Category Archives: Personal stuff

Doping or not, nobody can admit they’re in awe of what it takes to win multiple TdFs

Jan Ulrich, doper, leading Lance Armstrong, doper, ahead of several other known dopers on the Tourmalet in 2003.
Jan Ulrich, doper, leading Lance Armstrong, doper, ahead of several other known dopers on the Tourmalet in 2003.

A day or two ago, Chris Froome talked about how tough it is to win the Tour de France, how you really can’t take it for granted that, just because you won previously, you should win the next year. Team Sky had suddenly fallen from being the future of the Tour de France for years to come, to an also-ran that appeared fatally-flawed through its dependence on a single person, an all-in plan with no backup.

Nobody else will say it, I will. Someday, somebody’s going to figure out that it ain’t so easy winning multiple TdFs, and that there’s more than just good doping required. Erasing Lance from history such that people are too scared to even mention that they’re in awe of him winning 7 TdFs… it’s just wrong. How long before somebody says “I don’t know how Lance did it…” and the conversation doesn’t turn PC and become nothing but doping?

Telekom was as doped to the gills as Postal, maybe more so. The Spanish teams were a joke, they were so gassed. Very, very few rode clean. It wasn’t just doping that won 7 TdFs (now erased). It was structure (of which doping was a huge part, yes, I get that), it was all-in for one guy, it was pushing cycling technology. Team Sky’s picked up on that, they’ve read the book, but nobody, ever, is able to admit that was the book they read. And no athlete is comfortable saying what they must be thinking.

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If things ran so smoothly I wasn’t needed… (a fantasy)

If the shop ran so smoothly that either I wasn’t needed or if it was the case that, when here, I’m in the way of better things, then in about two hours I’d be jumping onto UA#990 to France. Save award tickets are available in both business and economy, and I’ve plenty of miles at the moment. I’d quickly re-pack my BikeFriday (Kevin’s is still packed, so no problem there) and head to the airport.

We’d land tomorrow in Paris (direct flight!) and take the TGV to Geneva. Plane arrives at CDG 10:45am; train to Grenoble at 1:58pm, arrives Grenoble at 5:34pm (one transfer at Lyon). We’d probably stay here, right across from the train station. 9 nights, $631, air conditioned, includes a small kitchen. Great reviews on Booking.com (which I’ve used with great results when booking overseas accommodations).

Using that hotel as a base, we could explore most of the Alps and all of the Vercors region without a rental car. Awesome. Getting out past Alpe D’Huez would be easier with than without one though, but I think we could do it for just a few days and not spend too much (budget about $70/day for a small rental car in France).

Thursday the 21st we’d take the direct TGV, 10:23am to 1:22pm into Paris, Gare de Lyon station. Maybe stay here, at the Hotel Terminus Lyon, right in front of the train station, and right across the street from the bus that takes us straight to CDG airport Friday morning, where we board our plane for home (saver award tickets available!) and arrive back Friday afternoon at SFO.

OK, I just spent about 25 minutes planning the important details of an entire trip to France. Specifically, a cycling trip to the Vercors and Alps. You could even make a run to Ventoux from there! Hey, you can always dream, right?  –Mike–

Updated 4:05pm- I checked on Flightaware; UA990 SFO-CDG left on-time, without me. Maybe I’ll re-pack my bike, just in case. No, just kidding.

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