On the hunt

It’s a wonderful day today in Chicago.

73 degrees, no humidity, slight breeze, clear blue skies and an abundance of sunshine.

AGMA’s at her French bistro with the charming outdoor patio sitting across the way from a big chunk of delicious eye candy.

Hey – there’s nothing wrong with appreciating a well constructed human…

Back in the olden days (pre-March 2020), I would have said the the day was perfect.

But there will be no perfect days until the Cornona Kid and his gang of Kool- Aid imbibing enablers are forcefully evicted from the WH (and Congress), tried for high crimes against humanity and treason, and imprisoned. And, of course, there is a safe, effective and affordable vaccine against COVID.

Until then, AGMA’ll have to settle for wonderful (as she stealthily sneaks a peak at Mr. EC cross from her.)

I’ve been kind of quiet since returning from our great train adventure. It’s been over 2 weeks since we’ve been back and we’re feeling good, so I’m guessing we didn’t acquire any unwanted virus freeloaders during our travels.

That’s a good thing.

We’ve actually been incredibly busy. Between spending a whole lot of time with the grands – which is why we came up here in the first place – and learning how to text-bank for progressive candidates for the upcoming “will our democracy survive or not” election, and watching cycling races (men in spandex!), we put an offer in on a condo here in Chicago.

Nothing like multi-tasking.

We’ve bought and sold 9 homes during our lives (trying to stay one step ahead of the law…), so we know the drill. But buying in Chicago is a bit different from anyplace we’ve ever purchased a home. More people to deal with during the process and way more expensive.

AGMA met our realtor here, in my French bistro. She sat at the table next to me and was meeting with some former clients who wanted to buy again. Always interested the in conversations of my fellow humans that sound interesting, I eavesdropped. And I liked what I heard.

As she was leaving, I asked her if she was a realtor (which I knew already) and confessed I had heard a bit of her conversation (all of it) with her friends. Then I asked for her card.

I think she was okay with me listening in.

Fast forward a month. Hubs and I had decided that we were just going to rent for 6 months or so (NOT the Hobbit hole – that lease is up 11/1) and take our time looking for a place to buy.

But then, as happens, AGMA saw an open house for a condo that looked like it checked all of our boxes. And we have a lot of boxes to check so this was pretty exciting.

We went to the open house on Saturday. I called the French bistro realtor, KR, on Sunday. We saw the property on Monday and put an offer in Monday night (because there was already an offer on the table.) KR and her financing lady pulled off a miracle in getting us a financing pre-approval letter in 90 minutes.

Our offer got accepted Tuesday morning. We got the inspection on Wednesday. We applied for our loan on Thursday and sent our inspection concerns to the attorney (a new step for us having an attorney involved in negotions.) He sent the letter to the sellers attorney with changes to the contract, our requests for additional information, and our inspection concerns on Monday. We received an answer Tuesday (yesterday) with most of the requested information.

And we backed out of the deal today.

Yes…after all of that, we backed out. Such an AGMA thing to do…

There were lots of red flags in the inspection, the HOA financials and the work that had been done on leaks in the mortar between the bricks that kept popping up.

Nah baby nah. We’re just too old for that.

But now we’re in the buying mood. Of course…

And we’ve upped our “max spend” on a place. Of course…

And we’re going out with KR to look at properties tomorrow. Of course…

In trying to de-stress from looking for an affordable home in a expensive new city during a pandemic, AGMA’s been watching my beloved professional cycling. The Giro d’Italia, the 2nd three week grand tour of the season – the Tour de France was last month- is in it’s first week and it’s been a great race so far.

Most major cycling races that normally happen in the spring and summer were either cancelled or postponed because of COVID-19. The season started up again on August 1st, and between then and Nov 8, there are 18 – count ’em – 18 races. Three 3 week grand tours, five multi-stage races (either 5 or 7 day races), and ten 1 day races (Monuments & Classics.)

That’s over 100 days of cycling in a little over 3 months.

OMG – AGMA needs a cigarette!

I have two subscriptions to services that live stream races (early in the AM because they are all in Europe – ugh.) And because the season is so compressed, some races overlap others. I’ve have had one race on the TV (cast from my phone) and another on my laptop several times.

OMG – AGMA needs another cigarette!

Too bad I don’t smoke.

(Don’t you love how I sneaked my cycling swooning into a normal post!?)

Of pelotons, echelons and musettes

pont du gard

Stage 16 of the Tour today went over the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct built in around 60AD.  AGMA was there in May as part of the Grand Tour of France!

It’s the time of year that all AGMA followers (with a few exceptions..) dread.

It’s TOUR DE FRANCE baby!!

Once again I’ve been transformed from a graying, dignified village elder to a giggling tweeter.  And I have 5, count ’em, 5 Tour de France fantasy teams.

AGMA loves her men in spandex!

It’s all Son#2’s fault.

My son really got into watching Le Tour in the mid 2000’s.  It actually inspired him to become a serious cyclist, health nut and nature enthusiast.  Waaaayyyy better than sitting in his bedroom playing video games…

He was a pretty good cyclist and considered going semi-pro until a “series of unfortunate events” occurred.   A shattered wrist here, a broken femur there…it all convinced him that maybe this was not a wise career choice.

He still cycles, but for fun now.

And he sort of dragged me along for the ride as far as watching the Tour de France goes.

(Get it??  Dragged me along for the “ride”?? OMG – I crack myself up!)

People always assume that because I love men’s professional cycling, I must love riding a bike.

Uh…no.

AGMA never learned how to ride as a child.   I honestly don’t know why, but it just wasn’t part of what I did.

“Learn to ride now!” people say too me all the time.  Easy for them to say.  They won’t break their collarbones when they fall.

Truth is that I’ve tried to learn.  AGMA’s okay on a straightaway, but add some hills or dips or curves, and my palms start sweating.  The reality is that it’s really hard to learn to ride a bike as an adult.  All that balance “stuff” gets hardwired in kid’s brains when they learn young, but it doesn’t work the same with adults.

I made sure both of my kids learned to ride a bike when they were young not realizing that it would indirectly lead me to a late in life odd passion.

The 2019 edition of the Tour de France is turning out to be the best AGMA’s seen in my 11 years of being a spandex groupie.

The pre-Tour favorite, Chris Froome, who has won 4 previous Tours, had a horrific crash during the 8 day Criterium du Dauphine which is a pre-Tour warm up race.  And just in case he reads AGMA (ha ha ha), heal fast Chris!  All of us miss watching you ride!

Or some of us.

Last year’s winner, Geraint Thomas, crashed out during the Tour de Suisse (another pre-Tour warm up race.) And with very few racing days in his legs, he’s still an unknown for the Tour de France in terms of his conditioning and form.  And the tumble he took from his bike today didn’t help.

Ouch.

That’s all to say that for the first time in a long time, there is no clear favorite to win this year’s Tour.

That makes it especially exciting to watch as a fan!

I can hear you now…ZZZZzzzz….

But really, it IS incredibly exciting.

For the first time in like a kazillion years, a Frenchman, Julian Alaphilippe, is leading the Tour after 16 stages and wearing the Yellow leader’s jersey.  The French press and public are going WILD!!   It’s been 34 years since a Frenchman won the Tour.  Will this be the year?

Who the hell knows??

Alaphilippe wasn’t supposed to be in the Yellow jersey after 16 stages.  He’s a Classics rider (1 day races) and a puncheur (a rider who is specializes in rolling, hilly terrain with short, steep climbs.)

He’s not a GC rider.

GC stands for general classification (as opposed to sprinters , puncheurs, climbers and time trialists). A GC rider is a rider who, at the end of a 7, 8, 9 or 21 day stage race has the fastest times, so he’s sort of a jack of all trades.  They are the riders groomed to win stage races.  ALL Tour de France winners are GC riders.

But maybe not this year??

Who the hell knows??

And that’s what makes it all so exciting!

It’s going to be a knockout, drag out fight the next 4 days.  Tomorrow’s stage moves into the foothills of the Alps.  Then all hell breaks loose on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with 3 brutal Alpine stages that will push the riders to their physical and mental limits.

Even if you’ve never watched the Tour before, I urge you to tune in later this week.  AGMA promises that you will not be bored.  It’s going to be a battle royal between some of the best male athletes in the world in some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

Then on Sunday, what is left of the 176 riders that originally started the Tour on July 6th, will ride, battered and bruised, into Paris, and finish up with a sprint on the Champs-Elysees.

What’s not to love???

And the winner of the 2019 Tour de France will be…

Who the hell knows??

OMG – I can’t wait!!

(Peloton – The main field of cyclists in a race.  Sort of like a swam of cyclists. NOT the exercise bike/program called Peloton…  (but now you know where the name came from!)

Echelon – The staggered, diagonal line that cyclists form to deal with crosswinds.  Each rider is slightly downwind from the previous rider.  Kinda like one side of the V when geese to their thing.  

Musette – bags that carry food and drinks for cyclists on long races.  Basically it’s a cyclist lunch bag.  And like kids, they throw away the stuff they don’t want to eat.)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latern Rouge

laternrouge

This is a story about bloodied bodies, broken bones, man tears, epic battles of the spirit, redemption and altruism.

Not AGMA’s normal fare.

It’s is a story within the bigger story of this year’s Tour de France.

No, no, no…PLEASE don’t close this window.  I know most of you aren’t interested in cycling but PLEASE keep reading.  Trust me – this is an incredible story.  You might even want to bring out a hankie…

Rather than go on and on about how amazing it was (it was) and how it’s the most grueling athletic event in the world (it is), AGMA wants to tell you the story of one unforgettable, brave rider.

Meet Lawson Craddock.  The 26 year old Texan was one of the 5 Americans in the TdF this year.  This was his 2nd TdF and he rides for the EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale team.

Can you imagine how much room that name takes up on their jerseys?

Men’s Elite Cycling 101 Primer (a bit of a snoozer but bear with me)…  The professional teams start training for the “Grand Tours” in January as well as the Spring Classics (1 day races) and the week long races (Tour of Switzerland and Tour of California for example.)  The Grand Tours are 3 bike races that are 21 days long – the Tour of Italy (Giro d’Italia), the Tour de France, and the Tour of Spain (Vuelta a Espana.)

Each professional team has around 26 riders on it.  For the Grand Tours, each team’s director is allowed to only select 8 riders on their team to participate in each one.  Sometimes a rider gets chosen to ride in two of the Grand Tours. Not too often though because they are grueling races (over 2000 mile each) that take place only a month or two apart from each other.

Some riders never get chosen to ride in a Grand Tour.  Sad face…  😦

But they ALL, without exception, want to ride in the Tour de France because it’s the most prestigious bike race in the world.  Yeah it is!

The professional teams announce their TdF teams about a week before the race starts.  Some riders know they are going to be on the team far in advance if they are considered a team leader.  Other are on the bubble and don’t know until a few days before the teams are announced that they’ve made the team.

Lawson was one of those riders on the bubble. He didn’t know until the last minute that he’d made the team.  His job, as the others on the EF Drapac TdF team, would be to ride in support of their team leader, Rigoberto Uran.  Rigoberto finished a surprising 2nd in the 2017 Tour, and they had high hopes that he could win the TdF in 2018.

Lawson’s rider number in the Tour was 13.  Ahh oh…  In an attempt to fend off bad luck, he wore the number upside down.  It didn’t work.

About 60 miles into Stage 1 of this year’s TdF, Lawson’s bike hit a water bottle in the Feed Zone (the area that the riders get snack bags full of treats) and crashed hard.  Really hard.  Only 60 miles into this 21 day, 2082 mile race.

Battered, bruised and with blood pouring out of a gash above his left eyebrow, he got back onto his bike and continued riding.  It’s just what cyclists do…

craddock

Lawson as he finished Stage 1

Like other injured riders who press on after an accident, Lawson was treated by the Tour doctor.  While he was riding his bike.  While the doctor is hanging out of a convertible going 30 mph.  Crazy stuff!

Lawson finished the stage.  In last place.  During a post race interview, he broke down into tears.  He knew he had a potentially race ending injury.  All that training.  All that sacrifice.  Only to crash on the first day.  Of THE Tour.

He needed stitches to close the gash above his eyebrow.  And X-rays showed he fractured his scapula.  Plus he hurt all over.

“That’s it,” I told Hubs, “he’s out of the race.”

But we are taking about cyclists here, not soccer players.  Ouch…

That night, Lawson tweeted that he was going to start Stage 2 and ride as far as possible on the stage.  And not only was he going to start, but he pledged a $100 donation for each stage he finished to a fund to restore the Alkek Velodrome in Houston, TX that was decimated by Hurricane Harvey last year.  He challenged all of his fans to do likewise.   The Alkek Velodrome is where scores of hopeful kids in Houston get their start in bike racing.  It’s where Lawson got his start.

He started and finished Stage 2.  And Stage 3, and Stage 4, and Stage 5, and, and, and….

Stage 9 had 13.5 miles of France’s infamously rough and bumpy cobblestones.  He said he would double his donation to $200 if he finished that stage.  AGMA didn’t think he’d do it.  He did.

Through the Alps and the Pyrenees, there were 26 climbs up mountains.  Really, really big mountains.  And lots of twists and turns in the roads descending the mountains.

And as every day passed, the donations to the Alkek Velodrome kept coming in.

Stage 20 was an individual time trial.  Each cyclist rides the route by themselves as fast as they can.  The rider with the best time after all the rider have ridden the route is the stage winner.

Lawson was interviewed again after he finished his time trial on Stage 20.  There were more tears.  This time though, they were tears of unabashed relief and joy.  He was going to make it to Paris the next day for Stage 21 and finish the Tour.

Oh, did I mention there are time limits on each stage? If a rider finishes outside of that time limit, he is out of the Tour.  Poof.  Goodbye.  Five riders left the Tour because they were outside the time limit on some of the mountain stages.

Not Lawson.

One rider was DQed for being a bad boy and punching another rider.  Some riders had to abandon the race because of illness.  Other riders were injured too badly to continue.  A broken collarbone here, a fractured vertebra there, and throw in a fractured patella. Some riders just abandon because the mountains were too hard.  31 riders in all left the race before it reached Paris.

Not Lawson.

He rode across the finish line in Paris on Sunday with his EF Drapac teammates who gave him unwavering support throughout the entire 21 days of racing.

efdrapac

Lawson and teammate American Taylor Phinney after they crossed the finish line in Paris on Sunday.  Taylor broke his nose when he crashed on a descent on Stage 19 and face planted on a tree.   And he rode two more stages.  With a broke nose.  And a fractured orbital plate underneath his right eye.  Only in the Tour…

Lawson rode across the finish line as the Latern Rouge of the 2018 Tour de France.

The Lantern Rouge is designation given the rider to who finishes in last place.  It’s named after the red lantern that was on the back of the caboose of a train back in the day.  Bringing up the rear – get it?

And he made a little bit of TdF history…he was the first rider to be in the Latern Rouge position at the end of each stage for the entire race.

But he finished the race.

He admitted that he was in intense pain for most of the Tour and that he wanted to quit more than once.  But the donations coming in for his beloved Velodrome keep him peddling forward.  One kilometer at a time.

Lawson was hoping to raise $2000.  As of July 30th, his campaign has raised over $225,000.

And now you know why AGMA loves her cycling so much!

 

 

 

Batsh*t Crazy Part III

archdetri

I don’t want to whine, but it’s lonely being a Tour de France fan.

Most people don’t understand why the hell you watch it.  And they sure don’t want to hear about what happened on yesterday’s action packed stage that you are bursting to share with somebody. Anybody.  Hello….

You end up talking to the barista at Starbucks or the checkout person at Target.  They’re at work; they can’t walk away from you. Captive audiences.  Maybe I should go to some cycling shops to “browse”.  When one of the employees asks if they can help me, I can say, “How about the stage of the Tour yesterday?  Crazy, right?”

Not just crazy.  It’s batsh*t crazy.

So, the great thing about my trip to France last year was that I was surrounded by people with the same obsession.  They know who the riders are and what teams they’re on.  And what a GC rider and a peloton is.  And, most important, they know that the English language television announcers of the Tour are like rock stars!

Yeah – rock stars.

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin are the Tour announcers who broadcast to all English speaking countries.  Bob Roll, or “Bobke”, is a former American professional cyclist who augments – along with a couple of other guys – the broadcast for American audiences.  All 37 of us.  R-O-C-K S-T-A-R-S!

I had my picture taken with all three.  Now just let that it sink in.

It happened this way children…  On that first fateful day of my TdF experience last year – Stage 17 in Chorges, France – remember, just when I though things could not get any better?  They did.  Both are long stories – blah, blah, blah.  But I got to meet Bobke and Paul. This is a big deal and the 36 other people in the US who are cycling fans understand this.

These guys, along with all of the other media type folks and broadcast vans from all over the world, are behind an impenetrable fortress of chain link fencing at each stage finish.  No credentials = no access.  Without access, it’s hard to stalk…eh…talk to you’re favorite “rock star” announcers.

Honestly, it was dumb luck.  It was being in the right place at the right time.  Twice.  It was being bold enough to holler “Hello!” Asking if they’d mind getting their picture taken with you.  Granted, the pictures are with them on one side of the chain link fence and me on the other, but I’m getting the “shoulder touch” from both.    R-O-C-K S-T-A-R-S.

Our group went on to watch three other stages in the French Alps.  I couldn’t even get close to the media area for me to try to stalk…eh…find Phil Liggett, the missing link in my triumvirate of cycling broadcast gods.

Then, quite unexpectedly, in Paris, the amazing city of lights, magic happened. Ah Paris!

Stage 21 of the 100th edition of the Tour de France.  The cyclists were going to be coming into Paris at dusk.  It was 90 degrees F at 9AM.

To kill time, I decided to walk down the entire Champs Elysees from the Arch d’Triumph to the Place de la Concorde.  Wanted to “soak” up the TdF experience.  It was hot, humid and crowded.  I was soaking it up alright…

Almost at the end of my walk, by the media trucks and busses, BEFORE of the chain link fence was erected, I spied HIM.  It was Phil out in the open – no credentials needed.  He was a sitting duck! I walked up to him and babbled like a tweener meeting Davy Jones at a 1968 Monkees concert.   Some nice bystander took a picture of us.  Got the “shoulder touch” again.  Yeah – that’s right.  I needed a cigarette. I don’t smoke.

The fence eventually went up, the cyclists arrived, the Arch d’Triumph lit up, the awards given and it was over.  It would have been a serious let down if I hadn’t stayed in Paris 10 more days…  Ah Paris!

The 2014 Tour de France ends tomorrow.  I’ve been watching it on TV.  I’m in Atlanta.

Pass the Prozac please.

Batsh*t Crazy Part II

KeepCalm

Yeah – I’m going to write about the Tour de France again.  I warned you in my last blog post that you’d hear more about it.  Sorry.  But ya’ll know that even if you don’t like professional cycling or sports in general, there may be a few things to smile at below…

And I can use “ya’ll” because I live in Georgia.

Today is the first anniversary of a most momentous occasion in my life.  One of THE most momentous occasions of my life.  It ranks right up there with my wedding day, the birth of my two children and the time I got to see “Dancing With The Stars” live.  But probably not in that order…

A year ago today, I stepped off a train in Grenoble, France.  I had a bag full of American flags and custom t-shits, a digital camera full of pixels waiting to be pixelated, and visions of rotating road bike wheels and cyclists in spandex in my head.  I was on a pilgrimage.  I was excited beyond words.  I was going to see the Tour de France!

My roommate during this adventure was a delightful 36 year old woman from Australia who didn’t mind rooming with a woman old enough to be her mother.  Easily.  Actually, there were quite a few Aussies in our tour group.  Australians are wild and crazy cycling fans.  They dress up in crazy hats and wave very large Australia flags.  They have blow up kangaroos and blow up guitars. They like to drink beer before, during and after the race.  Of course, I hung out with them instead of the Americans.  Duh.

Before I left the USA, I had custom t-shirts made up to take with me. The first one cheered on the American cyclists.  It had all their names listed on the front and on the back it said “Born in the USA”. The second one said “I (heart) le Tour de France 2013” on the front and “Please sign here” in French on the back.  I had fellow travelers and strangers by the side of the road sign it as a keepsake.  The third one, my favorite – see above – said “Keep Calm and Shut Up Legs” in honor of my cycling hero and huge cycling fan favorite, Jens Voigt.   “Shut up legs” is his famous – amoung cycling fans – catch phrase.  The back said “Jens Y’all”.   Yeah…Georgia.

I wish I could say I was making this up, but sadly it’s all true.  My name is Aging Gracefully My Ass, I have no life, and I’m a uber geek.

There are 21 Stages (cycling days) to the Tour.  Our first big day watching the Tour live and in person was on Stage 17, a time trial stage.  Normally, at the end of a “regular” racing stage, the cyclists go to a restricted area with their team buses that’s off-limits to the general public.  General public like me.  Bummer.  But if you have lots and lots of money then it’s possible to get what they call “VIP Access”.  No $$=no access.  Bummer.

Without going into detail that’s boring – but it’s probably too late – under the right conditions, a time trial stage can give you unrestricted, uncensored access to these incredible world class athletes.  It’s like hanging out with the German team right after the World Cup or chilling in the locker room with the winning team at the Super Bowl or being back stage during “Dancing With The Stars”.  Like “you can see the glitter on their sequins” access. Serious.

We had the right conditions last year.

And that’s when this late middle age cycling fan’s dreams came true…  I saw some of my very favorite elite professional cyclists up close and personal.  Like “you could smell their sweat” up close and personal.  Like “get an autograph and a hug” up close and personal. Like “have a conversation with Brent Bookwalter” up close and personal.  At this point, my experience was getting close to exceeding that of my wedding, the birth of my children AND “Dancing With The Stars”.

Combined.

The scales tipped and I went over the edge of “best experience ever” when I met The Jensie (Jens Voigt’s nickname.)  He signed my “Keep Calm and Shut Up Legs” t-shirt.  While I was wearing it.  I think he may be my “senior crush”.  He was the oldest cyclist in the Tour last year at the ripe old age of 41.  He’s the oldest cyclist in this year’s Tour.  I’m old enough to be his mother.  Okay – a very young mother but still…  Does this make me a cougar?

Okay, this post is getting too long and there are still LOTS of good stories to tell.  One more post maybe…?  It’ll be the last, I promise.

Batsh*t Crazy Part III – coming soon to a WordPress blog near you!

Batsh*t Crazy

crazyfans

Some people love professional football (American or the other kind), basketball, hockey and/or baseball.  Translation… love = go batsh*t crazy for.  They plunge into a deep and wide valley of depression when the season is over.  The Internet provides a critical, possibly life saving service to these diehard (translation… diehard = batsh*t crazy) fans.  They‘re able to connect with other like-minded (translation… like-minded = batsh*t crazy) fans via email, message boards and social media.  They can immerse themselves into an alternate reality, like a 14 year old with World of Warcraft, that appears to decrease the anxiety of the wait until the start of new season.  My husband is one of these types.  I’m thankful.  It keeps him off the streets.

Some people live for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the chance to relieve Warren Buffett of (say it like Dr. Evil) “one billion dollars” with their bracket selections.  This year I got ten correct picks out of a possible sixty three.  Banner year for me.

Some people have been in a state of ultimate bliss since the World Cup started on June 12th.  The “every four year” type of event allows for forty seven months of depression and hysteria-building.  That’s pretty special.

I watched the USA vs. Belgium match last week at a very crowded, hot, stinky bar.  I’m on the wagon, was at least 15 years older than the next oldest person there, had to stand up the entire game crammed up against a very large sweaty man who was drunk, and the USA lost.  It pretty much sucked for me.  I did win $36 in an idiot proof random pool though.  That notched me up to being okay with it all…

Add Wimbledon (OMG) into the mix and some people out there have been chain smoking since Sunday they’re so positively orgasmic.

But honestly, none of the above can even remotely compare to the greatest sporting event in the entire universe which started last Saturday.  I see heads nodding out there in total agreement…

The Tour de France! Ta da!

(cue cricket sounds…)

No really – it is!  Everyday for three weeks in July, I’m glued to the TV set for 5 to 6 hours starting at 6:30 AM or so to be able to watch it live.  It’s way better when you watch it live.   Except for the commercials.   You get really tired of the same seven commercials after three weeks.

Of course I DVR the entire thing as well.  You never know when you might need to revisit a particularly interesting section of cobbles that caused three cyclists to brake their collar bones.  Or see moronic, idiotic fans get mowed down again while trying to take selfies in the middle of the road with their backs to 200 charging cyclists.  It’s all great fun!

My son’s to blame. He became interested in cycling as a hobby during the late 2000’s and was smitten. Instead of a daughter-in-law, I have three-bikes-in-law – road, time trial and mountain.  And two grandkittens.  I think that’s going to be it from him.

He started watching the Tour de France right before he took up cycling.  It inspired him.  I started watching it with him for a little “mother-son” bonding time.  But it all seemed a bit silly – grown men riding bikes trying to beat each other to Paris over three weeks. It would have taken them a lot less time to get there if they had taken a direct route, but they went all over kingdom come to finally end up in Paris.  What was up with that?  I did, however, love the breathtaking scenery on many of the stages and those fit young men in their little biking shorts.  Hey – I’m old, not dead!  Aging gracefully my ass…

Over the course of the next two years, I learned the real skinny about professional cycling.  The Tour de France (and other similar cycling races) is an athletic symphony blending world class talent, strength, skill, courage, daring, strategy, dedication and intelligence in the perfect song of sport.  I’m not biased.  Really.

Expect to hear more from me on this in the next three weeks.

Cycling = Best. Sport. Ever.

Yeah – I’m batsh*t crazy.