Now THAT’s Love!
So the Tour De France started in England this weekend. And the first stage was through Kent, where I grew up. And I went to school in Rochester, one of the towns on the route. And my parents still live in Chatham, one of the towns on the route. But right now, I live at the other end of the country . . . so I phoned the folks a week or so back:
“Hi mum . . . . bet you’re excited about the Tour - going right through Chatham. You and dad going to see it?”
“What!? With all the roads shut, and hundreds of people all over the place. It’ll be chaos!”
So then I was talking to Wife about it last Thursday night . . . and it turns out that she really does love me. She asked if I would like to go down to see it. She’d researched train & air prices, and had almost booked me to go, but just wanted to find out if I really wanted to!
Now the annoying bit - our house is a complete mess. And has been for, oh, about the nine years we’ve lived here. Last Wednesday, I’d managed to squeeze our huge re-plastering job onto the schedule of a great (and hugely in demand) plasterer I know. The trouble was that this was to fit in with a cancellation he’d had for 9th-13th July . . . .
. . . . So I just couldn’t take the time away from home, and spent the weekend getting various parts of the house ready for some serious smartening up.
I did manage to catch an hour of the race on TV though - the section through the Medway Towns. This was fantastic to watch - the section from Rochester castle up St Margaret’s street was part of a 5 mile road circuit we used to run at school (the imaginatively titled Rochester Five), and then the first part on the country lanes after they’d left Borstal was part of another circuit - the Wouldham Four.
There’s naturally been a lot of coverage in the UK meeja of the Tour. But they always seem to focus on doping, rather than the fact that it IS still a hugely impressive race, with competitors who’re (doped or not - what do I know) so far above the level I could ever get to that I just struggle to comprehend. Things like the breakaway rider on Sunday who thought he’d do the first stage as a solo time trial (a plan later revised . . .) . He was putting down an average pace of more than 25 mph, all alone, in countryside that’s not mountainous, but hardly flat either. I struggle to hold 25mph on the flat for more than a few minutes!
I hope that the sport’s putting doping behind it, although things like the ‘pledge’ that all the riders have signed seems a little weak. But whether it’s succeeded or not isn’t really that relevant - to get to the level where membership of a Tour team is a realistic probability, you’ve gotta have the genes in the first place. And that there are people who’re naturally that fit is something I’m still really very impressed at.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 07/07/2007
- Total Time: 1:48:00.00
- Distance: 30.1 miles
- Average Speed: 16.72 mph