Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Le Tour, Revisited...

(... but first, thanks to Cardozo for his clear-sighted and well-reasoned defense of Obama in response to yesterday's entry in The Buddha Diaries. I trust that readers will check it out. It deserves not to languish in obscurity.)

Those who have followed The Buddha Diaries for a little while will not be surprised by my confession of a long-standing addiction to the Tour de France. It came about because I was myself a cycling enthusiast for a brief period during my teenage years. My sporty red drop-handlebar bicycle offered me the opportunity, a couple of times a week, to escape the confines of my all-boys boarding school and pedal off, alone, into the Sussex Downs--not incidentally with a contraband pack of cigarettes aboard for a furtive smoke behind the bushes. My enthusiasm did not, I'm sad to say, extend beyond those school years: the slacker's choice of a motorized two-wheeler called--and cigarettes, unfortunately, were abundantly available and no longer forbidden. Of these twin addictions, it was certainly the least desirable. It took me another thirty years to quit.

But I still do love to follow the Tour de France--available these days, thanks to the marvel of satellite TV, from start to finish every day. (I record the stages, so that I can skip through the plentiful commercials.) I was anticipating that last year might prove the final straw, with the doping scandal reaching its direst moment in the exclision of a number of riders along the way, and of the winner at the end. Am I wrong to approach this year's event with trust in the efforts that have been made to clean things up? I was wrong, certainly, to judge from the first three stages, to fear that the race would be less exciting with several of the major teams--and most of the familiar champions--banned from participation. Despite bad weather, the racing has been fine, the contest hard-fought, the results surprising.

I'll keep watching, then, in the hope that no major scandal will disrupt the proceedings this year, and that the race continues to hold challenges and surprises. I might even mention it, now and then, in the pages of The Buddha Diaries. Who knows...? (Please don't tell me who won Tuesday's time trials. I won't get around to watching until later in the day!)

Photo Credit


robin andrea said...
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robin andrea said...

I only followed the Tour de France once, when I had a friend who was riding in it. Other than that, I'm not much of a sports fan or spectator. Although, I do completely understand a love for this particular race.

About Obama's embrace of faith-based initiatives and telecom immunity, I don't think those are partisan issues, and if they are, they shouldn't be. Our constitutional rights are not meant to be diluted or divvied up between competing ideologies. On what ground will Obama finally stand firmly?

Mark said...

I was wondering how long it would be before you would post on Le Tour again! I'm probably more excited for this year's tour than last years because of the fact that the main contenders are out. It's been great so far!

I'm rooting for Cadel Evans. He seems like a solid rider and a good guy.

PeterAtLarge said...

Robin--a friend riding in the Tour. I'm impressed. It has to be the most physically demanding thing to do in life. Everest is probably colder and windier, but it doesn't last so long.

Mark, yes, Cadel Evans seems to have a reasonable chance this year. For the moment, I'm rooting for someone I never heard of. Someone squeaky-clean!