Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tour de France (spoiler warning &c):

(Lack of) Speed Racers :

Sign me up for the Tour de France! I can hang! Well, maybe not all the way to Paris, or even over the first mountain, for that matter. But for today, I can do it. With about half the stage done, the peloton is averaging just on 30 kilometers per hour, or some 19 miles an hour. I can do that! There's a zillion and one factors that could affect this, of course, like the fact that the pack's speed is influenced by the speed of the break, since the field doesn't want to catch them too early, and today's break is only two riders. I have to ask, though, could we be seeing signs of the more pro-active fight against le dopage? Yesterday's average was 44.2 km / hr, and stage 1 rolled off at 43.65. Compare that to two years ago, when the first three road stages were 47, 46.2, and 48.6 kilometers per hour.

Again, there are hundreds of things that influence the average speed, and the peloton could end its social hour here at any moment. But the point is that they want this social hour, even in a race as big as the Tour de France. When I've heard those on the inside talk about the suble effects of doping on cycling, they don't speak so much of individual superhuman performances, but the uptick in the relentless average speeds of the peloton, day in, day out. 200 kilometers per day rolled off in just over four hours, over and over and over. However fit these guys are, that has to take its toll on you!
Has the tide turned? //

"Le Course en Tete," leading from the front, whatever you want to call it, Mister Cancellara, that took guts and power. Bravo! It made the finale to one of the interminable flat stages exciting to watch, and I predict lots of useless attacks off the front at the ends of amateur races in the weeks to come in attempted emulation.

On a personal note, it looks like the Cascade Classic isn't going to work out, so I'm going to ride on down to Portland with something like 10,000 other cyclists on Saturday, July 14th. I've already got the week off of work, so I'll probably stay down for a few days. Every time I go to Portland, I think of The Decemberists' recent song "Yankee Bayonet," and the chorus lyric, "I will be home then..."

Indeed.

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