Tuesday, July 17, 2007

French Lessons

Temperature at departure = 76° F (24° C)

Curtis, our youngest (11 years old), and I have been spending quite a bit of time together the last few weeks. CAT has been working late the last two weeks or so, moving her office and storage down to the Arts District (warning: the preceding link has audio - you have to put your cursor on the video and hunt down the mute button - I hate sites that do that) and the other kids are either working or out with friends. Curtis' friends have been away on vacation or busy with baseball, so he has been hanging out with dad. A lot.

Last week I started watching the Tour de France for the first time in my life -- and I'm hooked. I avoid checking the news in the morning (which isn't difficult) and catch the re-broadcast on VS later in the evening. Curtis decided to watch with me. It is interesting (to me) to watch people's reactions when he tries to discuss the peloton, breakaways and the four special jerseys.

A quick note about the news coverage: you really have to dig for it this year. I checked several of the big news sites, like Google News and there is nothing to be found on the front page. Fritz is doing a wonderful job keeping up and there is always Versus but, again, I watch at night so I've been trying to skip checking in until after 10 p.m...

Anyway, when Curtis and I watched Stage 8 the other night we noticed some things that looked like awnings covering parts of the alpine roads. The odd thing, in my mind was that they have grass growing on them.

"That's cool." said Curtis...

"That's weird." I said, to which he replied:

"Well, it's France."

I got a good chuckle out of it...

Here is a fuzzy screen capture of a YouTube video of one of these overhangs. From what I gather, they are designed to keep the water from the melting snow in the Alps off the roads at critical places; and you know, they are cool.

By the way, CAT, Curtis and I decided to head out to see Ratatouille last night -- FANTASTIC!


A Midnight Rider said...

I enjoy the scenery of the Tour more than the biking. I do get OLN on my cable system, so the tour is on three times every day.

My eldest son in Colorado is fanaltical about it. Actually, two years ago he beat Tyler Hamilton in a race. It was up a hill, on children's tricycles and they were drunk. But if you ask, he doesn't mention the beer or bike, only that he beat Tyler.

Warren T said...

Hey, a win is a win!

Jamie said...

I'd suggest using the UK's Eurosport page for your TDF news. IMHO that's the best one around.

martinoffroad said...

I may be wrong about this but I think those overhangs are placed in avalanche prone areas on the mountains, designed so it doesn't cover up the road or take out any one motoring by in snow season when a avalanche happens.

Fritz said...

The picture's a little fuzzy, but if you're talking about snow sheds, then yeah, they're for avalanche protection. I don't think I've seen them in Colorado but they're all over the place in the Sierra Mountains in California. I don't guess Kansas has too much in the way of avalanches.

Noah said...

*slightly kidding but not really*

Can't I read ONE darned bicycle-centric blog (aside from my own) without seeing Le Tour De Fraud mentioned?

No offense meant, of course. Bicycles rock. Racing drunk people on tricycles rocks, too.

I'm just having a hard time staying interested in sports where media sensationalism and the quest for glory (and endorsement rights) has overshadowed the actual sporting nature of the event. Perhaps if there were a genuine way to make sure the playing field was level, I could fall in love with the Tour again. Obviously bicycling isn't the only sport plagued by this phenomonon, either.

Oh well.

Warren T said...

No offense taken. I feel the same way about professional football and other pro sports.

I haven't really noticed the endorsements - other than the team names. I'm enjoying for a couple of reasons:

My kids have rarely seen me watch sports on TV, now a couple of my boys are watching with me and getting more interested in cycling in the process.

During the summer, network TV is rife with "reality" shows that are both scripted and overly produced; the TdF is anything but.

Oh, one other thought ... I'm now a bit more motivated to get out there and hit some hills. Since the detour on the trail has opened up, my route has been too level. I miss the challenge of that hill in front of the State Farm building parallel to 435. I'm thinking about taking the long way home a few times a week. I won't like the traffic, but it would shake up the routine.

Noah said...

They finally opened the trail back up how it used to be? And what's "the long way?" Does it stay on the ICT? Got a route map? Since my wife finally got her own bike, I'm looking for cool places to ride with her on the weekends. For the time being, she wants to stick to trails, though.

Warren T said...

Trails would be a good start. From July 5th 2005 to January of this year I had to take the trail to Lamar (by Shaw. Msn. South) and go up Lamar to the round-about at 110th, down 110th across Metcalf and up to Lowell which turns into 108th Terr and goes down a big ol' hill to the Corporate Woods entrance on Antioch. I took some pictures October 31st that can be seen here: http://picasaweb.google.com/WarrenT913/MyMorningCommute The route describes is seen in shots 1 through 38 (I believe) where it ends with my bike by the window in my office. That route had some moderate traffic on Lamar and, of course, crossing Metcalf was always an adventure. Once across I was back into light to moderate traffic.