This time of year I try to spend as much time as I can watching the Tour de France.
I don’t know why. I don’t actually RIDE a bicycle!
I do admit to being a francophile — something I could not always say. When I was in my early 20’s I was actually quite anti-France/francophones. At that time I had a job that was not going well and the family and I really needed a getaway. I had been reading the Frommer’s guide to the Carribean that winter and I was in a mood to be completely away from people. Knowing that was not really possible on our budget I opted instead for a bit of confrontation with my personal prejudices and we booked a 21 day trip to Guadeloupe where we spent most of our time on the tiny island of Terre de Haut, one of the Petit Saints. The result of that trip was a complete change of mind about the French (it IS a Departemente of France) and resulted in what has become a 30 yr fascination with France.
But to get back to my point. Not only do I not ride, I’m not even keen on exercise. I carry around too many pounds, I’m lazy, and I dont particularly like sweating.
But I DO love the Tour de France.
I admire the stamina and determination of men (and women too) who pit themselves against realities of the world: geography. I don’t so much care about the team points, or the king of the mountain, or the sprinter — but I am fascinated by the human body as machine.
I have not had as much time this year to watch; though I have been DVR’ing it. But it does remind me of my visits there and in honor, here’s a scene from Perouges, not far from the Alps where they happen to be cycling as I write this today.