Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday's Lotsa Words

Why I love le Tour de France
a guest blog from Mrs. Little Cat

I consider myself an avid follower of most sports, but since I’ve never been able to get into watching baseball, the summer usually just feels like an abyss until football season begins. Until I discovered le Tour de France, that is.

Every summer I look forward to the three weeks in July where I’ll get to see the incredible athleticism of cyclists from around the world competing in the oldest and most prestigious bicycle race in the world. This year is the 96th annual Tour, and it covers more than 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) throughout France and a few bordering countries. It is an amazing feat just to survive this race. In the summer heat, these guys suffer their way through cobblestone streets in tiny French villages and up and down the Alps and the Pyrenees mountains at break-neck speeds, all for the chance to ride into Paris wearing the coveted Maillot Jaune (or simply, “the yellow jersey”).

I remember watching Lance Armstrong on the Today show back when he overcame cancer and won his first Tour. It was an amazing story, and I had to admit Lance was “easy on the eyes.” So I caught some highlights every now and again when he continued to win Tour after Tour. After a friend passed on Lance’s book, It’s Not About the Bike, everything changed. I grew a real appreciation for what I believe is the most difficult sporting event that exists and the man who had been able to win (at that time) five times in a row. A friend and I even made the trip all the way to Paris that summer just to see Lance ride on the Champs-Elysees in his record-breaking sixth win. Definitely one of the highlights of my life.

The Tour has faced some low-points in recent years with drug scandals, but I still follow every July with renewed hope and excitement. This year, however, has been a dream come true. Although he retired after he won the Tour for the unprecedented seventh time, Lance is back! And this year has the potential to be his best race yet!

Check it out... and discover for yourself the beauty of the Peloton.

More about the amazing Tour:

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