there, the bikers are hot (mostly because of the weather) and the experience of the cameras from the scooters to the helicopters and drones is now so good that you can clearly see and understand the team strategies to protect their leaders and bring them to victory. Truly griping!
That macho feel of victory for Rui Costa today

So I have it taped in the morning (In Caracas I can watch it live in French) and since no one discusses the Tour here, at night I can easily do my elliptical, have a drink, dinner while watching the Tour with all the suspense (the more so that there is rerun season...).  And tonight when it was over and I erased it I fell on the All Star game and let me tell you that the contrast was staggering between sports. Sorry, but there is no way I can ever watch more than an inning of baseball...  And only if the Red Sox play the pseudo world series. The aesthetic difference between a fat chewing dirty looking player on the backdrop of a brand new stadium simply does not compare with lean active bikers over the Provence country side as a backdrop.....
Because forgive me for what comes next but France is the most beautiful country. At least to stage a road event. Watching the Tour is also about fantasizing about that old stone house you suddenly need to buy to retire (provided the plumbing allows for Venezuelan style bathrooms). In that same fantasy you also envision yourself going for a week end hike to that old watch tower on top of that tall hill; or perhaps walking through the streets of that old village; or maybe organize a sumptuous food basket to have lunch on some remote field above the valley; or maybe just hang around the streets of Gap, today's stage finish line, before the Tour arrives,  looking for that tasty little restaurant or that antique shop.

Of course, no matter how good the cameras are you catch on occasion a junk yard, or an abandoned work shop. But 95% of what you see is developed land at the human scale where nature has been blended with life. Not preserved as a museum, a nature where you can actually live. OK, it was already the Provencal Alps which are more sparsely settled, but indulge me :-)

That is France. And they can be arrogant 

15 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:31 PM

    Slightly OT, did you know that american biker and winner three times winner of the Tour de France Greg Le Mond ran in the Vuelta a Venezuela of 1989, just days before the 27 of February ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no, that is interesting! good time to observe that biking events are attracting less and less people in venezuela due to insecurity and.... drumroll..... massive potholes everywhere that endanger the lives of bikers!

      Delete
    2. Anonymous7:47 PM

      I believe that he was training in Venezuela after a hunting accident where he was shot; I checked the date of the 1989 Vuelta a Venezuela and it was in October, so my memory played me a trick.. I do remember he was training in a competition here just before the 27 of February... (Vuelta a Distrito Federal ?)

      moses

      Delete
    3. Dr. Faustus9:41 PM

      OMG! I can still remember that famous 1989 Tour de France. I can still see Laurent Fignon eschewing a bicycle helmet on that time trial on Champs Elysees. When he reached the finish line I've never, ever seen a more dramatic finish in sports. The Frenchman who was the heavy favorite to win the Tour de France on the 200th anniversary of Bastille Day utterly collapsed at the finish line. What was it? ...6 seconds 7? It still gives me shivers thinking about it.... Fignon died a few years back. LeMond is still giving Armstrong hell.

      Delete
  2. NorskeDiv12:26 AM

    French people, and most Europeans in general have a right to be proud of their well cultivated countryside!

    As to baseball vs. cycling, we can agree to disagree. I personally enjoy both, but it bothers me that there's little finality to Tour de France, who knows how many of today's winners will have their medals stripped? At least in the world series you know the final team will not be stripped of its victory years down the line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Island Canuck8:34 AM

      I agree. I've completely lost interest in the TDF & bike racing in general after all the drug scandals.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, right, 'cause the TDF is the ONLY sport with drug problems.... maybe that they are so visible may be due that the authorities are truly fighting it? just asking.....

      Delete
  3. Daniel, could your favoritism of cycling races over baseball have something to do with the tighter shorts involved in the former?

    As for your fantasizing while looking at French countryside scenery, I do that too, when driving on roads through endless flat farmland terrain, or when I pass by folks that eagerly chomp on their food at an outdoor café in a strip mall, or when I admire the crowds who do the wave in unison, at the stadium where I watch a ball game ... ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. well, baseball has no shorts and grotesque cups. and looking at the players i wonder whether they could not all also wear masks.... also, bikers do not chew tobakka nor gum for that matter.....

      Delete
  4. Anonymous6:03 PM

    Here in Germany nearly noone is watching it and the big channels do not show it anymore because its all about doping.

    Armstrong, Ulrich etc. this guy who won was probably doped with something new.

    Best regards Hans

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. French tv coverage of the Tour mentioned it (ESPN is clueless on such things). They put young and rising Germany bikers sort of complaining that they were punished for other's fault.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous8:27 PM

      What a shame for Germany. Their sprinters Kittel and Greipel have been outstanding.

      FYI: Eurosport's English broadcast with Carlton Kirby and Sean Kelly is lightyears better than NBC and the useless duo of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.

      Delete
  5. I am definitively partial towards cycling but a Venezuelan can not ignore baseball. All sports are dirty nowadays in my opinion. For those talking about LeMond racing in Venezuela, I would like to remind you that San Cristobal held the world championships of track cycling in 1977. What an honor, impossible to imagine today. It's so sad to see how low we have fallen, the other day in NPR they were saying that Nicaragua would be a better choice for Snowden, gosh, that made me feel sad.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In Caracas people I think are actually biking more. Every night, large groups of runners and bikers get together in groups and cycle. Even the nyt noticed part of this activity.

    http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/critical-mass-in-caracas/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:13 PM

      Biking alone in Caracas can be very dangerous, city drainages (alcantarillas), potholes, people who run stop signs and red light, you name it ... Once I was almost run over in Las Mercedes 35 years ago.. The only safe place was the Cota Mil avenue on Sundays, which was closed from 6 to 12 am, today I dont know, I ave not biked for many years ...

      moses

      Delete

Comments policy:

1) Comments are moderated after the fourth day of publication. It may take up to a day or two for your note to appear then.

2) Your post will appear if you follow the basic rules. I will be ruthless in erasing, as well as those who replied to any off rule comment.

3) COMMENT RULES:
Do not be repetitive.
Do not bring grudges and fights from other blogs here (this is the strictest rule).
This is an anti Chavez/chavismo blog, Readers have made up their minds long ago. Trying to prove us wrong is considered a troll. Still, you are welcome as a chavista to post if you want to explain us coherently as to why chavismo does this or that. We are still waiting for that to happen.
Insults and put downs are frowned upon and I will be sole judge on whether to publish them.

Followers